Sunday, August 15, 2010

Filipino Librarian: Romy Sebastian

Romy Sebastian of the Miriam College library looks like your typical librarian: soft spoken, unassuming and low profile. But hold the stereotype. The man is a genius.

I met Romy a few years back when LIBRO was in its fledgling stage. Now, it's undergone several revisions with a web scripting program to boot. It carries all the library functions from acquisition to cataloging; indexing to inventory; circulation and reader's profile; reports and statistics -- the works! No wonder, commercial IT corporations have been after his heel with proposals to buy his brain child. Romy would simply shush them away, holding on to the belief that he developed the system as an advocacy to help Filipino librarians and their libraries.

He claims he has no programming background. He learned Visual Basic through self studying. Over the years, tracking the feedback given to him by patrons and friends who uses LIBRO, he was able to improve and add functions like archiving and Web 2.0 features. One challenge that faces him in this time of rapid technological advancement is piracy. There have been cases when LIBRO's programming language was acquired with his permission. He dismisses this to fate and continues on undeterred.

I was privileged to view his newest creation, PLATONICXZ, a web based library integrated system. Impressive. Again he shrugged his shoulders and humbly told me that it's not perfect. In this world that's being flattened by technology every bit and byte, the word perfect no longer exist.

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