Pika was created to address the needs of patrons by solving several common usability issues: all formats of a work are grouped together, patrons can serendipitously discover titles to read next, and all functionality works on any size device with responsive design.
Pika development started in 2009 based on an early version of VuFind created by Villanova University. At that time, VuFind was primarily intended for use by academic libraries. Marmot added significant functionality intended to make VuFind more relevant to public libraries and more configurable for usage by a multi-type consortium.
From 2010-2012 Marmot continued active development on our VuFind branch. Additional functionality was contributed by Douglas County Public Libraries, Wake County Public Libraries, and Anythink Libraries. Some functionality developed during this period included:
- Integration of NoveList Recommendations in the catalog.
- Custom recommendation functionality based on catalog metadata for all materials (including materials where NoveList does not offer recommendations).
- Development of the "Douglas County Model" for e-books where ebooks are purchased directly from the publisher and stored in a library owned adobe content server (this functionality has been deprecated from more recent releases).
- Materials Request functionality to allow patrons to request materials that the library does not currently own.
- Additional Theming capabilities.
In 2012, Mark Noble joined Marmot Library Network on a full time basis and we began to focus extensively on conducting usability studies and making our branch of VuFind better for patrons, student, and staff.
In 2013, Marmot began to work with Discovery Partners in addition to serving our full members. Marmot provides setup services, maintenance, ongoing development, and optionally hosting services to our Discovery Partners.
In 2014, we addressed major usability issues in a major update to our VuFind branch and renamed our fork Pika to eliminate confusion with Villanova's version. Major issues addressed during this update were:
- Record Grouping to allow all formats and editions of a work to be grouped together to help users easily identify which formats are available.
- Browsing of the collection from the catalog homepage to aid users when they aren't looking for a specific title.
- Responsive interface that works on all devices without loss of functionality.
The major project for 2015 was work with Nashville Public Libraries and Nashville Schools to implement their Limitless Libraries program which allows public school students to easily search content from both the public library and the public schools in a single unified interface. Students can easily place holds on materials from either the public library or their school and view all materials checked out from the public library and the schools from a single display.
Development of our Digital Archive began in 2016. Our archive implementation utilizes Islandora for the administration interface and presents a unique view of archive content alongside content from the catalog.
Pika is a fantastic example of libraries pushing the innovation curve in online catalogs far beyond what any of the traditional vendors are doing. Pika has undergone extensive user testing as new features are added, ensuring that development doesn’t occur in vacuum. Catalog enrichment, social features, seamless e-resource integration, FBRB-based record grouping, and linked data are all hallmarks of a catalog that truly seeks to meet patron needs. Pika is a standout offering among its competitors.
Karen L. Neville, MLIS
Technical Services Librarian
Colorado Christian University
Marmot Library Network Member
I am always impressed with the quick response that our requests receive. Even if it isn't something that can be done right away, it is confirming to see items added to the development schedule and be able to follow along with them. Our staff chose Pika because we wanted to see faster results with customizations and that is exactly what we got!
Librarian II- Electronic Resource Coordinator