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[News] How Free Software Can Save Libraries

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Save the Libraries – With Open Source

,----[ Quote ]
| For some in the world of free software, libraries are things that you call, 
| rather than visit. But the places where books are stored – especially those 
| that make them freely available to the public – are important repositories of 
| the world's knowledge, of relevance to all. So coders too should care about 
| them alongside the other kind, and should be concerned that there is a threat 
| to their ability to provide ready access to knowledge they have created 
| themselves. The good news is that open source can save them.      
| [...]
| Unfettered access won't be the only way that users benefit. As has become 
| evident in recent years, releasing large quantities of primary data for free 
| allows all kinds of innovative secondary uses to be developed, some of which 
| can be exploited commercially – but without needing to close off the primary 
| materials, or charge for them. As a rich and diverse ecosystem arises, users 
| will gain new tools and capabilities that simply were not possible with a 
| locked-down database, and companies will gain a host of new business 
| opportunities.       
| What's striking about the current discussions swirling around the OCLC saga 
| is that they are being conducted in something of a vacuum, despite the fact 
| that open source has a rich store of relevant experience that librarians 
| could usefully refer to. The only problem is that little of it is to be found 
| in books.    



Polytechnic University Goes Live with Koha

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| LibLime, the leader in open-source solutions for libraries, and Polytechnic
| University announced today that the Bern Dibner Library has gone live with a
| Koha ZOOM hosted system.
| Bern Dibner's collection is hosted off-site at one of LibLime's secure data
| centers.
| [...]
| The Dibner Library staff looks forward to joining the open-source community
| because it embraces innovation and collaboration as a norm. They feel that
| the ability to have access to the "source" is long overdue. This is something
| proprietary systems do not offer. Implementing Koha will offer their library
| an exciting new option -they can now contribute to the development of new
| applications should they choose to do so.



Open Minds, Open Books, Open Source

,----[ Quote ]
| Meanwhile, the increasing availability of open-source software has nudged
| some libraries to reconsider the role of their in-house technology gurus, and
| to wonder whether it would make more long-term financial sense to hire more
| developers than to continue paying for products over which they have limited  
| control.  


Geauga County Public Library Chooses Koha

,----[ Quote ]
| "LibLime is making the move to open-source software a more secure
| proposition," explains Deborah O'Connor, Director of Geauga County Public
| Library. "With a firm such as Liblime to provide technical support, moving to
| open source will not require the library to have programmers in its
| Information Technology Department."    


Romanian public libraries to use Open Source

,----[ Quote ]
| The Open Source software for library automation IBLA, was developed over the
| last two years by a group of IT consultants working at the Military Technical
| Academy and Contact Net, a Romanian company. The developers Adina Riposan,
| Emil Mieilica and Iosif Biro hope the project will increase the use of Open
| Source software in the country.    
| The library project is financed by the Romanian and the Italian government,
| both countries wanting to develop an integrated public library system. The
| project was finished earlier this year.  


Howard County Library Chooses Koha

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| Howard County Library has been paving the way to open source for libraries
| since 2005 with their deployment of Linux and other open-source applications.
| Open-source applications are first choice for the Library, due to the
| robustness and flexibility of the development model.  


Linux at the Library?

,----[ Quote ]
| It is friendly and it is free and it is being used at the Geneva Public
| Library. Come and visit and see what all the fuss is about. I bet you will
| like it.  


How Open Source Software Can Improve Our Library

,----[ Quote ]
| Ubuntu - the most popular player in the Linux based operating system game.
| (Linux is the open-source answer to Microsoft's Windows operating system;
| Ubuntu is a modification of Linux). Ubuntu is a perfect solution for
| libraries who need to upgrade their older computers using outdated Windows or
| for bulk computer purchases requiring a new operating system.    


So This Penguin Walks Into The Library...

,----[ Quote ]
| I and a handful of volunteers from Lobby4Linux have been conducting Linux
| Labs for the better part of 2 years. During that time, I have stressed the
| point that the Austin Public Library will always have at least one distro
| available for checkout, should they ever find themselves in a pinch and not
| have a way to lay hands on one.    


Announcing the Open Library

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| Early this year, when I left my job at Wired Digital, I thought I could look
| forward to months of lounging around San Francisco, reading books on the
| beach and drinking fine champagne and eating foie gras. Then I got a phone
| call. Brewster Kahle of the Internet Archive was thinking of pursuing a
| project that I'd been trying to do literally for years.    
| [...]
| So today I'm extraordinarily proud to announce the Open Library project. Our
| goal is to build the world's greatest library,


Howard County Library Migrates to Open Source

,----[ Quote ]
| The Howard County Library in Columbia, Maryland has successfully
| deployed Groovix on 284 customer computers.  Groovix provides a
| Public Access computing software that turns any computer into a
| secure public workstation.  The Groovix desktop environment is
| based on Ubuntu Linux.
| [...]
| Because of their success, I have a feeling they may become the
| beacon light, guiding other libraries across the country on the
| same route.


Librarians stake their future on open source

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| It's written in C, JavaScript and Perl, is GPLed, runs on Linux with
| Apache, uses a PostgreSQL database, Jabber for messaging and XUL
| as client-side software. The system allows easy clustering and is
| based entirely on open protocols.


Ubuntu @ the Library

,----[ Quote ]
| I installed Ubuntu because I was fed up with all the different OSes
| on the library computers. It was easy, and a little fun.


Stow-Munroe Falls for Koha ZOOM

,----[ Quote ]
| LibLime announced today that the Stow-Munroe Falls Public Library
| in Stow Ohio, USA has just gone live with Koha ZOOM.
| [...]
| "Koha is a full-featured ILS that has plenty of flexibility since it's
| built on L.A.M.P. (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and Perl/PHP), the same
| platform used by many commercial web sites such as Yahoo!," says
| Darrell Ulm, systems administrator for Stow-Munroe Falls.


Libraries facilitate open access to information with open source software

,----[ Quote ]
| Today several companies worldwide have committed to supporting and
| developing open source software for libraries. They offer everything
| from hosting and installation to support and development services.
| With these new options, libraries don't need an IT staff to deploys
| oftware or steer development of new features. Here's an inside look
| at three libraries that are moving to open systems.


Driving Koha ZOOM: Crawford County Federated Library System poised to go live

,----[ Quote ]
| Using Koha ZOOM, CCFLS leverages their unique skills and resources to
| promote library technologies that truly evolve with the expectations
| of their staff and community. "Using canned software developed for a
| one size fits all world is no longer an effective solution," said
| Brice. "Open-source software allows libraries to take control of
| their technology. You will not necessarily save time or money
| implementing open source. However, what you gain is
| priceless: complete control."


Protest DRM at the Boston Public Library  

,----[ Quote ]
| the BPL [Boston Public Library] has launched a new service powered by a
| company called OverDrive. The system gives BPL patrons access to books,
| music, and movies online -- but only if they use a Microsoft DRM system.  
| There are lots of problems with the introduction of this system: it bars
| access to users of GNU/Linux and MacOS and creates a dependence on a single
| technology vendor for access. These are important issues, certainly. The
| worst problem, however, is much more fundamental.  
| By adopting a DRM system for library content, the BPL is giving OverDrive,
| copyright holders, and Microsoft the ability to decide what, when, and how
| its patrons can and cannot read, listen, and watch these parts of the BPL
| collection.  


Taxation without web presentation

,----[ Quote ]
| The Library of Congress recently signed a deal to accept 3 million dollars
| worth of "technology, services and funding" from Microsoft towards building a
| new website powered by Microsoft's Silverlight plug-in. I (Casey) usually
| leave the blogging to Tim, but I've got to say something about this.  
| [...]
| Most disturbingly, users are locked in, too: anybody using an iPhone, an old
| version of Windows, any version of Linux, or any other operating system or
| device not supported by Silverlight will be unable to use the Library of
| Congress' new website.  


2008 Annual General Meeting

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| Whereas the preservation of and long-term access to government information
| are vital in a democratic society;
| And whereas in order for libraries to fulfill their role of preserving and
| providing access to information, it is essential that governments and other
| public bodies take steps to ensure that future generations can access
| information created today;
| And whereas open, interoperable, vendor-neutral file format standards play a
| key role in ensuring preservation and future access;
| And whereas the OpenDocument Format (ODF) is such a standard;


Good bye, British Library

,----[ Quote ]
| This is an image from the good old days. Microsoft's Jean Paoli hands over
| the OOXML specification to Jan van den Beld, the general secretary of ECMA.
| And you find Adam Farquhar from the British Library, the bearded person on
| the right. The British Library was instrumental to legitimizing the whole
| ECMA and ISO OOXML standardisation process as an 'independent' participant in
| the committee work. ECMA did a brilliant job to mature the specification text
| to get it ISO fast-tracked. Or as the ISO BRM convenor and recent consultant
| for the British Library Alex Brown reflects1:
|     Ecma made the road very rocky though, by initially producing a text that
|     was so lousy with faults.


Ecma - a case study for vendor capture

,----[ Quote ]
| A small network of people of ECMA International dominated the whole ISO
| process around OOXML while technical experts of national ISO members were
| impeded by committee stuffing, rules bending and political intervention and
| the general restrictions of the revamped ISO/IEC fast-track process.  
| [...]
| On the right you find a picture of Jan van den Beld, back then general
| secretary of ECMA international who received the 2000 pages from Microsoft
| represented by its employee Jean Paoli (center). Jean Paoli is probably best
| known for taking the Microsoft credit for the standardization of XML. The
| other person with the beard is Adam Farquhar from the British Library, chair
| of ECMA TC 45. You also find the picture on the right in Adam Farquhar's May
| 07 presentation which advocates for OOXML.      


,----[ Quote ]
| And the company Griffin Brown, of which the BRM convenor Alex Brown is the
| director, sent out a press release 13 March 08 celebrating the 10th
| anniversary of XML:  
| "Recent moves by Microsoft to standardise its Office products around XML file
| formats merely confirms that most valuable business data in the future will
| be stored in XML. … Alex Brown is convenor of the ISO/IEC DIS 29500 Ballot
| Resolution Process, and has recently been elected to the panel to advise the
| British Library on how to handle digital submission of journal articles."    
| [PJ: A bit of background on the British Library here, but the short version
| is that it uses Microsoft, was a co-sponsor of having Ecma put what is now
| OOXML on the fast track, and says today it is "pleased".] - No OOXML  


British Library books go digital

,----[ Quote ]
| Digitised publications will be accessible in two ways -initially through
| Microsoft's Live Search Books and then via the Library's website.


Britain: E-Mail Time Capsule in Works

,----[ Quote ]
| Now the British Library is appealing to ordinary Britons for their
| e-mails, saying it wants to create a snapshot of British life in 2007.
| [...]
| The e-mails will be collated and indexed by Microsoft Corp., which
| has previously partnered with the library to digitize books from
| its archive, and they will be available to researchers before
| the year's end.


Vista and British Library put da Vinci online

,----[ Quote ]
| Microsoft and the British Library have digitised two of Leonardo da
| Vincis' notebooks.
| [...]
| The British Library has created an updated version of its application
| called "Turning the Pages" which allows people to browse parts of
| its 150 million piece collection via a web browser. We heard how
| this works better using Vista.


Publish And Perish

,----[ Quote ]
| Alexander Rose, the executive director of the futurist Long Now
| Foundation, worries about the impermanence of digital information.
| "If you save that computer for 100 years, will the electrical plugs
| look the same?" he asks. "The Mac or the PC--will they be around?
| If they are, what about the software? " So far there's no business
| case for digital preservation--in fact, for software makers like
| Microsoft, planned obsolescence is the plan.
| "The reality is that it's in companies' interest that software should
| become obsolete and that you should have to buy every upgrade,"
| Rose says. We could be on the cusp of a turning point, though, in the
| way businesses and their customers think about digital preservation.
| "Things will start to change when people start losing all of their personal
| photos," Rose said.

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