Helping Libraries Consider Open Source Software

One of the key activities that brought me to LYRASIS many months ago is going to see the light of day in about 10 days at ALA Midwinter — a set of tools to help libraries determine if open source software is right for them and what open source software works the best. Here is the announcement snippet from today’s LYRASIS newsletter:

FREE Open Source Sessions at ALA Midwinter: Take Control of Your Library’s Software

Open Source LogoIs your library thinking about jumping into open source software, but not sure if you have the tools in place to succeed, or where to start?

Seeking consultants to create decision support tools for open source software selection

My employer (LYRASIS) is seeking to engage consultants to create decision support tools in the form of whitepapers, self-guided assessments, and worksheets for libraries considering open source software. This work is funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to help libraries of all types determine if open source software is right for them, and what combination of software, hosting, training, and consulting works for their situation. These tools are to be paired with a software registry to become a community exchange point and stimulant for growth of the library open source ecosystem by connecting libraries with projects, service providers, and events.

How Do You Decide To Use Open Source Software and What Software to Use?

As part of the Mellon Foundation grant funding the start-up of LYRASIS Technology Services, LTS is to produce a series of tools that enable libraries to decide whether open source is right for their environments. The grant says:

Seeking feedback on database design for an open source software registry

As part of the Mellon Foundation grant funding the start-up of LYRASIS Technology Services, LTS is establishing a registry to provide in-depth comparative, evaluative, and version information about open source products. This registry will be free for viewing and editing (all libraries, not just LYRASIS members, and any provider offering services for open source software in libraries). Drupal will be the underlying content system, and it will be hosted by LYRASIS.

I’m seeking input on a data model that is intended to answer these questions:

  • What open source options exist to meet a particular need of my library?

Now Working for LYRASIS

News of my joining Lyrasis has been officially reported (“Timothy Daniels and Peter Murray to Lead LYRASIS Technology Services” [PDF]) so I can talk about it here now. On September 10th I left OhioLINK to join LYRASIS on September 13th as the assistant director for the newly emerging LYRASIS Technology Services (LTS). Along with Tim Daniels, I’ll be forming a group to help members among the various open source and commercial software options works best for their situations, including options where LYRASIS can effectively and efficiently aggregate Software-as-a-Service hosting options.