LYRASIS has published three open source software case studies on FOSS4LIB.org as part of its continuation of support and services for libraries and other cultural heritage organizations interested in learning about, evaluating, adopting, and using open source software systems.
With support from a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, LYRASIS asked academic and public libraries to share their experiences with open source systems, such as content repositories, integrated library systems, and websites. Of the submitted proposals, LYRASIS selected three concepts for development into case studies from Crawford County Federated Library System (Koha), Fenway Libraries Online (Coral), and the University of Chicago Library (Kuali OLE). The three selected organizations then prepared narrative descriptions of their experience and learning, to provide models, advice, and ideas for others.
Each case study details how the organization handled the evaluation, selection, adoption, conversion, and implementation of the open source system. They also include the rationale for going with an open source solution. The case studies all provide valuable information and insights, including:
- Actual experiences, both good and bad
- Steps, decision points, and processes used in evaluation, selection, and implementation
- Factors that led to selection of an open source system
- Organization-wide involvement of and impact to staffs and patrons
- Useful tools created or applied to enhance the open source system and/or expand its functionality, usefulness, or benefit
- Plans for ongoing support and future enhancement
- Key takeaways from the process, including what worked well, what didn't work as planned, and what the organization might do differently in the future
The goal of freely offering these case studies to the public is to help cultural heritage organizations use firsthand experience with open source to inform their evaluation and decision-making process, the same objective of FOSS4LIB.org. While open source software is typically available at no cost, these case studies provide tangible examples of the associated costs, time, energy, commitment and resources required to effectively leverage open source software and participate in the community.
"These three organizations expertly outline the in-depth process of selecting and implementing open source software with insight, humor, candor and clarity. LYRASIS is honored to work with these organizations to share this invaluable information with the larger community," stated Kate Nevins, Executive Director of LYRASIS. "The case studies exemplify the importance of understanding the options and experiences necessary to fully utilize open source software solutions."