Debian Linux and the PostgreSQL Database For Options To Build Library Information System-Based Open Source

March 10th, 2010 by Tweet Leave a reply »

Linux1. Introduction

Information systems in the era of Information Technology (IT) as this has an important role in various areas of life, both in industry and education. One of the implementation of information systems in education is at the library information system. In this regard, to consider, before making a choice and implement software to build a library information system is, in terms of the operating system, programming language to what the appropriate database used to manage data and document libraries.

As a unit which provides information services to the general public who are non-profit, the library is a good place to promote legal software and cheap, but of course must be supported by the curiosity of the librarians to try to be creative in utilizing various software applications , is widely available in the market. Why is it important to do?, Because there has always been a library managers are often worried by the lack of even the lack of funds, to build and develop software applications.

Complaining is not enough and thoughtful, it takes courage to make choices that make use of legal software and licensed products such as using Windows or using software based on open source, one of them, with the Debian distribution of Linux as the operating system and PostgreSQL which is a means of processing and data base document library. Choosing the software, but free of charge, how to get it easily, can be done by downloading via the Internet.

Later in the installation phase of the operating system on some library computers, to choose one of the specifications of computer hardware can be treated as a server or the library has prepared a unit of a computer device that has a server specification, while for the other computers can be installed as a client. However, the installation of the client computer does not have to always use the Debian Linux distribution, as variations can be installed by using other linux distributions, such as IGOS Nusantara, Suse Linux, Kubuntu and even, in one client computer can also be installed more than one operating system, which consists from the various Linux distributions and Windows operating systems.

Step and it is good policy to be implemented, so that the librarians can have a chance to learn more from a variety of operating systems. One thing that should be recognized here, that the diversity of the system installation on each client computer, has no effect on the existing system on the server computer, but otherwise the server computers that have been installed with Debian Linux capable of interoperability with various Linux distributions or Windows.

Build a web-based applications require a high-performance database, powerful and flexible. And since it is PostgreSQL chosen Object Relational Database Management System (ORDBMS), which can accommodate the needs of the database to a larger and complex, but that PostgreSQL is supported by various programming languages.

2. Problems

Based on the above background, the author wants to raise issues about:

  1. How to build a library information system capable to handle a variety of needs (requirements), both from users and administrators
  2. Why Debian Linux software and PostgreSQL databases, selected to build a library information system

3. Objectives and Benefits

In general, the purpose of using software Linux distributions Debian and PostgreSQL databases, in an attempt implementation of appropriate technology at the library information system, which is expected to enhance the role of librarians in promoting and participating popularize the use of software based on open source legal and cheap, and in the context of its implementation can function as:

  1. Support the library budget resolution, by choosing what software is used to build a proper library information system, which has always been considered a heavy burden for the library.
  2. An increase in capacity in the field of information systems for the librarians, so having a reliable team for, doing design, edit and update data and document libraries.
  3. Ensuring security, stability and continuity of existence of all data and document libraries from various disorders, mainly of a virus attack or interference from irresponsible groups.
  4. The existence of the ease and speed of the input or when access to data and documents in a library information system.


1. Why Use Debian Linux

One of the Open Source product that is rapidly growing now is Linux, Linux is technically a Unix-like operating system that is multy user and multy tasking that can run on all platforms .

Ditro one good Linux system is Debian server installation, this can be seen in the development and a very good position in several package management integration and have extensive access to many free software applications. As a result, Debian has developed into one of the distributions of GNU / Linux are reliable. The reason why used by Debian Linux is:

  • Free Software, meaning can take / copy the source program GNU / Linux free of charge and can reproduce, modify and distribute freely
  • Open Source, meaning all the listing program of the operating system source code can be viewed and modified without any restrictions from any
  • Stability-tested programs, the system is not susceptible to hang, even though the program has run continuously over a relatively long time is more than one month, with no need to restart.
  • Debian GNU / Linux is a cross-platform operating system that can run on almost any kind / types of computers available today.

Can be described here for the needs of the hardware specifications, Debian Linux supports almost all kinds / types of computers, beginning next generation Intel processor class 80386th, 80486th, until the Pentium with the class. While hard drive capacity is needed to install Debian Linux on the server and at least 1.6 GB for the client or workstation needs at least 600 MB of space.

To support such exposure, in September 2005 and has conducted experiments on the application server installation with a desktop computer specifications:

  • Processor: Intel Pentium Ghz 4.3.06
  • Memory: 256 DDR PC 3200
  • Hardisk: Seagate 80 GB
  • Graphics: Intel On board
  • OS: Debian 3.1. Sarge
  • Webserver: Apache 2.1
  • The DBMS: PostgreSQL 8.1
  • Other: PHP 4.3, PostgreSQL management tool

In these experiments during the 6 months since installed as a server, the computer turned on continuously without a restart, which detected no interference at all the hardware and software applications built, although the computer is installed as the server does not have the capacity as a server. At the stage of development, to deal with the computer age in order to survive in a relatively long time, it was decided a server computer on a long holiday is not turned on.

The results to date performance of the server computer can still be running well, to process data and documents ranging from entry, edit, update and browse the library possessed information through intranet and internet networks.

2. PostgreSQL as Database and Document Library

We have two databases open source environment that is very reliable, namely PostgreSQL and MySQL. Both these databases have some significant differences either, PostgreSQL is an Object Relational Database Management System (ORDBMB). While MySQL is RDMS.

This is reinforced in writing, that the relational database (RDBMD) was first introduced by Edger F “Ted” Codd, who later became known as rules Codd (Codd’s Rules). Codd wrote about how to find a relational DBMS is to create 13 rules starting from 0 to 12. Briefly these rules can be described as follows:

  • The system must have a feature relational relational model
  1. Relational databases are presented in table form
  2. Each datum (smallest value) in the relational database can reasonably assure the access by using the tables, primary key, and column names
  3. Null value is its own type of data that must be supported by relational database
  4. Database description logic is described in the same level with ordinary data, so users who have rights to the data can use the same relational language to perform data integration as usual
  5. Relational systems can be supported by some language in relation to supporting the definition of the word, the definition of view, manipulation of data, restrictions on the integrity, authority and transaction limits
  6. All the view that in theory can be updated should be also be updated by the system
  7. The ability of handling basic and derived relationships as a single Operands not only apply to data retrieval, but also on the income (insert), update (update) and elimination (delete) data
  8. Activity or a terminal application programs are not disrupted by the change of the representation of data storage and data access methods
  9. Activity or a terminal application programs are not disrupted by any change of information (data) that may in theory be allowed
  10. Restrictions on the integrity of a particular relational database must be defined in a sub language of relational and stored in the system catalog
  11. A Database Management System does not have a dependency distributions
  12. If a relational system has a low level language (one record at a time), language can not be used to block or bypass the integrity rules defined by high-level relational language (multiple records at one time).

In line with these rules like a building, often referred to PostgreSQL or Postgres is one of several large databases that offer scalability, flexibility and high performance. Such widespread use of various platforms and is supported by many programming languages.

As part of this study, the actualization has tried to make the web application using PHP programming language to connect to PostgreSQL database and Ajax (Asynchronous JavaScript And XML) which is to handle the changes in web pages and also the updates at the same time the server , as well as the installation of Apache web server. Visualization database programming can be seen in the library information system.

For the IT (Information Technology) in Indonesia, Postgres has been used for various applications such as web, billing systems and other large information systems, among other libraries.

According to many unique things that can be found from this database, the original idea of his programmers is to create a database that is rich in features with high flexibility. These priorities could be regarded as a Postgres SQL database is not in accordance with standard ANSI-SQL 92, as is commonly found in large database. But now slowly but surely Postgres has answered the challenge, ANSI – SQL 92 is a reliable standard, and offer a better standard.

One thing that is important from several advantages that exist, other than as a relational database, Postgres is available the source code and can be downloaded without charge fees (for free). No wonder if Linux had crowned Arward Postgres as a database option and Oracle as his runner-up finish.

3. Definition of Library Information System

The system can be defined as a collection of interrelated components together to produce a single goal. The notion of information is also obliged, as a result of data processing or documents used for a purpose, so that the recipient will get a stimulus for action.

While in the conventional sense is the collection of library books or the physical building where the books were collected and arranged according to specific system for user interests. Looking at the context of understanding, in this framework, the library information system was built as part of the effort:

  • Assist and facilitate the management of information in conducting and disseminating data input without having to repeat activities that are routine.
  • Helpful and easy to search or use the information to quickly find the desired information, in addition to providing a choice of topics is sought through the presence of a wide range of data and documents presented.

Thus in this level, the concept of building a library information system that will ultimately be linked to performance, with indication of the motive, the development of knowledge and skills that characterize individuals who work in libraries and, its positive impact will be felt by library users or information seekers.


  1. Building a library information system capable to handle a variety of needs (requipment), both from the user or administrator.

Before building a library of information systems that are reliable, which has high flexibility, there is a series of stages that needed to be done are:

1.1 inventory hardware requirements that will be used to support the activities of library information systems. Hardware such as:

  • One unit or a server computer that has the capacity as a server
  • A few computers to client / workstation
  • UTP Cable, Conector
  • Protocol, Wi-Fi and other
  • Scanner and Printer
  • Phone, Modem
  • Card LAN / Ethernet Card, Hub / Swich / Repeater / Router
  • Barcode Reader

Digital Camera

1.2 Selecting and determine which software will be used to build a library information system are:

  • Legal and licensed means, legal software and installation provided when you purchase a computer and a unit, the software only to be installed on the computer, usually as a proof of the legality of such software in the form of holograms that are attached to the computer.
  • Legal and open source means, legal software that can be installed through the media disk, Compact Disk or downloaded for free on the internet with no charging and no limitation on the number of computers that will be installed.

1.3 Selecting and determine the design of computer networks will be used to access the library information system, ie by designing the network as:

  • LAN (Local Area Network), which means that the computer network designed to connect one computer to another within a distance range rooms no more than 200 m.
  • WAN (Wide Area Network), which means that the computer network designed to connect one computer to another within the scope of the room, spread in some locations in the world.
  • LAN and WAN (Intranet), meaning that the network is connected between the computer located at the central office with branch offices spread across locations – separate locations to headquarters, an intranet provides an internal exchange of information between the scope of an institution.
  • Internet, means a collection of networks located in various interconnected world form one large network, and means the network connection can use FTP, e-mail, Chat, and other mailing lists.

4. The scope of materials the library information system that will be built are:

  • An integrated library automation in procurement, processing (cataloging, inventory, lawyer-label, statistics, finance), circulation (loan, return and renewal), providing online catalog (OPAC)
  • Digitizing libraries, namely the input process and access to documents in the form of abstract file or document file.

1.5 The ability of human resources available, mastered the field of information technology as:

  • Operator, only able to operate the computer as the operator
  • Programmer, able to operate and understand the ins and outs of computers and audio-visual, and can appreciate the system analysis, design, implementation, evaluation and improvement and training to co-workers for a library information system is built.

Departure from it above and related to the ability to budget and human resources the library has, then the process of building a library information system can be done in stages, including:

a. Library of lower middle income type, for matters relating to:

  • Procurement of hardware, can be selected according to minimum requirements of a library information system that will be built, ie having enough computers for 1 server and 1 or 2 units to the client computer, printer, scanner and equipped for computer network of UTP cable, Conector, switch / hub.
  • Preferred software, should be legal and open source, so there is no full charge and available source code
  • Computer networks can take advantage of an intranet network, in order to accommodate the information needs of the local institutional environment and, later on can be developed in the Internet network without a significant change.
  • The scope of materials the library information system that will be built, the principle can be carried out thoroughly, starting from the integrated library automation of procurement activities, cataloging, circulation, online catalogs to library digitization, but when the input data or control of documents relating directly to the camera requirement or a barcode system can be eliminated first.
  • The human resources available in libraries, at this moment must have a criterion of expertise as operators and programmers, as expected by the above criteria will be equally engaged, though at first the application program that has the result of “software developers”, but because it is open source then the source code can be developed which included the library as needed.

b. Advanced Library, for things – things that relate to:

  • Procurement of hardware would be no significant obstacles for adequate budgetary support.
  • The need for software, should remain selected oriented open source, considering the inclusion of the source code of the library information system application that is built will provide added value to the librarians who do data entry or to expand the program.
  • Computer networks can be designed together as an intranet and internet networks.
  • The scope of materials the library information system, in addition to the integrated automation of the processing activity, circulation, online catalog and library digitization, must be developed to incorporate e-learning materials, so the packaging of information systems built into life and a lot of benefits
  • Human resources, advanced library for human resources was not a problem, because from the beginning would have been considered by the leaders of the library by including the librarians at each library science and the development of information technology.

2. Chosen Debian Linux software and PostgreSQL databases to build a library information system.

Open source software in this case the Debian Linux distribution as the operating system installed in a library information system, can provide benefits and convenience that means, it can be proved on Debian Linux installation on the library information system , which in access and data updates have never experienced a problem. Benefits and ease of installation is obtained from the application of Debian Linux operating system, among others:

  • Software Debian Linux, obtained without a full charge (free), that is to download via the internet.
  • Debian Linux as an operating system that are resistant to viruses, worms, Trojans and intrusions with expoit action or security holes, compared to the previous use Dos and Windows
  • Speed of access to information, using Debian Linux installation on the server system, access to information more quickly than when using Windows.
  • In each of the development of new versions, Debian Linux can be easily upgraded, as was the case today, the server at the library information system was installed with Debian Linux 3.1 Sarge, but for the client computer has been upgraded Debian Linux using version 4 Indonesia, the result is not a problem to connect to the server.
  • Results observations on the server, Debian Linux system is stable, there was no interference, and not easy to hang even though the computer turned on continuously over a relatively long time.
  • On Debian Linux there is a facility to transfer files from one activity to the mailing list archive library file automatically ie, by using Kmail, so can control the e-mail capacity is available, so as not to overload occur that causes data can not be entered.
  • The Debian Linux installation knowing your login and password system, namely as an administrator (root) and regular users (the user), so not everyone can easily use the computer except to have access rights, in addition to the confidentiality of data each user can be maintained even if the computer is composed some users (the user).

The terms chosen PostgreSQL as a database based on field implementation, the PostgreSQL installation that has been done on library information system, to:

  • Cost

PostreSQL software available for free, by downloading via the Internet.

  • Data security

Data security is assured, because the initial concept of building a database application, from the beginning had been thought, to divide the two main activities for tracking and processing system of library administration. In search of a security system based only on the use of Internet Protocol (IP), but in the administration of the library was built using 3 security system that is accessible by using Internet Protocol (IP) is allowed, the required user login and password and provide a time limit for each current login, so the system will automatically logged off when no activity for 10 minutes.

  • Data Conversion

Data conversion process, PostgreSQL can be easily read by the data structure in the lower level or equivalent. For example, the case that the database at the library information system is the result data conversion from Foxpro database under Dos, which process data at first converted into a new database Acses then converted to a PostgreSQL database, the result of data from various types of collections that have been converted to a PostgreSQL database structure can be read as a whole without any defects or missing.

  • Flexibility of data structure

Data structures can be built is based on core data structures and supporting, so any time necessary supporting data structures can be connected easily and not have to repeat the terms of the database for the same name.

  • GNU Public License

Program listing of database applications built on a library information system is a product which is a GNU general public license or often called the GNU General Public License, meaning the program design of an open source software can be freely distributed for free or can provide pricing for the service if desired, but the recipient still get the source code.

  • Format BibTeX

Collections of bibliographic data in a library information system can be configured in bibtex format, it will be useful for the purposes of writing a bibliography in a writing. Also collections of bibliographic data in a format that bibtex can also be used to search a collection offline. Bibliographic data can be downloaded for free through the library information system that has provided facilities bibtex generated files. For example in library information system users can download files in the bibtex format via IP and the administrator login for free.


The presence of device-based full Open Source in this context, used Debian Linux and PostgreSQL as the database will answer the problems faced by libraries in the selection of a number of software available on the market. Innovation-based software using open source will increase the credibility of the library, which is closely related to performance improvement, ultimately affects the speed and accuracy in providing services to library users.

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