Open Source Library Systems
Robert Wilson, James Mitchell
Open source software and applications are all around us, and it’s no different in today’s libraries. Knowing about the open source alternative to integrated library system and being able to make accurate comparisons can save a library tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars a year while more closely matching the library’s functional needs.
The fact is that the foundational software in place in nearly every industry is being built with open source components. Where software applications are still proprietary or closed, those systems are themselves often built upon open source applications like open source web services, database management systems, programming languages, and operating systems. It’s the same story in the library world. Library software providers offering the latest and greatest software solution for many thousands of dollars a year are building these solutions with open source software. However, full-fledged open source applications built with the same underlying technologies are available to libraries at no cost for the software itself. Each of these applications have their own unique and interesting history and communities supporting them.
For the reader unfamiliar with open source software or apprehensive about using these applications in their library, this guide:
- introduces the history of open source;
- demonstrate the global upward trend of adopting open source technologies in general and within libraries in particular;
- debunk various myths about implementing and using open source technologies;
- discusses several different types of library information systems including:
- Integrated Library Systems
- Institutional Repositories
- Digital Asset Management Systems
- Online Public Access Catalogs
- Resource Sharing
- Electronic Resource Management
- and lastly, shares real world experiences in getting started with open source solutions, including discussing what systems and services are available and best practices for implementation and use.