One of the challenging and rewarding aspects of open source software is building and sustaining the community that surrounds the software. It is challenging because people and institutions use open source software for a variety of reasons. For some, having the computer source code means that they are empowered to adapt the software to fit their needs. For others, contributing talent and budget to a communal effort – something arguably aligned with the general ethos of libraries – means that ultimately a better solution is created for their own users. Yet another group sees an open source solution as simply the best tool to solve a particular problem.
It has been the longest of weeks and the shortest of weeks. Longest because of a working weekend with the ALA Midwinter conference in San Diego. Shortest because the activities leading up to, during, and after the conference didn’t leave much time for reading items to prepare a DLTJ Thursday Threads article. This edition has three short pointers: a report from Midwinter on a project from OCLC to offer a basic website for every library, why governments are coming around to liking open source software, and a discussion of measurements of reliability.
The turn of the year brings commentary on the past 12 months and thoughts on the future. This edition of DLTJ Thursday Threads looks at the relationship between libraries and electronic books with an offer by Sony to explain e-reader hardware to libraries and an opinion piece that libraries need to get their act together on the adoption of e-books. Then there is a look forward at possible trends for the new year; I try to pick out the ones that I think will have an impact on libraries. One trend that does seem to be emerging is the migration of libraries from proprietary software to open source software for their integrated library systems. Lastly, we’ll wrap up with a look at Public Domain Day.
I was reading a story last week about the Linux Foundation‘s third annual report [PDF] of the Linux kernel, and in it was a section that talked about the affiliation of the programmers that contributed to the development of the kernel. This got me thinking about the affiliation of programmers in the library open source community. More on that after a brief detour to explain what the “kernel” is.
It has been a long week, so for many of you this edition of DLTJ Thursday Threads will actually be read on Friday. The spirit was willing, the topics were certainly out there in the past seven days, but the necessary distractions were numerous. Please enjoy this edition whenever you read it. As always, there is lots more on my FriendFeed aggregation page.
Google Refine 2.0, a power tool for data wranglers
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.
Last month, the eXtensible Catalog (XC) project posted job openings for Java developers. These are short-term, grant-funded projects and, having been on the hiring side of that equation before myself, I know how difficult it is to get good people for a one- or two-year project. The XC posting is different, though, in one important way: it is possible to have XC buy out the time of a developer on staff for the time that the development is happening.
Consideration will be made for qualified developers that are currently employed at another institution, but who may be available for loan to the XCO [eXtensible Catalog Organization]. The XCO would cover the salary and benefits of such individuals in the form of a direct payment to their host institution. This is an excellent opportunity for a library to invest in open-source software for libraries as well as a way to temporarily offset staffing costs in a difficult economic environment. Only staff that can be made available to XCO at 100% time (or close to that level) will be considered for this arrangement.
Carl Grant, president of Ex Libris North America, posted a pair of messages on his corporate blog that it is worth calling attention to regarding the OLE Project final report, if you haven’t already run into them: OLE; The unanswered questions and Library Software Solutions – We need a higher level of discourse... Equally important is the comment on the first by Brad Wheeler, Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer at Indiana University. The whole thread should take about five minutes to read; five minutes well spent if you are interested in the intersection of community source software development with proprietary, closed-source software development. It is even more important if you are looking for a case study of governance issues surrounding community source software development. Go ahead…I’ll wait.
This is an announcement posted by the State Library of Ohio regarding the selection of FulfILLment from Equinox for a statewide resource sharing system.
OPEN SOURCE STATEWIDE RESOURCE SHARING SYSTEM PROPOSAL FROM EQUINOX HAS BEEN ACCEPTED.
The State Library of Ohio is pleased to announce Equinox Software Inc. has been selected to develop a new open source resource sharing solution called Equinox FulfILLment. The goal of the project is to develop a seamless resource sharing application under an open source licensing framework in an environment of disparate integrated library systems (ILSs).
This started out as a comment to a posting by Chris Coppola, president and co-founder of rSmart Group. The comment got longer and threaded with yesterday’s posting about the nature of BioMed Central, so I moved it to this posting on DLTJ. For those in the library community who are not familiar with rSmart, it provides commercial support for the Sakai collaboration and learning environment and the Kuali administrative systems suite. rSmart is somewhat equivalent to Equinox Software and LibLime in the library automation arena.