Introducing digital library types and setup

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Introducing digital library types and setup
Location: At Varia (Gouwstraat 3, Rotterdam) and online
Date: 27th October, 2021
Time: 16:00-19:00 CEST
Tools: Bibliotecha
Guests: Luke Murphy


There are a few tried-and-tested tools for digital librarianship, many of which depend in some way on the open-source ebook management software Calibre. In this workshop, we were joined by guest Luke Murphy, one of the people working on the Bibliotecha project, which is a framework for using Calibre to serve files over a local area network.


Some participants had brought some minimal equipment to try to install Bibliotecha. It is designed to be self-hosted and run on a computer within a local area network on a wifi hotspot that is created during the installation.

Bibliotecha: digital books need libraries too

With Luke we discussed a few different options for hosting Calibre-based digital library systems, from homebrewed (self-hosted) servers to VPS (Virtual Private Server). There was the opportunity to see the type of hardware required for setting up a homebrewed server - a cheap singleboard microcomputer such as Raspberry Pi can easily run a local instance of Bibliotecha.

A basic set of equipment is:

  • a cheap computer with a wifi interface (e.g. Raspberry Pi 3 or 4)
  • a screen with cables to connect to the computer
  • a keyboard
  • a router
  • an SD card (minimum 32GB)
  • an ethernet cable

The software installation process is well documented here:

We went through an installation of the software on different computers in our various locations, screensharing a terminal window to show what commands to write and when.

Installation of Bibliotecha at Varia