The State of Open Source in the Integrated Library Systems Market

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Commercial, closed source solutions dominate the Integrated Library System (ILS) market, with open source (OS) ILSs serving less than three percent of the total (Breeding, 2007b; Public Libraries in United States). There may be a natural affinity between the mission of libraries and the principles of OS: Dorman identifies “commitment to cooperation, open standards, and common communication protocols” as values shared by libraries and the OS community (2004). Many libraries have used examples of open source (OS) software for years, in the form of operating systems and server applications (like Linux and Apache), or the popular Firefox web browser. OS ILSs, though, have been slow to make inroads to the library market but there are indications that the OS model’s share of the market is growing.

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Impact(s) of Technology on Service in the Public Library: An Annotated Bibliography

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Aabo, S. (2005). The role and value of public libraries in the age of digital technologies. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 37(4), 205-211.

In this examination of the usage, roles, and value of public libraries in the digital age, the author asserts that technology has fragmented society, isolating citizens from their community, and that libraries serve as accessible arenas that foster democracy, social cohesion, and community involvement. Other authors briefly address this indirect effect of technology on public library service but no other source rivals the detail Aabo devotes to the topic. Aabo also addresses direct changes in service, echoing the finding of other researchers that public libraries act as gateways by providing access to the Internet and assisting in its use, thereby narrowing the digital divide. Aabo suggests these effects of technology are extensions of traditional library services and delivers the conservative conclusion that the public libraries’ roles of promoting democracy, disseminating and providing access to information, providing worthwhile leisure activities, and acting “as a communal institution and a social meeting place” have been unaffected by technological advances.

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