I've been hesitating to jump in. You already have so much. But I think a little theory and background on Open Source would be useful too:

Open Sources: Voices from the Open Source Revolution

I especially like the first chapter "For Want of a Printer" in:
Free as in Freedom: Richard Stallman's Crusade for Free Software

I very much like the tone this sets. I have bought the first, and will buy the second - likely because they are available online.

Chapter 11 over the tension between OS and GNU is interesting too.

Despite the best efforts of Stallman and other hackers to remind people that the word "free" in free software stood for freedom and not price, the message still wasn't getting through. Most business executives, upon hearing the term for the first time, interpreted the word as synonymous with "zero cost," tuning out any follow up messages in short order. Until hackers found a way to get past this cognitive dissonance, the free software movement faced an uphill climb, even after Netscape.

Stallman essentially refuses to allow GNU to have any connection with any commercial product. That is where GNU & OS part in thinking. OS can include commercial libraries. Open Word, for example, can export to and import from MS-Word. GNU says this is sacrilege.

See also www.GNU.Org and www.OpenSource.org - of course.


Heather Yager wrote:

Wow, what a wonderful agglomeration of information and ideas to
process... I guess that makes sense from a group of library/techies :)

Thank you, thank you.  Reading all of this (in small bites, while
taking many notes) is definitely making the field of library/info
science a bit clearer, and I feel much more comfortable with the
studies I've undertaken so far (in terms of their relevance).   It is
delightful to read good advice from people who love what they do.

As for what direction I intend to go, I am feeling an affinity towards
systems, digital collection and organization of data, with some tech
writing mixed in.    Coming from a completely non-technical
background, I am very interested in the idea of elucidating technical
concepts for those brought up to see the computer as a "black box."

And more... what of public libraries?   Are they open to implementing
open source software?   I've seen it happening more in public schools
but I don't know much about the state of libraries, except that the
Multnomah County Library is a busy, busy place, and they love

Thanks again for help and advice,
Heather Y.


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see also http://oss4lib.org/

John Taylor-Johnston
"If it's not open-source, it's Murphy's Law."

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