Kohacon14 – Day 2 – DigiBePé

This talk was about the use of Koha in public libraries in Argentina.

Conabip was founded in 1870, funded by the ministry of culture, since 2003 strategy is to strengthen popular (public) libraries in Argentina. Since 2009 main role to create and promote high quality services to promote and strengthen literacy and training. It offers a platform that allows libraries to tailor their services to match their community

Main parts of digital inclusion plan

  • Hardware
  • Software (Koha)
  • Training
  • Web Dev
  • Content management and production

They focus on 2 things, implementation and collective catalogue.

The purpose of this plan, is to try to reduce the digital gap, socio economic and generational gaps. Also to upskill libraries and their uses in the use of digital technologies. In 2010, DigiBePé was created, which is based on Koha, this runs 1037 libraries with a union catalogue in Argentina. The collective catalogue has 6 million bibliographic records.

They went on to show us a demo of the collective catalogue, it was super impressive, when I find the url I will post it here.

Before DigiBePé, they had a decentralized system, every library got an installed a copy of the system, it was CDS/ISIS which ran on MSDOS. It worked ok, but with time it became obsolete and maintenance became very expensive. They needed a new system that would be usable but be contemporary and be able to be used for a collective catalogue. With these criteria they ran an evaluation of both Proprietary and Open Source systems, testing and evaluating sometime with the help of consultants. While doing the software evaluation, they found that 10 public libraries in Cordoba were running Koha successfully, so it was decided that it would be the base for DigiBePé.

It was a big project, setting up the system and migration of all the library data. Also they had to restructure the hardware infrastructure, network and servers. A really big project. They used OpenVZ for virtualisation, but found it sometimes unstable so are migrating to XenServer. The system was designed to be low maintenance and high interoperability.

The system is set up in this way – 13 servers running Debian

  • 1 proxy http
  • 10 Koha/DigiBePé  servers (running from the Koha .deb packages) for public libraries
  • 1 Koha/DigiBePé  for non public libraries
  • 1 Koha/DigiBePé  server for collective catalogue


The collective catalogue can be found at the conabip site.

For NZ readers, the collective catalogue is very similar to Te Puna, except more up to date. It facilitates Z39,50 searching and web based searching. The fact that the collective catalogue allows Z39.50  allows for copy cataloguing easily.

To conclude this system has been highly successful since 2010, and now not only public libraries are using but libraries of lot of other types are taking it up also. Conabip plan to continue with Koha, and continue helping libraries. This presentation just blew my mind, I never would have thought that a system first used by 4 small libraries in NZ would in14 years time be running 1037 libraries in Argentina.

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