Hello everyone,

I'm a new member of this list, and a complete newbie to open source library software.

I'm a web developer for a public health training institute in Islamabad, Pakistan, the Health Services Academy. You can see our website here:

I hope that the members of this discussion list might be able to offer a few words of advice regarding some queries I have.

We at the Health Services Academy are also looking to automate our library and are evaluating products that we can use. We would like to create a library portal and integrate it with our main website. Our website is using the content management system Joomla! at its back-end. One option I considered was to write an extension for Joomla! for various open source ILSs -- I believe there is already a Joomla! extension for OpenBiblio. Personally, I'm inclined toward the use of Koha, OpenBiblio, Emilda, or some other open source web-based ILS because (from my perspective as a web developer) they appear to be easier to integrate with our current website. However, I am working on this project with our librarian, and she would prefer that we use WinISIS or one of the newer CDS/ISIS-based systems from UNESCO such as GenISISWeb. I've tried running WinISIS, and it being a 16-bit Windows program is difficult to even start running on Windows XP computers. GenISISWeb has been giving me trouble as well.

We also eventually want our database integrated with the ILS being developed by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan. The HEC will be using Virtua, which is the commercial ILS developed by VTLS. The National Library of Pakistan is also using Virtua. However, unfortunately our organization cannot afford a product like Virtua at this stage. We have to use open source software that can be easily linked to the HEC's system.

Would it be possible for you to give me your opinion on the appropriateness of CDS/ISIS-based systems from UNESCO? To my (completely layperson's) eye, they seem a bit outdated and not as powerful as web-based open source ILSs such as Koha and Emilda which work with ODBC-compliant databases and look easy to link to HEC's Virtua-based system.

I really appreciate everyone's time and cooperation.

With very best regards,
Nehdia Sameen
Web Developer
Health Services Academy
Ministry of Health, Government of Pakistan