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Open Source Systems for Libraries: A New Approach to Resource Sharing
Open Source Systems for Libraries: A New Approach to Resource Sharing
Open Source Systems for Libraries: A New Approach to Resource Sharing
Open Source Systems for Libraries: A New Approach to Resource Sharing
Open Source Systems for Libraries: A New Approach to Resource Sharing
Open Source Systems for Libraries: A New Approach to Resource Sharing
Open Source Systems for Libraries: A New Approach to Resource Sharing
Open Source Systems for Libraries: A New Approach to Resource Sharing
Open Source Systems for Libraries: A New Approach to Resource Sharing
Open Source Systems for Libraries: A New Approach to Resource Sharing
Open Source Systems for Libraries: A New Approach to Resource Sharing
Open Source Systems for Libraries: A New Approach to Resource Sharing
Open Source Systems for Libraries: A New Approach to Resource Sharing
Open Source Systems for Libraries: A New Approach to Resource Sharing
Open Source Systems for Libraries: A New Approach to Resource Sharing
Open Source Systems for Libraries: A New Approach to Resource Sharing
Open Source Systems for Libraries: A New Approach to Resource Sharing
Open Source Systems for Libraries: A New Approach to Resource Sharing
Open Source Systems for Libraries: A New Approach to Resource Sharing
Open Source Systems for Libraries: A New Approach to Resource Sharing
Open Source Systems for Libraries: A New Approach to Resource Sharing
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Open Source Systems for Libraries: A New Approach to Resource Sharing

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  • 1. Open Source Systems for Libraries: A New Approach to Resource Sharing Eric H. Schnell Prior Health Sciences Library The Ohio State University [email_address] Copyleft – 2001
  • 2. “ Free” Software <ul><li>Free as in freedom (and as a free kitten) </li></ul><ul><li>Little to do with price. It is about freedom </li></ul><ul><li>A program is free software, if there is: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>freedom to run the program, for any purpose </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>freedom to modify the program to suit needs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>freedom to distribute modified versions of the program, so that the community can benefit from your improvements </li></ul></ul>
  • 3. Open Source <ul><li>A philosophy of software development where: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>a community comes together to create computer programs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>systems are developed out of mutual need and for economic advantage </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>informal networks are formed to create and support these applications </li></ul></ul>
  • 4. Why Open Source in Libraries? <ul><li>Commercial developers respond slowly </li></ul><ul><li>Niche vendors gain monopoly </li></ul><ul><li>Commercial product lifelines uncertain </li></ul><ul><li>Release date teasers </li></ul><ul><li>Program code is customizable </li></ul><ul><li>Helps reduce annual software costs </li></ul><ul><li>No software maintenance “fees” </li></ul>
  • 5. Why Open Source in Libraries? <ul><li>Reduce service implementation timetable </li></ul><ul><li>Reallocate funds to other needs </li></ul><ul><li>Break away from the library system paradigm </li></ul><ul><li>Creation of new resource sharing networks and consortiums </li></ul>
  • 6. Library Networks <ul><li>National - OCLC, RLG </li></ul><ul><li>Statewide - OhioLink </li></ul><ul><li>Regional - NNLM, CIC </li></ul>
  • 7. Library Networks <ul><li>Purchasing discounts </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Monographs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Serials </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Database access </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>E-Journals </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Interlibrary loan </li></ul><ul><li>Special collections </li></ul>
  • 8. Library Networks <ul><li>Libraries choose to participate in a given network: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>based on their interest </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>on their ability to contribute </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>to gain administrative advantage </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To gain economic advantage </li></ul></ul>
  • 9. OSLN – Open Sources Library Networks <ul><li>Open source networks reflect the traditional values and philosophy of library networks </li></ul><ul><li>OSS and OSLN networks build relationships because they share common goals </li></ul><ul><li>Both support development of software products that support the unique needs of a specific user group </li></ul><ul><li>Both use a peer-review system of development </li></ul>
  • 10. OSLN – Open Sources Library Networks <ul><li>MyLibrary (North Carolina State) </li></ul><ul><li>Prospero (Ohio State) </li></ul><ul><li>Free Reserves (Southern Illinois University) </li></ul><ul><li>BioMail (SUNY Stonybrook) </li></ul><ul><li>Internet Station Manager (Grand Rapids, MI PL) </li></ul>
  • 11. OSLN vs. Homegrown <ul><li>Individual libraries often lack all the human elements to create scalable and portable systems ( coding, testing, troubleshooting, user ed ) </li></ul><ul><li>A network of libraries has a greater chance of assembling a development team with a full complement of skills </li></ul>
  • 12. OSLN vs. Homegrown <ul><li>When the programmer of a homegrown system leaves employment the system gradually falls apart and dies </li></ul><ul><li>OSLN community takes over the management responsibilities of the most viable systems and they continue to evolve </li></ul>
  • 13. OSLN vs. Homegrown <ul><li>Homegrown systems are often created in isolation with minimal external feedback and support </li></ul><ul><li>The foundation of OSLN is a system of peer review that is missing from most homegrown projects </li></ul>
  • 14. Getting Involved <ul><li>Libraries are always developing applications (delivering dynamic Web content, interactive reference services, or image archive systems) </li></ul><ul><li>Many of these applications are kept in-house even though they may be useful to other libraries </li></ul><ul><li>Libraries developing innovative solutions need to consider becoming active open source developers </li></ul>
  • 15. Getting Involved <ul><li>By distributing OSS the library community is able to benefit from a library&apos;s experience, resources, and expertise </li></ul><ul><li>A library’s OSS project could benefit from the community’s experience, resources, and expertise </li></ul><ul><li>New library networks and consortiums need to be developed to support such initiatives </li></ul>
  • 16. Developer Support <ul><li>Install an existing program </li></ul><ul><ul><li>play with it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>evaluate it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>provide feedback. Constructive and critical feedback is vital </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Report errors and problems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>helps clarify misconceptions users and potential users have about the application </li></ul></ul>
  • 17. User Support <ul><li>Documentation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>installation manuals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>user guides </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Instructional materials </li></ul><ul><ul><li>tip sheets </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>how-to guides </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Conference presentations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>local, regional, national meetings </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Write journal and newsletter articles </li></ul>
  • 18. Development Support <ul><li>Programming </li></ul><ul><ul><li>system security </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>memory usage </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>file permissions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>error reports </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>suggest and construct technical solutions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>create new features </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>create plug-in modules </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>create derivative programs </li></ul></ul>
  • 19. Barriers to Participation <ul><li>Limited understanding </li></ul><ul><li>Underestimating personal skill set </li></ul><ul><li>Projects may not proactively recruit </li></ul><ul><li>Time </li></ul><ul><li>Administration support </li></ul>
  • 20. Why OSS Projects Die <ul><li>Burn out </li></ul><ul><li>Inability to acquire a critical mass of users </li></ul><ul><li>Loss of the leading developer </li></ul><ul><li>Forking </li></ul>
  • 21. <ul><li>Establishment of library open source resource sharing networks will allow more libraries to provide high quality electronic patron services when they are needed….. </li></ul>… .. not when the technology becomes commercially available

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