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Welcome to Era Eight 1.01

Era Eight is a free OPAC (Open Public Access Catalogue) add-on to the Heritage library management software. It is not based on the Heritage Online system, but provides a number of improvements over Heritage Online:

* It is free. You will never run out of Heritage licenses for your
  OPAC, because Era Eight doesn't use Heritage.

* It is fast. Search results are returned in under a second.

* It is beautiful. The look and feel is modelled on a familiar web
  search engine, and can be customized to match your organisation's
  home page.

* It is relevant. Search results are aware of the popularity of book
  loans and place more popular books to the top.

* It is helpful. If Google Books has a scanned copy of the book, Era
  Eight tells you about it. If Amazon knows about the book, Era
  Eight presents the description and photograph. It also gives you 
  bibliographic citations in Bibtex and Harvard formats.

* It is customizable. Every page is made up of templates which can
  be customized to suit the needs of individual institutions. If you
  don't use Harvard citations, change the template to show the data
  in another format instead!

Era Eight is written by Simon Cozens and is released under the Artistic License version 2:

Installation instructions

Era Eight is written in a programming language called Perl, so first you will need a copy of Perl. If you are on Linux, Mac OS X or any other form of Unix, you will already have Perl; on Windows, you will need to install Strawberry Perl. Get it from and double click to install.

Era Eight also needs a number of other Perl modules installed, but it makes this easy by downloading and installing them for you. To do this, open a console window, navigate to the Era Eight directory and run "perl Makefile.PL" - then follow the prompts. Type "make" (or "dmake" on Windows) and the installer will download and install the modules.

Note: If you are on Debian or Ubuntu, you can make life easier for yourself by installing a few packages first: sudo apt-get install libtemplate-perl libclass-dbi-sqlite-perl libhttp-server-simple-perl

Making it work on Windows

On Windows, there are still problems with one of the required Perl modules. The trick is to attempt to install as above, and then fix up the stragglers like so:

  • Net::Amazon

To persuade Net::Amazon to install, you'll need to increase a parameter that dmake uses. The easiest way to do this is to edit the file \Strawberry\c\bin\startup\ - add the following line at the top of the file:


Then install it again.

Setting up the database

You will need access to your Heritage catalogue files. If you are running EraEight on a separate machine to your Heritage server, you will need to mount the server's Heri4 directory. Underneath the Heri4 directory there is a directory called "windata". This contains your catalogue files.

From the Era Eight directory, run the following command to import the database:

perl $directory

where $directory is the directory containing the catalogue files. (i.e. ending with "/heri4/windata")

You will also need to update the catalogue periodically - I suggest once per day. On Windows, you can configure a "scheduled task" from Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Scheduled Tasks; on Unix, see the suggested cron script in cron/eraeight-reindex. You can place this into cron.daily after editing the ERAEIGHT_HOME and DATABASE_HOME variables.

Amazon Web Services key

In order to download book descriptions and pictures from Amazon, you'll need an Amazon Web Services key and secret. Get this from

Configuring the server

Finally, you will need to configure your server. To do this, create a file in your Era Eight directory called "e8-server.psgi". (Future versions will help you to do this, but we're not quite there yet.)

In the simplest case, your file should look like this:

use lib "lib";
use EraEight
    amazon_key_id => "... Amazon key here ...",
    amazon_secret_key => "... Amazon secret here ...",
    library_name => "My Institution",

This will start a search engine running on port 5000 of your server. To change the port, add a line:

port => 1234,

To run on the standard web server port, use

port => 80,

and remember to run the server as a privileged user.

By default the server listens on all interfaces available; to restrict it to a particular IP address, add a line:

host => "",

Running your server

Now in the Era Eight directory, run:

plackup -a e8-server.psgi

You should then be able to connect to port 5000 of your server in a web browser. (

For Unix users, there's an init script in init.d to help you set up the server.

Enjoy Era Eight!

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