querying the braintrust

I have a technology need.  You have technology information, O Internet Braintrust.  I come seeking oracular wisdom.

I am the treasurer of SUNYLA, a statewide librarians’ organization.  We are in a transition period as an organization, working on streamlining and reorganizing a lot of processes (including moving the website to Joomla).  As Treasurer, I’m looking to reorganize, as well.

The problem at hand is this:  I take in a huge amount of information from members as they pay for the year’s membership.  I share this information with the Membership Chair, but sadly we’re very print reliant, and spend a too much time doing double data-entry, both input and removal.  Add on the need to create a dynamically updated web-based member directory, and you can see why we’re looking for the tech solution.  Interested parties are having a meeting on December 16 to try to figure this problem out, and I’d like to go into that meeting with some idea of how to go forward.

Our current needs:

  1. Must allow basic membership management — who paid, at what level, when, for how long, etc.
  2. Must have basic security features to prevent inappropriate data use and access.
  3. Must be remotely accessible and editable by multiple people.
  4. Does not have to be free, but cannot be enterprise-level expensive.
  5. Can be hosted or installed, though local installation would require finding a volunteer server somewhere, and a volunteer systems geek.
  6. Would be nice if it could import data from standard delimited files (ie, Quicken exports).  And then export it again.
  7. Must be easy — to install, to set up, to maintain, and to use.  (The major people working on this are, by title, a Collection Development/Tech Services librarian, a Reference/Instruction Librarian, and a Web Services/Collection Development librarian.  We’re all savvy and motivated, but none of us is knee-deep in servers and SQL.)

All advice or suggestions appreciated, here or in email, rogersurbanek at gmail.  A bunch of SUNY librarians thank you for your help, whether they know how grateful they really are, or not.
Now playing: Guster – Center Of Attention
via FoxyTunes


  1. Awesome, Jason. That might do it, considering we’re already working with Joomla. I don’t need turnkey, just “figure-out-able”.

    Any further suggestions most welcome, though!


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