We felt that our vendor-supplied OPAC was not changing to meet the needs of our users. We learned about VUFind, an open source, standalone replacement interface that incorporates many "next generation" features that our users have come to expect from an online experience.
You can get started at http://www.vufind.org and look at what's required. We set ours up on a virtual server running Linux (operating system), Apache (web server software), MySQL (database software), and PHP (web authoring software). You need to have someone capable of setting up and managing a server, installing and configuring these applications, and doing basic configuration tasks within each of these environments.
We performed a bibliographic extract of our MARC records and loaded them into VUFind. We have set up a nightly script that uploads any new or changed reccords. VUFind comes with a set of connectors that interface with your exisitng system. When our VUFind catalog is searched and results are returned, our Voyager system is queried and location and availabilty information is added to the results. As with many of VUFind's features - it comes with this capability. It's what VUFind is designed to do!
Perhaps the best feature of VUFind is that it exposes more of the MARC records that you have carefully cataloged. VUFind's "facets", the categories you'll see running down the side of the results screen, pull information from the MARC record and make them searchable. You can narrow a search by using these facets to restrict results to locations, item types, subjects, dates, authors, genres --- practically anything that is in a MARC record can be turned into a facet.
We can't say enough about how much we like VUFind. Please feel free to see our catalog, which we call "Chengfind." http://chengfind.wpunj.edu
Kurt W. Wagner
Assistant Director, Library Information Systems
David and Lorraine Cheng Library
300 Pompton Rd.
Wayne, NJ 07470
973-720-2285 - wagnerk [at] wpunj.edu