In these trying financial times, libraries and cultural heritage institutions in general face difficult resource allocation decisions: for example, do you spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on proprietary software or do you hire a few good software developers and library professionals who can lead the design of applications and platforms specific to your needs? For some, leveraging open source software and the communities that form around it helps solve some of these problems.
The University of Virginia Library is a key partner in the collaborative and open source project known as "Hydra”; the goal of the Hydra Project is to create a comprehensive set of open source repository workflow tools that allow librarians and scholars to manage describe, deliver, reuse and preserve digital information. U.Va.’s committment to the project includes the definition of metadata standards, the creation of search and discovery interfaces, and the development and implementation of multiple Hydra “heads” such as the interface and workflow in use for the U.Va. institutional repository. U.Va is also a key contributor to the Blacklight project; Blacklight is an open source discovery interface or "next-generation catalog" — and can be seen powering the newly updated U.Va. OPAC, Virgo.
This talk will provide a brief overview of both the Hydra and Blacklight projects and the tools under development, will describe some of the processes and challenges for development teams working within a library setting, and show some of the ways that open source software works (and where it gets tricky) within this setting.