Review: Helix Library System
Computerised Library Systems for school seem to be the “in thing” these days and there are lots of them available on the Irish market from Irish companies. There are at least half a dozen companies selling their version of the ideal library. Some are bright and colourful, others are more focused on their functionality. Some of cloud-based and others stick with a local database.
Helix is the latest of these library management systems, which is aimed at both primary and secondary schools. It can operate at a very simple level of just scanning books and then operating the library, but can be easily expanded in use to allow self service, school book rental, and multiple libraries. Much of the feature set of the system is achieved through the use of book categories.
This allows schools to set up reading lists, resources boxes, or plain library items. Scoring of books can be easily implemented. A full search facility is provided. The book rental features a condition scoring mechanism to monitor pupils care of books during the school year. A number of different borrowing and return options are available to speed up the management of books within rental schemes.The system also includes a stocktake feature and depreciation option. It also operates in a number of different languages.
Helix is probably the most feature-full of all the library systems I have seen. It is not cloud-based and definitely falls into the category of very functional but not aesthetic! However, this is only something to be concerned about for the visual-learners! If there was a cloud-based version of this and if it were a little bit more colourful, this product would easily be top of the pile in terms of library systems. However, in its current form, it is still well worth a look and its author, Donal Dunne’s passion is evident in every click.