QUESTION: what software to use to create catalog of zines for our infoshop?

question / pregunta: 

This is more of a library logistics type question, but I figured I'd try here because it seems some of yall would have experience with this sort of thing. We are looking to catalog our zine archive at our infoshop, which is quite large (25 years worth of zines). We'd like a program that: can be used on both macs and pcs, imported and exported between computers, can be eventually put online and linked from our website, and has fields that are flexible to accommodate the fact that these are zines and not books (slightly different information will be cataloged). Can you recommend a program that we use, given that we don't host our site and we don't have linux on our computers? We looked at Librarything but are wary about having it hosted by something big and unknown given the content of our zines (paranoid?). I've also looked at MS access but don't know too much about it (esp. about putting it online...?)


Hi Long Haul,

This is a question we spent some time discussing at the Zine Libraries (un)Conference last spring in Seattle. Of the five we considered for a shared catalog, and given your constraints,

I do think LibraryThing could be a good way to go, though I appreciate your concern. LibraryThing's librarian is a zine advocate. Having a member library to work with might help her efforts to make LT more zine friendly. She should also be able to respond appropriately to your content concerns.

Almost any solution will cost a little dough, so if you'd rather spend it on software than labor, you could look into Athaeneum. I believe it's more or less an adapted version of FileMaker Pro (which kicks MS Access's ass). Email the folks at QZAP to get their take on it. I do not recommend Microsoft Access.

A potentially free option would be a hosted WordPress or Blogger blog. Ms. Valerie Park is a zine distro that uses the latter.

If you can wait until they offer hosting, I recommend Omeka. It's an images/archives friendly catalog that I think is a little more 21st century and possibly more out of the box friendly than some of the other tools out there. The Barnard Center for Research on Women recently implemented Omeka for their print ephemera collection. They did have to pay a developer a couple hundred bucks (not sure of exact cost) to help them with their install.

You might want to join the Zine Librarians list to discuss this further, and you're welcome to contact me directly.

Jenna, Barnard Library Zine Librarian