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Getting Started

The Beginning

Getting started with Open Source Integrated Library Systems involves a number of steps. Before settling on an OSS rather than a proprietary ILS, you should consider any time and budget commitments and limitations. While OSS may cost less in terms of vendor fees, it can require a great deal of time from library staff.


Once you decide on OSS, it is important to create a list of functionalities that your library wants or needs from its ILS. Then use the resources on this website to compare the features and modules of different OSS ILSs. For instance, a larger consortium would probably favor Evergreen, whereas a smaller library might choose Koha.

Technical Support

Your library should also consider whether it has the technical expertise in-house to install an OSS ILS independently or whether you will need the support of an outside vendor on customization, migration, implementation, updates, and maintenance. Another option is entering into a partnership with additional libraries that have the expertise to implement an OSS ILS. Informational websites are available, as well as online discussion forums, listservs, wikis, and contact information for other libraries using these and other OSS ILS.


Your library might also choose to run tests of various OSS ILS before deciding on one in particular. Even if you have chosen a specific OSS ILS, running tests is vital to ensure that data is migrated properly and not lost.


As you enter the process of migrating and "going live," you will also want to train your staff and market to your patrons about the new OSS ILS.