A total of 977 people from all over the world answered the survey. Table A1 shows the raw results used throughout this book (with only minor spelling corrections); you will note that not every question was answered by everyone.
|What type of library do you work in?||Total||%|
|Large public library||63||6.85|
|Medium public library||138||15.00|
|Small public library||80||8.70|
|One person library||10||1.09|
|I’m a student||16||1.74|
|I’m unemployed at the moment||5||0.54|
|I don’t work in a library (but I do work with libraries)||62||6.74|
Each question offered a field for further clarification; however, for the sake of space, not all full text answers are provided in this appendix. For complete full text results from the survey please refer to the official book website at http://opensource.web2learning.net.
|What country do you live/work in?||Total||%|
|What department do you work in? Check all that apply||Total||%|
|Please complete the following sentence. Open source is…||Total||%|
|Free of cost||356||36.44|
|Too hard to learn||47||4.81|
|Written by kids in their garage||18||1.84|
|Too new and unproven||39||3.99|
|The way all programs started||79||8.09|
|All I’ll use||64||6.55|
|Not worth my time||5||0.51|
|… I don’t know||52||5.32|
|Used in several fields including business, science and academia||492||50.36|
the only realistic option for me as I can’t afford software otherwise, but I don’t have funding to customize or obtain as much support as I would wish - but beggars can’t be choosers and at least it makes my service viable!
|What open source software do you use at home?||Total||%|
|Linux (Ubuntu or any other variation)||251||25.69|
When I purchased my computer, it came with IE and the Microsoft Professional Office suite. I’m comfortable using those products and not motivated to change although intellectually I support open source products.
I’ve been re-directed to OpenOffice, but I didn’t know anything about the reliability of open source applications. I will not incur any addition costs, and it was not clear who pays for OpenOffice. I don’t enjoy sitting at and looking at the computer, and I certainly am not interested enough to learn a new office-type application!
|Why are you using the applications above at home over proprietary options?||sTotal||%|
|It’s more cost effective||454||46.47|
|Works better than other options||523||53.53|
|Someone recommended it to me||208||21.29|
|It was the first thing I tried||38||3.89|
|I don’t know||9||0.92|
|What open source software do you use at work?||Total||%|
|Linux (Ubuntu or any other variation)||253||25.90|
For patron use, products like OpenOffice require extra steps to be compatible with MS Office, which is pervasive in schools and businesses (you have to know, or be told, to save documents in office formats in order to make them transferrable). ILS [integrated library system]: the systems just aren’t there yet, and require expertise that is not necessarily available to all libraries.
Because security is taken very serious (maybe too restrictive) and our former data processing center (Rechenzentrum) was outsourced and all the IT Service is now coming from an external service provider. The standard workplace is operated only with Windows and for every exception from the standard software you have to fill out an application and give an explanation… Just some months ago my Firefox browser was officially deleted from my desktop.
|Why are you using the applications above at work over proprietary options?||Total||%|
|It’s more cost effective||463||47.39|
|Works better than other options||521||53.33|
|Someone recommended it to me||166||16.99|
|It was the first thing I tried||25||2.56|
|Work makes me use it||95||9.72|
I have an admitted bias against open source software because it varies so much in its reliability. Sometimes open source is free, sometimes it’s the latest and greatest functionality, and sometimes people like to tweak it. I don’t care about those things - most importantly, I have a library and/or a business to operate, and reliability is by far the paramount issue.
I have been using open source applications for nearly 20 years. Some applications require a lot of local effort to customize and maintain, but most require no more effort than commercial software and many can be run right out of the box.
At OSU Libraries, we are in the middle of a website infrastructure change, mostly moving towards open source software. Some of the big ones we use: SilverStripe CMS, Symfony, PHP5, Framework Doctrine ORM for PHP5, Lighttpd web server, Shibboleth SSO and WordPress MU. Since all of these are open source, I am able to modify the source to fully integrate them. Hope this helps the survey!
Open source is a good idea but without someone or business working with it at a constant pace it’s not able to keep up with the evil MS corporation. It also needs to be marketed to the public and once that starts it takes money and then all of a sudden you have another corporate software company. Until that changes I don’t see how freeware will ever make it in the big time.
Currently evaluating Koha (no production use) and will be taking a look at Kete. DSpace is excellent - we have just put it into production use. The Koha and DSpace communities need to be friends. My goal someday is to switch all our staff client computers from Windows to Linux.
Managing risk is important, and using free/open source software gives organizations and individuals more control over their software and their data. Open standards are equally important, because they are one way of increasing the long-term viability of the data.
We use a combination of proprietary and open source software. We are a smaller library with only one programmer and one web designer so are limited in what we can do. As time goes on and the open source becomes more fully developed we will likely use it more.
Senayan Library Automation System (http://senayandiknas.go.id) is very useful for me and my library, I use it with my Ubuntu server.
Take care to research the history of the various free and open source software movements and distinguish between the various motivations for them. Free != open source != commons-licensed etc. I hope that’s not painfully obvious, but many journalists and researchers conflate distinct sets of ethics that belong to very distinct populations. That’s not helpful for anyone.
Open source is a really exciting new direction for libraries, and one I feel is ripe for rapid take-up. UK does seem to be lagging behind, but I am hoping once we have a ‘proof of concept’ with VuFind, then we can explore the next logical step, which is a full OSS LMS system, possibly Koha, more likely Evergreen.
Open source vs. closed source seems to be a false dichotomy. The pertinent questions are: is support available? Do we have developers on staff ready/able to extend the product if need be? How mature is the product? How active is the community? These ‘total cost of ownership’ considerations are the same between closed and open source. It’s also important to take open data standards into account. This is a larger issue than source control.
Our library seems willing to employ developers and use OSS for emerging applications (digital repositories, dig preservation), and in solid behind the scenes tasks (web servers, etc.), but when it comes to our ILS [integrated library system], I believe that only proprietary options are being considered. OSS does not fit existing tendering processes, and we don’t seem to be adopting new processes that would accommodate evaluation of open source and proprietary solutions to determine which solution offers best value. The University is also trying to move towards a common computing environment that will be Windows-based - a very shortsighted move. We should focus more on interoperability and less on dictating what systems staff and students should use. I think the licensing aspect puts many institutions off developing and releasing OSS. There isn’t much support available to help with this, although the OSS Watch group in the UK are now able to provide more guidance. JISC seem to be in favor of OSS, but I think they could do more to encourage UK HE and FE [higher education and further education] institutions to use it.
I recently attended a conference with Amy de Groff as a keynote speaker (talking about Ubuntu at her library) and presentations on open source ILS used in Indiana. Academic libraries in the state (KY) are looking at open- source ILS as possible replacement for Voyager, which is the current system used by state-supported higher education institutions.
I was lucky enough to take an open source software class at StudioXX in Montreal which is affordable and really believes in using OS over proprietary software. See http://www.studioxx.org/en/courses.
I believe that open source is an important movement, especially in academic publishing. I take no pleasure in computer use, nor in web browsing: I use PC and web at home because there is no other good way to get some things done. Personal privacy is important to me; I am not likely to download any applications, and I NEVER make purchases over internet. Feel free to contact me as the ‘reluctant user’.
Open source and windows are both here to stay. Neither will supplant the other. Business will usually stick with MS for the ready support. Open source will continue to grow as zero initial cost to the public. Many feel Bill has too much market share (read that as control and money). I feel he has earned it and provided a great public service with MS products. Open source is fine, free of cost except sometime much time is required in certain situations.
I love the idea of open source ILS software, but am very skeptical about its ability to provide all that we have now in support and functionality for the same or less money. I’m hopeful that this will not always be the case.
I predict this survey will have no truly surprising results of the sort that might require reconsideration of one or more of the hypotheses being tested. And a survey constructed merely to confirm one’s hypotheses (even if not explicitly intentionally so) falls into the category of ‘Lies, damn lines, and statistics’ in terms of its value to scholarly research.
We’re very interested in open source as an idea, but are also aware that it is never ‘free.’ We want to look for the best supportable/sustainable performance we can provide for our users, no matter whether it is open source or proprietary. All other things being equal, we would prefer open source.
Am interested in open source ILMS systems in the future. We are the only open computer lab on campus (Information Commons) and are interested in any software that saves our students and the library’s budget money.
We are in the early stages of understanding and using Drupal for our back end content management of the website. Yet to launch it’s still rather early to comment. I do like the customizing options with various modules. Think of an idea and there may be a module out there to use! Good community support both online and locally. Lots of libraries in our area are experimenting or will be using Drupal.
The Open Disc Project is great! http://www.theopendisc.com/.
I would love to use Koha and am trying to get to the point where we can, however there is no local support that knows Linux or Ubuntu and I myself do not know enough to run Ubuntu server. Cost is a huge factor for support, even if the software is free.
I love openoffice.org.
Sonoma State University, in Cotati California used OSS on some of their library computers many years ago. This included Linux, web browsers, and simple utility software. For some reason, they have returned to the proprietary software world. Too bad…
I have made suggestions about using open source options in MPOW [my place of work]. The suggestions have been met with almost instant refusal due to the ‘complications’ of installing and customizing along with ‘security issues.’ Psh.
I volunteer in a ca 12,000-volume gay- and lesbian- oriented library. We present use Winnebago Spectrum as our online catalog. The program is no longer supported by the company that owns the software, Follett. Upgrading to Follett’s current product, Destiny, would cost a minimum of $2,000, which we cannot afford. I desperately need to find software simply to do cataloging and circulation with; we have no acquisitions budget, so an ILS is unnecessary. It must run on the Windows platform. I’ve just discovered Koha, but have not had time to investigate.
I’ve been an advocate (though only briefly) for Linux in libraries. But my repeated finding is that software and hardware decisions are enmeshed with the parent institutions, which are slow or reluctant to change. Good luck, Nicole! I hope your book is able to persuade more libraries to go the open source route. It’s certainly in keeping with our missions.
Have a look at PMB, it’s very nice and flexible. See http://www.sigb.net.
I facilitate the New Services Committee. It was our committee’s recommendation to install GIMP.ORG on one media PC at all locations, if the branch manager wanted it. We do have a concern about no control over what the customer edits on the program. It was recommended because it is cost effective. We also provide a tutorial CD for each PC where the software is installed.
Open source is great although I was surprised how little I was actually using at home. I’ve only been into open source for about a year, so I still have a lot of stuff I use because, well, I’m familiar with it.
In Indonesia, there are a software that use in library, named Senayan, you can see it in http://senayan.diknas.ac.id/
Open source definitely has its place in the library and in other areas as well. Too often, people who would otherwise support the implementation of an open source solution are turned off by over zealous supporters who make claims for open source that are questionable. Like most things in life, there needs to be a balance between things that can reasonably be supported in an open source model and those things which really do require a commercial/proprietary solution. In many cases, which model to choose will change over the course of time and that’s the tricky part in making a decision between open source or not.
I’ve been following the netbook market a little bit because my father travels a lot and I think this is a market that will flourish with open source OS. Also, I use the Google phone that is powered by Android, which is an OS that they are trying to configure for netbooks. I thought Google’s video where they go into Times Square and ask people What is a Browser? was very telling… of course most people aren’t using Firefox, chrome or browsers other than IE… do they even know there are other options? As more people learn about open source products, more people will use them. I introduce a lot of patrons to OpenOffice and Firefox.
Good luck! Please don’t give up in this endeavor. Many libraries are looking for open source products to better utilize their OPACs. We do Not want to be forced into going with OCLC’s WorldCat.local… Thanks!
It should be noted I don’t think open source is always the necessarily the ‘best solution.’ There are times that proprietary software does have the best solution. However, frequently it hits that sweet spot of cost, controllability, and enough of the needed feature set. The trade off is figuring out the problem is often difficult (but usually can be solved, where with closed source you just have to walk away), things can be in a rough state, and depending on distro updates seem to have a higher level of risk than some other closed source. The list of open source software I use though is huge. Just thought of another, imagemagick. I suppose if you really want a list I can dump my packages, although that will not tell you some of the stuff I’ve compiled from source…
I would like to explore and use more open source applications at the library, but our director is not convinced there is enough support available. There is also a concern about the compatibility of MS Office 2007 with OpenOffice. As other libraries in Michigan move to Evergreen as a cost savings, I hope we also move in that direction as our current Sirsi/Dynix system is riddled with bugs and inconsistencies. As Evergreen has proven itself in GA and other states for many years as a stable and accurate system and I hope more libraries look toward open source software as a viable alternative to commercial system software.
Take a look at our open source search engine ‘Summa’ at http://www.statsbiblioteket.dk/summa. The right column offers some information in English.
The most difficult thing in the case of Koha: maintaining (upgrading) and keeping up with new releases is challenging. The other thing is the cost of supporting Koha that companies demand is very high. It is beyond our budget. There is no support for Koha in Africa. The nearest is India.
At work we usually work with MS Office, as most documents we receive are PDFs or MS Office documents. At work OpenOffice is not used so often. At home I only work with OpenOffice, this is ok as it does all I need. Internet Explorer unfortunately is used in our new library software; usually at work we use Firefox. OPUS is a software used for our publication server, MILESS does the same, it is used for special purposes.
I am a big supporter of open source software. Currently the university is involved with the OLE (Open Library environment) project for creating an open source ILS. I took part in the initial workshops for creating the system, however my job duties have changed and I am not as involved.
I’ve encouraged the use of open source software whenever possible. The cost of support is not overwhelming if you have a technically inclined person on hand. I find the use of Linux, Apache and PHP for a web server to be one of the easiest to maintain and set up.
I love the idea of open source. When it comes to library applications, we just don’t have the manpower - we have a half position devoted to systems, the person in it is by necessity a librarian first, techie second, and he doesn’t have the time to learn and support open source.
I would love to be able to use more open source solutions here at the library (and suggest them often to admin), but have been realizing that open source isn’t entirely free of cost – it requires staff time and money, which we are lacking.
Events, like budget shortfalls, usually force libraries into innovative behavior. Like accountants, library managers believe that anything free is not worth the price. No one ever got fired for buying ContentDM or Encore. The open source desktops have become as good or better than Windows, but few libraries try to reap savings by using KDE or Gnome or XFCE. General open source software can easily be tweaked or customized, but few librarians or IT support people have the skill sets needed to do it well. Specialist open source software for libraries will require a support component that is not free. Open source will not be accepted in libraries until their masters in state and local government begin to use and believe in open source, but, much like responsible health care policy, we have yet to accept any European innovations in the workplace.
Kuali is a financial interface for universities and is much cheaper than buying a commercial product like Banner. Your questionnaire seemed targeted toward personal uses of open source software rather than institutional applications.
At work we are moving more and more to open source, are changing to an open source helpdesk software, planning to try an open source discovery layer and are exploring the possibility of an open source ILS in the future.
Not sure why WordPress wasn’t listed as a home option. Also, might have better analysis later if you asked more demographic questions - size [of] library, area of the country, etc. - and also asked if the library, not the person, used OSS (e.g. Apache, etc.).
I don’t know what I’d do without portable open source software, since in-house restrictions prevent me from installing a lot of the software I need. I like to try out software first to see if it is really useful or not. If it is, I believe in contributing to the community, or donating monetarily, to help it continue.
I’m a Machead, but I recently purchased a netbook that came (unfortunately) preloaded with Windows XP. I’m running Ubuntu from removable media simply for the challenge of learning something new. I hope to become sufficiently competent/confident with Ubuntu so that I can reformat the netbook as an Ubuntu-only machine. Why? Because I really like their philosophy: that Ubuntu and open source software make technology, access, and information accessible to all users regardless of financial or physical situations.
Libraries underestimate the cost in personnel required to support open source. Any cost savings on purchase or maintenance is just shifted to personnel. This may not be true for a small rural library who has an younger, eager techie available. But I wonder what happens when he gets a family and needs more competitive pay and perhaps moves away. In our situation as large library in a large metropolitan area, our IT salaries have to compete with the big corporations. We can’t afford the knowledge we’d need to not have our ILS supported and developed by a whole vendor team.
Librarians are rarely ‘techy’ enough to consider open source without some kind of support. Many of us are in our 50s and barely had computers in college, so we are not willing to transfer our whole automation process to something we don’t understand.
Open source software is a wonderful way to give patrons ‘more’… more options, more services, etc. We installed Firefox on our public internet computers to give patrons a choice and OpenOffice in conjunction with Microsoft for the same reason. I use Firefox as my primary browser because of the customizations and flexibility and highly recommend it to anyone who listens! I would like to see more libraries adopt open source software, particularly those facing budget cuts.
Also see our website at http://meadvillelibrary.org/os for info from presentations we have made at a number of conference, articles I’ve written, etc.
I would love to use open source in place of Microsoft Office but it would take more staff time to convince the patron who are used to the MS products. (Majority have limited experience and change is hard for them.) I have tried Firefox on public computers but found it is not ideal for that environment. But it’s my own private browser of choice… so much better then IE.
Before committing to Drupal I looked at several alternative CMS [content management system] options: Joomla, Plone, and Alfresco. If you want to know about Plone in libraries I’d suggest checking with the folks at the Plinkit Collaborative [at] http://www.plinkit.org/(some of them also presented at a past Code4Lib so check the conference archives).
It’s been fun watching the open source movement explode and become mainstream in libraries over the past few years. Many open source programs have such thriving user communities that make constant improvements and updates to the programs, making them the best of their kind - ie - Firefox! It appears that ILSs are headed in this direction as well, and that should be very interesting to watch over the next few years!
We actually don’t have a library in our school and there are no plans to build one. I teach technology and feel that part of my job is to be a resource for teaching research skills, validating information as well as a gateway of sorts to information on the internet.
We are fortunate to have an extremely skilled and savvy network manager who installed Ubuntu on our network and customized Koha for us. As a small public library director, I would not have been able to make time to learn how to do these things myself.
We are currently converting to Koha, and I try to keep my knowledge up about open source by reading a number of blogs etc, so I am a dabbler, though a believer, in open source really. Koha is about to be our LMS for five of our seven libraries so we are learning fast.
Our library is part of a small state agency that swings wildly between software types. We have elections every four years resulting in a new administration and a different way of doing things. First, the head of IT was a huge Microsoft person. Actually did some development on cutting edge stuff with Microsoft themselves. The next head of IT was HUGELY open source. One of the first proponents of open source in government. Then, the pendulum swung back and we are once again a Microsoft shop, but we do as we are told and do not innovate or ask for anything. One bowl of Microsoft gruel is good enough for us. Good Luck!
The pay for support models created by proto-vendors arising from the increased use of FOSS will somehow morph into something all too familiar: the proprietary, company owned and developed, locked down, expensive to use…