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[ba-unrev-talk] Open Source & Librarianship

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From: Grant Bowman <grantbow@grantbow.com>
To: ba-unrev-talk@bootstrap.org
Subject: Open Source & Librarianship
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FYI,    (02)

-- Grant Bowman                                <grantbow@grantbow.com>    (03)

Frumkin, Jeremy, editor. [28]"Special Issue: Open Source Software"
   [29]Information Technology and Libraries 21(1) (March 2002)
   (http://www.lita.org/ital/ital2101.html). This special issue was
   reviewed briefly in the Volume 13, no. 4, April 2002 issue of Current
   Cites. The Open Systems Software (OSS) concept of sharing is so akin
   to the basic tenet of librarianship, that this reviewer thought a
   reprise look at the issue was merited. The three articles reviewed,
   available in full text on the LITA website, blend well, to give the
   reader a multifaceted view of the promise and the obstacles facing
   OSS initiative. David Bretthauer in [30]Open Source Software: A
   History  (http://www.lita.org/ital/2101_bretthauer.html) traces the
   philosophy of the Open Source movement. In 1984 Richard Stallman
   resigned from his position as a programmer at the MIT Artificial
   Intelligence Lab in order to pursue his vision, and remain unfettered
   by organizational constraints. He envisaged the development of "free
   software," and a programming environment which gave expression to
   essential freedoms: Programs could be used for any purpose, they
   be modified for any requirement, and the source code for the original
   or the modified versions would be freely distributed. Thus the only
   restriction was that the free availability of the code be maintained.
   It is important here to define the meaning of "free" in this context.
   Free means the freedom to use, develop, enhance, and distribute
   code. It does not imply gratis or no fee software. Open source code
   has proliferated, and yielded such important free software as Linux,
   Perl, Python, Apache web server, mSQL, MySQL, and Samba. Of note,
   article contains ample notes and references for those wishing further
   investigation. [31]Karen Coyle (http://www.kcoyle.net/) in [32]Open
   Source, Open Standards, (http://www.lita.org/ital/2101_coyle.html)
   brings OSS into the library context. Before OSS projects can achieve
   success, there must exist open standards permitting the
   interoperability of programs. It is interesting to note that the
   interoperability standard was that of the standardized catalog card,
   adopted by ALA in 1877. Key standards that followed were ANSI Z39.2,
   and the commonly accepted MARC. These now interconnect with
   non-library standards including Z39.50, Electronic Data Interchange
   (EDI), and hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP). There is evidence that
   standards successfully adopted define background technical functions,
   while allowing wide flexibility of presentation. Eric Lease Morgan in
   [33]Possibilities for Open Source Software in Libraries
   (http://www.lita.org/ital/2101_morgan.html) funnels the Open Source
   Software endeavours right down to the concerns of librarians. What do
   librarians want and need in order to realize the potential and
   of OSS. Librarians are people oriented, being primarily concerned
   collecting organizing, and disseminating information. The underlying
   code of the resource-sharing infrastructure is not high on the
   Librarians require a set of tools, packaged for easy installation and
   use. This could provide a niche for third party software aggregators,
   who could profit from the integration and packaging of OSS, all the
   while leaving the source code "free" to all. - [34]MG      (04)

         Current Cites 13(5) (May 2002) ISSN: 1060-2356
    Copyright B) 2002 by the Regents of the University of California All
                              rights reserved.      (05)

   Copying is permitted for noncommercial use by computerized bulletin
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   Libraries are authorized to add the journal to their collections at
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   requires permission from the editor. All product names are trademarks
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   address.      (06)