03 March 2008

Open Source ILS

(I'm amazed that there has not been a great hallelujah raised because of this proposal. Or maybe the migration cobwebs around here are obscuring the cheers!?)

To the DLF [apologies for duplicates received on this or other lists]

The Duke University Libraries are preparing a proposal for the Mellon Foundation to convene the academic library community to design an open source Integrated Library System (ILS). We are not focused on developing an actual system at this stage, but rather blue-skying on the elements that academic libraries need in such a system and creating a blueprint. Right now, we are trying to spread the word about this project and find out if others are interested in the idea.

We feel that software companies have not designed Integrated Library Systems that meet the needs of academic libraries, and we don’t think those companies are likely to meet libraries’ needs in the future by making incremental changes to their products. Consequently, academic libraries are devoting significant time and resources to try to overcome the inadequacies of the expensive ILS products they have purchased. Frustrated with current systems, library users are abandoning the ILS and thereby giving up access to the high quality scholarly resources libraries make available.

Our project would define an ILS centered on meeting the needs of modern academic libraries and their users in a way that is open, flexible, and modifiable as needs change. The design document would provide a template to inform open source ILS development efforts, to guide future ILS implementations, and to influence current ILS vendor products. We would use the grant to fund a series of planning meetings, with broad participation in some of those meetings and a smaller, core group of schools developing the actual design requirements document.

At this stage, we're seeking feedback on our ideas and finding out who might be interested in participating, prior to our formal submission of the proposal to the Mellon Foundation in early March. We would greatly appreciate your responses to the following questions.

1) Does designing an open source ILS seem like something worth exploring for academic libraries?

2) Given the information above about the proposed project, is your institution interested in:

-- staying informed of our progress?

-- contributing time and effort to the planning process, even if only through the first or second workshops?

-- possibly being one of the core schools that participates throughout the full planning and writing process

3) If you have any initial feedback on our ideas, we would love to hear it!

**Please email us at openlib@duke.edu**

Thank you for your interest and considering this opportunity to work with us on this project. If your answer is yes to number two above, we will be contacting you to further explore participation. **Please send your reply to openlib@duke.edu**

Jean Ferguson
Reference Librarian, Coordinator of Virtual Reference
Duke University
Perkins Library, Box 90175
Durham, NC 27708

Save Time. Ask a Librarian.

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