Instant Ideas and Collaboration

Summary – 24th July 2012 – Open Source and Open License Content

On 24th July, #uklibchat’s discussed Open Source and Open License Content.

Read on to find out more…

A thank-you to all the participants. We sometimes alter and combine tweets for the sake of flow, but endeavour to accurately reflect the views expressed. The searchable twitter archives for #uklibchat contains the actual tweets.

Please note – Adrienne moderated this chat but Sarah and Ka-Ming have summarised it, so we would particularly welcome comments and corrections! 

Q1 Does your library use open source software?

  • Not for major systems (e.g. LMS/ILS) but a lot of the bespoke glue between those systems uses OS software … but we are evaluating VuFind as a replacement OPAC. For major systems like an LMS/ILS, I think you need serious buy-in and support from library director & staff to be successful.  Many libs have had their LMS/ILS for 10+ years, so it’s deeply embedded in the workflows & psyche of staff @daveyp
    • Yes -need to start with considering what we are here for (e.g. enabling learning & research) & how technology can enable @lizjolly
    • Depends, I think. The tech can be outsourced to service provider; the library retains benefit/responsibility of community #uklibchat @DataG
    • It’s the cultural shift required (rather than the tech) I’m thinking about. ..and same cultural shift is needed if the next gen of (non-OS) LMS replacements (Intota, Alma, etc) are going to succeed @DaveyP
    • This is spot on, easy to imagine a traditional-style OSS LMS having an easier time than a nextgen system @preater
    • Agreed. OSS adoption done right (IMHO) means that the library actively participates rather than passively receives @DataG
  • Pretty much Open Office for now. This has proved quite beneficial in the rural community. @SHelmick
  • I was giving a webinar on open source recently. At the start I asked what percent of libraries used open source; it was 50%. When I reminded them about Firefox and Chrome and WordPress and Drupal and Apache and Linux it jumped from 50% to 90% @DataG
    • ah, interesting! It’s easy to forget how mainstream #opensource is @uklibchat
    • Good point! Keep forgetting that E-prints is OS 😀
    • Agreed, #opensource is everywhere including being sold to you in library vendor’s systems. 🙂 @preater
  • Yes, we use koha in HaltonPublic Libraries! @afeitar
    • How were the results? @rugabela
    • What would you say the main benefits are for your users? @lizjolly
    • It has improved the online services, eg we send email notifications, etc, but it has had difficulties too @afeitar
    • We’ve had Koha as our LMS for 18 months and I’d say it’s settled in quite well. First few 3-6 months were hard though! @afeitar
    • Trickle down $ advantages. I appreciate how #opensource prepares users/staff for updates/adapts @SHelmick
  • We rely on the usual open source software behind the scenes, but so far no major OSS implementation (e.g. the LMS; discovery). @preater
  • Dare I mention Shibboleth as a widely adopted piece of open source software in libraries? @nicoleharris
  • LMS now part of discovery landscape should also be seen as part of creative landscape – rhizomatic learning? @DaveParkes
  • I wrote a blog post which may be of interest: “Open-licensing your images. What it means and how to do it”: http://t.co/1yM7hE01 @pigsonthewing
  • Libs using open source LMS +other stuff -HE SCONUL’s HELibTech http://t.co/dOuY0mgP publics http://t.co/nNx5tabc @kenchad
  • University of Staffordshire were (I think & correct me if I’m wrong!) 1st HE library in the UK to move to an OS LMS @daveyp
  • As far as I’m aware, Staffordshire are still the only UK HE library to use open source for their LMS @joeyanne
  • Yes, Staffs still the only one – but NHS & research are growing. LMS part of info landscape-  not just discovery but part of creative and remix @daveparkes

Q2 What is the most popular #opensource software in libraries?

  • Popluar OSS in libraries? For *major* systems probably Institutional Repositories (Eprints etc) -almost all are OSS? @kenchad
    • I think you’re right. Content repositories are where there is not penetration of commercial options (with notable exceptions) @DataG
    • Not exactly libraries but Moodle VLE seems strong @kenchad

Q3 Do you have any experience implementing open-source software? If so, what were the pros and cons?

  • As a developer, OS software is much more hackable and it’s easier to add in extra functionality @DaveyP
  • Open Source software is really about spending money in a different way, not especially cheaper … @edchamberlain

Q.4  Do you think that open-source software can replace commercial licensed software?

  • There needs to be a variety of support models (commercial and community) available and a shift in procurement processes but yes. @nicoleharris
  • Think this is most interesting if we consider ‘big’ systems like an OSS LMS, cos there’s no doubt OSS is already pervasive… @preater
  • For the LMS etc. I reckon this is a question of business model (how to support the system) than development model (OSS vs closed). @preater
    • yes, at least in UK HE…along with all those other cultural change issues @liz_jolly
    • It does come down to a change in culture — one that I think is more aggressive in taking control of its own destiny @DataG
  • Commercially produced software usually has the advantage of big capital investment, so it is easier to do big things @DataG
  • There is an important distinction to remember between commercially supported OSS and commercially licensed proprietary systems @DataG
  • Always be a mixed economy – OSS and commercially produced landscape – we all use google 1st! Analogy with gold and green in OA? @daveparkes

 Q.5 Do you know of any successful experiences/projects involving open-source software?

  • Maybe worth mentioning that some commerical solutions are built on top of OS code – e.g. Summon built on top of OS Solr/Lucene @daveyp

Q.6 Do you know of any unsuccessful experiences/projects involving open-source software?

  • Kaywa and Open Office develop to meet the needs of creators more than users. Many updates without much benefit.@SHelmick

Q.7 Is open-source software better than the commercial ones? Are they worse?

  • OSS definitely rivals commercial software and can be better – easier to customise – but have to be choosy @amycrossmenzies
  •  I believe so. Very open to feedback and adaptation @Shelmick
  • In general, I’d say “yes”. I feel the key thing is to have open systems & OS normally more open than commercial lib products @daveyp

Q8 What are the main advantages and disadvantages of running open-source software in libraries?

  • No answers to this, but it is covered to some degree in the answers to other questions (Ed)

Q.9 Have you contributed to open source software? Or open licence resources e.g. Wikipedia?

  • Depends what you mean, but I’ve written open source s/w and written extensions to open source products @ostephens
  •  We’ve released library usage data sets with an open license http://t.co/1GXcmK1w @daveyp
  •  Released large amounts of data under and open license and tools to publish and manipulate it http://t.co/hDEmieEV @edchamberlain
  • Yes – all LIS/HE related – quite a few bits on http://t.co/vinPsm8P @ostephens

Q.10 If you could develop any piece of free software for your collection (or any other), what would it be?

  • Moodle and WP plugins (latter to grab library account data into WP) @ostephens

Other questions asked

Do you think OSS is still primarily creator, rather than user, focussed?

  • Not so much as well meaning developers @SHelmick

Do we have to pay for OSS software? Or Are all OSS free of charge? @rugabela

  • There’s nothing to stop a company selling OSS, or more likely, selling support for OSS e.g.http://t.co/sRCwxQbx@daveyp
  •  Not all OSS is free but there’s a lot more choice and can usually get a similar thing free @amycrossmenzies
  • We pay for hosting and development small charge – no licence @daveparkes

Do you know WEBLIS developed by UNESCO? http://t.co/g1KzvguI @rugabela

  • @rugabela I’ve heard of ISIS, which I think is/was the most widely implemented ILS/LMS in the world? @daveyp
  •  WEBLIS is based on CD/ISIS. There was a free database software known as CD/ISIS @rugabela
  • CD/ISIS was implemented in small libraries/documentation centres in Spain. It was quite popular in mass media. But I’ve never worked with it. @rugabela
  • I did some practice with it on a course and I didn’t like it. Found it rather strange and a bit complicated @rugabela

Does anyone have comparison of benefits of open source lms over others? @imrana_g

  • It’s an appalling example (since most of it was bullsh*t), but http://t.co/KTXuXQgw came to mind! 😀 … well worth reading, if only to peek into the collective mind of a commercial company threatened by Koha/Evergreen @daveyp

Other points made

  • Open source is rhizomatic in sense part of the ecology -part of roots and shoots that allow the plant to propagate itself,creativelearning tool @daveparkes
    • @daveparkes Yes. Teach how to think/create vs. what to think/create.@shelmick
  • ‘Hype cycle’ proprietary software hits a wall where owner relies on lock-in. OSS goes through the wall if the community is strong @c3iq

About Ka-Ming

Librarian at a University in London and one of the founding members of uklibchat.wordpress.com Find me @agentk23

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This entry was posted on October 15, 2012 by in Discussion Summaries and tagged .


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