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Notes from LITA Open Source Systems Interest Group, ALA, January 25, 2014

Notes from LITA Open Source Systems Interest Group, ALA Midwinter, January 25, 2014


* Vicki Teal Lovely - SCLS; running LibLime Koha for 40+ libraries
* Rob Nunez - Marquette University - Emerging Technologies Librarian;
pushing OSS.  Has worked with LAMP, Koha, Wordpress, Drupal, etc.
* Mike Rylander - Equinox Software, service provider for Evergreen and Koha
Galen Charlton - Equinox Software, current release manager for Koha
* Bob Benhoff - LibLime Koha, Colorado Library Consortium
* Bill Jones - NYU - ILS librarian
* Eugene D. Hsue - Temple University Law Library

Charge of the IG
Current charge: "To encourage active participation in the open source
community through developing, adapting, improving and fixing open
source solutions for use in libraries. To promote the use of open
source in libraries through education, distribution, and creating
support structures to assist with appropriate implementation. To
advocate for the development of appropriate standards and policies
that are true to the spirit of the open source movement.”

The discussion touched on the question of getting numbers on usage of
open source systems by libraries.  Marshall Breeding's lib-web-cats
covers ILSs and discovery systems, but not sure if there is any
equivalent for digital repositories, link resolvers, ERMs, and so

One idea is that the OSS IG could act as clearinghouse for gathering
such information on usage.

Eugene raised a point and question about the degree to which libraries
get reputational benefits for contributions and active participation
in open source communities.  Broader publicity for such contributions
could be the start of a feedback mechanism.  Many library
technologists already get reputational kudos, but broadening this to
administrators may help (Galen suggested the example of two library
directors talking at an ALA conference, and one mentioning to the
other, "my library sponsored this cool, money-saving feature for our
open-source ILS")

There was discussion about the buzz surrounding open source seems to
be quieter nowadays.  Thoughts include:

* it's more mainstream
* it's past the early adopter phase, past bleeding edge
* some uses of open sources have been normalized: e.g., infrastructure
things like Linux, Drupal, and Apache.
* broadly speaking, FLOSS ILSs have achieved functional parity, so
decisions are more likely to be based purely on features and cost

There was discussion of possible programs for 2015.  Deadline for
proposals is August.  Consensus is that a panel on administrative
concerns (e.g., cost models, the sorts of staffing that are truly
required to run OSS, effective community involvement) would be a good
idea for a program. Advocacy has moved on -- it's more rare to have to
answer the question "what IS open source" -- but is still needed to
reach many library directors and/or IT departments concerned about
long-term sustainability and costing.

Recorded by Galen Charlton