At 11:51 PM 5/21/01 -0500, Peter Schlumpf wrote:
 I would say that we have a lot of
bootstrapping work to do, especially in light of the fact that libraries
are, as organisations, conservative.

That libraries are conservative as institutions is not in itself a bad thing. I have great admiration for the fact that libraries make long-range choices. It is because of those choices that the world has access to works hundreds of years old as well as some of the latest and greatest electronic materials.

For open source to succeed in libraries it has to acknowledge that the mission of libraries will outlive any technology that we come up with today. Libraries have to be cautious of techno-fads that will threaten their ability to provide access in the future (aren't you glad we didn't put everything on microfiche in the '70's, when technologists were telling us that was the way to go?).

What this mean to me, in relation to open source, is: standards, standards, standards. The more we support standards, the more useful the software will be. And the standards that we develop need to be "transformative" -- that means that they must support current and future technologies.

In a sense, I see an inherent tension between libraries and technology, but it's a legitimate and useful tension.

Karen Coyle
California Digital Library