One isn’t *always* better than the other – each should be considered on its own merits and your own local context.
Where do you find OSS?
How do you decide if OS software is a good fit for your library? What are some of the reasons you might want to consider it?
Save on licensing fees. In some cases, may be great savings (e.g., moving to open office for basic word processing, little re-training required) – other cases, the savings on licensing fees may largely be re-directed to staff training and development.
Opportunities exist to pool resources and share knowledge and expertise. Sitka is a great example of this. The reSearcher project that I work for is supported by libraries from COPPUL and BCELN combining resources to support an alternative serials management system.
Mentioned this earlier – you may like the idea of redirecting licensing fees toward developing your own staff, or a shared staff resource within a consortia or other collaborative agreement.
Opportunities to play can foster innovation, enhanced team work, improve corporate culture
If you are looking for greater choice; an alternative to the often narrowing range of proprietary options.
e.g., Open Office for the public; library publishing services
Redirected license fees into staff development and ultimately back into improving the overall software benefits individuals (developed staff), organization (better software), the users (better services), and the community of other users of the software.
So, if you decide it is right, how do you evaluate when and where to use it?
Repeat – many of these evaluation criteria should be applied to *all* software, regardless of open or proprietary
Does its functionality meet your needs?
Do you have the resources (skilled staff, time, money, etc.)? PHP expert on staff, but the software is in Perl.
Reputation (solid; brickwall)
LicensingCheck which license it is covered underGPL is very permissiveIf you want to mess around, check the license
Does it follow open standards wherever appropriate? E.g., OAI for OJSDoes it encourage interoperability with other systems? E.g., OJS has a plugin architecture which allows other systems to plugin (OpenX)
Does it provide the support you need?Community / commercialE.g., Firefox (I don’t need support), Linux (community support has solved all of my needs), Wordpress (I’ve paid for customizations that were beyond me)
Selecting and EvaluatingOpen Source Software for Libraries Access 2011 - Vancouver, BC Kevin Stranack Simon Fraser University Library
• Where do you find oss• Girl with binoculars image
Review Reduced Costs Functionality Library Collaboration Your Resources Staff Development Reputation Play and Innovation License Terms Choice Open Standards Enhance Services Ongoing Development Common Good Adequate Support Sustainable