“Free Beer” for Libraries?
- Getting Results with Open Source Solutions
SNRG 2011 @ FM
Michelle Suranofsky
Mark Canney
Lehigh University
Philosophy of “Free” or Open Source Software
“Free software” is a matter of liberty, not price. To
understand the concept, you should think of “free” as
in “free speech,” not as in “free beer.”
—Richard Stallman, Founder of the Free Software Movement
Philosophy of “Free” or Open Source Software
The Open Source Licensing Model (GNU.org)
defines four essential freedoms:
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The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).
The freedom to study how the program works, and change it to make it
do what you wish (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a
precondition for this.
The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor
(freedom 2).
The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others
(freedom 3). By doing this you can give the whole community a chance
to benefit from your changes. Access to the source code is a
precondition for this.
Values of Open Source
- Freedom
- Transparency
- Extensibility
- Collaboration
- Innovation
Strength in numbers!
Successes of Open Source
Operating Systems: Linux, Symbian, GNU Project,
NetBSD.
Servers: Apache, Tomcat, MediaWiki, Drupal,
WordPress, Eclipse, Moodle, Joomla
Programming Languages: Java, JavaScript, PHP,
Python, Ruby
Client software: Mozilla Firefox, Mozilla Thunderbird,
OpenOffice, Songbird, Audacity, 7-Zip
Digital Content: Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Project
Gutenberg
Viability of Open Source for Libraries
What are ‘hidden’ costs and considerations? Is
there really “Free Beer”?
-Infrastructure
-Development
-Support
The Lehigh experience with Open Source: A pragmatic
approach
Lehigh Libraries has taken a pragmatic path of
considering, on a case-by-case basis, feature-laden
OSS for various needs:
Discovery: VuFind
Connectivity: The eXtensible Catalog (XC) NCIP
toolkit
Web Presence: Drupal CMS
Open Source Discovery: VuFind
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Faceted results
Live Record Status
“More Like This”
Enriched Content
Browse for Resources
Organize: save and tag!
Social Features: Tag &
Comment
• Friendly URLS - items,
searches
Open Source Discovery: VuFind
• Very active user
community
• Proven Technology Examples of
implementation abound
• Level of Maturity
(code & the project mgt)
• SirsiDynix Development
Community
Open Source Discovery: VuFind Implementation
Customization Need: Configure Search Types
Open Source Discovery: VuFind Implementation
Customization Need: Combine serial & journal
items into one category
Open Source Discovery: VuFind Implementation
Customization Need: Dewey Decimal Enabling
Open Source Discovery:VuFind Implementation - Custom
Coding
Open Source Discovery: VuFind Implementation Custom Coding
Open Source Connectivity: The eXtensible Catalog
(XC) NCIP toolkit
The XC NCIP Toolkit allows clients to interact with an ILS for
authentication requests, live circulation status lookups, and
circulation requests. XC uses the NCIP standard protocol to
accomplish this.
Open Source Connectivity: The eXtensible Catalog
(XC) NCIP toolkit
NCIP Web Services implementation written in Java
Open Source Connectivity: The eXtensible Catalog
(XC) NCIP toolkit
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Lookup User
Check In Item
Check Out Item
Accept Item
Open Source Connectivity: The eXtensible Catalog
(XC) NCIP toolkit
The Code Has been open sourced...
Open Source Connectivity: The eXtensible Catalog
(XC) NCIP toolkit
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Active development community
Extremely responsive to my questions
Proven
Robust
Open Source Connectivity: NCIP Go-live
Open Source Web Presence: Drupal CMS
10,194 Modules
1,147 Themes
8,737 Developers
(as of 6/14/11)
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• web-based adminstration, updating
• user community is strong, vigorous
• modular and extensible (a slim powerful
core, extensible through custom modules)
• low resource (minimal, widely-available
server-side requirements)
• dynamic presentation of content
Open Source Web Presence: Drupal CMS
The Drupal Technology
Stack
The Drupal Aquarium
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Nodes - any piece of content
Taxonomies - used for categories,
organization
Views - use node attributes to build
presentation
Open Source Web Presence: Drupal CMS
Dynamic content with nodes, taxonomies, views:
Open Source Web Presence: Drupal CMS
The Lehigh experience with
Drupal:
• Costs: implementation woes,
steep learning curve, custom
coding
• Benefits: collaborative updating,
in-page editing, reusable nodes,
taxonomies, dynamic content,
social features, powerful modules,
integration with digital content ...
Outcomes: Discovery and Empowerment!
Open Source Web Presence: Drupal CMS
Brief Tour of our Drupal site ...
Open Source Web Presence: Drupal CMS
Where is the Drupal Community?
• Online and Local Groups:
groups.drupal.org
• Events and Meetups
• Chat (IRC): irc.freenode.net
• Planet Drupal: blog aggregator
• Forums: http://drupal.org/forum
• Mailing Lists
• Drupal4Libraries!
[email protected],
groups.drupal.org/libraries, drupal4lib
interest group (LITA), Drupallib:
http://drupalib.interoperating.info/
Conclusions about OSS: "Free Beer"?
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Landscape of OSS is rich, diverse and maturing
Philosophically a good fit for libraries
Key Benefit: Community, Collaboration!
Offsetting costs in terms of infrastructure,
development, support
Pragmatic approach may be best
Questions? Experiences to share?
"Stay thirsty my friends!"
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