It's Trend Time Again

With my mind distracted by a new job, I feel my trends are a bit watery. However, a few readers have vastly improved what I will bring to the table, and I encourage you to keep putting lipstick on my piglet.

The one trend of mine I would underscore is the fledgling emergence of the open-source ILS, which is part of an interesting emergent trend of OSS for libraries–at last.

Most of us are aware that open source software is more like “free kittens” than “free beer.” It still needs to be maintained and updated, and I grit my teeth whenever a substandard, time-sink OSS product is explained away by someone saying, “But it’s free.” My time isn’t free, and my users’ time isn’t free, either.

But an open-source ILS has the potential of being the Apache of library software: the common-sense choice, maintained by a vast community.

In fact, thinking about Sarah’s post, I can see a world where the remaining ILS products are OCLC (for libraries that do not have the resources or need to maintain software) and an open-source ILS for nearly everyone else.

One comment

  1. Tom Wilson

    From a former trendster:

    I’d like to suggest that we should abandon the term “integrated library system.” Like in other areas of life, what we call things and how we talk about them have a huge impact on our ability to reconceptualize them. The ILS, I believe, has too much bagage associated with it to allow us effectively to move beyond it.

    Many of us, like Sarah, have been talking about the option of using OCLC, in particular Open WorldCat, as a replacement for a local OPAC, but how many of us have made any progress in getting our organizations to make this happen? How many of us have actually had discussions or, better yet, performed user testing with our constituents to determine what might work for them?


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