Zine Cataloging Adventures – Pt. The First

A little background:

The Queer Zine Archive Project has been around for just over 4 years. We are primarily a web-based archive. We have a real interest in moving to a circulating collection, and also merging with other local (Wisconsin-based) zine librarians to cover more than just queer zines. In addition to being zinesters and collector/archivists, Chris, my partner and other co-founder of QZAP and I are both kind of technerds. While we work mostly with Macintosh systems, I’ve been dorking about with Linux for 10+years. I’m not a great linux user or an admin really, but I can get around OK. Over the next couple of weeks I’m going to post about my expiriences using F/OSS* software to get a zine cataloging system built for an independent zine library. It’s a work in progress… mistakes will be made… things will be learned…

*F/OSS Software is Free/Open Source software. We try to use this so that others can take our tools and make something for themselves.

The Setup:
Hopefully this will read like a recipe for delicous vegan cupcakes. Made with real vegans.

Ingrediants – Hardware:
800 + zines (mostly queer, but a lot of feminist, cookzines, anarcho and environmental ones thrown in, as well)
15-20 books (some about zines, others about subculture, punk, DIY, etc.)
1 barcode gun
1 Pentium 3 1U server (768MB RAM, 60GB Hard Drive, onboard NIC) that an old housemate left behind. (i.e. cheap, scavenged hardware… the kind you pay $30 for on CraigsList)

Ingrediants – Software:
CentOS 4.5 (A variant of Red Hat Linux) http://www.centos.org/

Koha ILS (open source ILS software, mostly based on the Perl programming/scripting language) http://www.koha.org

The Process

Back in September Chris was in San Francisco at the SF Zinefest. While he was out of town, I though I’d surprise him by getting the Koha box built. Since I work with lots of computer people, I asked my friend Mat to put it together. I brought him the box and told him what software I wanted installed. Linux, Koha, and Webmin, for web based administration of the machine. A week later he returned it to me, and I took him and his girlfriend out for Tiki drinks. After that, the box spent the rest of the autumn in our dining room. In December it moved to the floor of our office. On 27 December, 2007, I cleaned my office. on 28 December, I fired the Koha box up.

The machine has 7 fans in it. It sounds like a Cesna is in my office getting ready for take off whenever i turn it on. But it’s working… :)

In Pt. The Second I will talk about the system set up and how we’ve got it configured.

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