It seems to me, then, the place to start showing libraries that OSS is a way to help all libraries is to start with the library organizations. Do we have booths? Showing the wonders and joys as well as letting librarians and administrators know these things are ongoing developments may go far in “selling” the idea. Money people come to the conventions.
The only reason I found this list and even thought about looking was, my husband introduced me to Linux. I installed it on one of my HDs at home and it got me thinking about things I could do at work to make life easier. I did a web search and found oos4lib, but I wonder how many other people are like me, no clue that there’s a group working on OSS for & in libraries.
We need to SHOW people what OSS can do. We have to SHOW them why it makes more sense to go OSS rather than buying into a package deal that very well may not be supported in 1, 2, or 3 years, which will require a costly upgrade.
Once those people are convinced, they will be able to sell their moneymakers/moneyraisers on the idea. Publicity, exposure, articles written in library journals and electronic journals for libraries (I know some articles have been written because I found Daniel’s name that way) but we need to go more mainstream.
Open source hasn’t had too many “leaders” that I’ve seen as most of the people doing the programming/coding are very independent. But the OSS movement does have spokespersons. Perhaps an official oss4lib Spokesperson is what is needed.
Carol Erkens, Webmaster
Omaha Public Library
From: Peter Schlumpf [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Monday, May 21, 2001 11:52 PM
To: 'David Dorman '; 'firstname.lastname@example.org '
Subject: RE: [oss4lib-discuss] Open Source Software and Libraries
Like the hobbyists and their microcomputers in the 1970s, we are basically creating a disruptive technology (and methodology). Disruptive technologies generally take root and develop slowly at first, on the periphery of the marketplace, their true significance often misunderstood or go unnoticed altogether, even scorned, by the leaders until one day we
find these technologies have profoundly changed how we do things.
In the mean time, those of us creating and using this disruptive technology, OSS in and for libraries, will have to take upon ourselves the leadership role. We will have to set the example and show what is possible, one project at a time. If we are sufficiently motivated it is definitely possible for us to change the order of things.
I definitely agree with these thoughts, Peter. Per Karen's example though, for OSS not to become a "techno-fad", will take some doing. Obviously, many people still view OSS in libraries as a fad, no matter how many organizations endorse its use. In a way, I think its wrong though, to address OSS in libraries as a technology just awaiting acceptance. I don't believe there is a "mean time". The time is very much now, or never. Of course, I'm not suggesting you don't know this already Peter, since you do more than most for OSS in libraries
In terms of leadership though, I think it's important to not just address leadership individually at our respective institutions but also create a platform for others to see what we're doing. oss4lib and others are great for giving us a forum, but it isn't an adequate forum for showing non-geek librarians what's great about OSS and why they should jump in.
Sorry for howling into the night. I know I'm just rehashing a lot of these thoughts, but it seemed important to bring them up.