Open Source Systems IG meeting – ALA Midwinter

Open Source Systems Interest Group meeting
Sunday, January 21, 2007, 4-6pm

The group reviewed the list of programs planned for Annual in DC

Evergreen, the Georgia PINES consortium’s open ILS program
Automating metadata creation with open source software. Patrick Yott from Brown.
The next-generation public library website with Drupal. John Blyberg from the Ann Arbor District Library.
Sakai collaboration and learning environment. Joseph Harden from the University of Michigan.
A preconference on using Dotproject for project management, rescheduled because of Katrina.

Jennifer Bowen from the University of Rochester reported on the status of the Extensible Catalog project (XC) and the grant associated with it.

The idea is to create an open source user interface for library catalogs which would work with the library’s ILS system rather than replacing it. The Mellon Foundation grant for 2006-2007 was designed to allow the group to create a project plan, determine requirements, plan the architecture, and explore currently available technologies. The group is developing partnerships with other libraries to create a community of support, with the idea of getting early adopters using each major ILS system–and there is lots of interest in this. There should be news about the renewal of the grant for the next phase by Annual.

There is a working prototype with a faceted browsing interface built on lucene, which the developers have begged her to stop demonstrating.

There was some discussion of creating a Linux distribution with a library focus, and how that might be done. One suggestion was rPath’s rBuilder, which allows you to select packages and create a customized operating system based on Linux. Simon Spero from UNC-Chapel Hill and iBiblio said that hosting, and possibly some processing power, would be available to do that.

Spero also discussed his Fred 2.0 (PDF description) project to harvest Library of Congress authority records, a little about his methods, and a good deal about the legalities involved. There was a collective groan of recognition when he described the difficulty of getting an Innovative catalog to export records in a form he could use. The data will be used for research, but also to provide an authority file to match social networking tags against. This prompted a lively discussion about how it might be useful to others as well.

One of the traditions of the IG is a trip around the room to discuss what kinds of open source attendees are using.

Michigan State is using Drupal as an intranet, as is Washington State; UNC-Chapel Hill is a LAMP shop for web services, using Joomla and other OS stuff, as well as running iBiblio, a major repository for Linux and open data of all types; the University of Washington is exploring the idea of open source for desktop computers; American University is using Dotproject, Greenstone, and an open source tech support referral system; Eastern Illinois University is using the Prospero document delivery system; the University of Hawaii is using Plone for an intranet; the State Library of Washington is using WordPress; the Private Academic Library Network of Indiana runs its help desk on Drupal.

–Chris Strauber, co-chair

One comment

  1. Keith Casey


    I’m a core dotProject contributor and happen to be based just outside Washington, DC. Could you give me any hints and/or put me in contact with the people using dotProject at AU or teaching the workshop at the conference? I’d love to hear how they’re using dotProject and what they think of it in terms of strengths and weaknesses. Thanks.

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