like Microsoft, fearing the potential threat to their bottom line, would
to see the end of open source software, which is not only freely available,
but allows those using it to make modifications and improvements to the
source code, then redistribute the new software. Open source software originated
with the Unix community and the GNU Project, and has been invigorated by
the incredible growth and popularity of the open source operating system,
But for libraries, open source software can stretch those shrinking
budgets and provide solutions to problems for which commercial software
products may not exist. Open source sofware perpetuates the library community's
tradition of sharing by harnessing the resources, creativity and capabilities
of a few and making them available to the community as a whole.
project, conceived by Dan
Chudnov of Yale University's Cushing/Whitney
Medical Library, serves as a clearinghouse for open source software for libraries.
Below is a sampling of the diversity of gems you'll find available as open
source software; these are all listed on Dan Chudnov's site, but you can
often find others mentioned or discussed at conferences - through poster sessions,
presentations, and networking. Many are licensed under the GNU
and - best of all - they're all free.
- Prospero functions as a complement to RLG's Ariel® software for interlibrary loan. Prospero captures scanned files - whether sent via Ariel®,
imported as TIFF files, or scanned directly into Propsero - converts them
to PDF format, and makes them available for pick up through a secure web
transaction. Developed by the Prior Health Sciences Library, Ohio State
- jake (Jointly Administered Knowledge Environment) tells you where you'll
find indexing and full-text of e-journals. jake also supports searching
against local holdings, and will create MARC records you can import into
your local catalog. Developed by the Cushing/Whitney Medical Library, Yale
University School of Medicine.
- yourTILT is the open source version of the award-winning Texas Information
Literacy Tutorial, a web-based, interactive tutorial designed for undergraduates
that focuses on fundamental skills. It is designed to be non-tool specific.
Developed by the University of Texas System Digital Library.
Advisor (DBA) uses the Z39.50 protocol to search several databases
at once using a single query, and returns the number of hits for each
database in a list. DBA tells the researcher which databases will return
the best results, and allows the searcher to repeat the search in a selected
database with a single click. Developed by the Sciences Libraries, University
of California, San Diego.
- MyLibrary allows your library users to create a personalized library page,
or portal. Developed at North Carolina State University Libraries.
- Greenstone allows you to build and organize digital collections for the
web or CD-ROM. It includes multilingual, multimedia, and Z39.50 support.
Developed by the New Zealand Digital Library, University of Waikato.
- There are a number of Z39.50 servers and clients available: Cheshire,
a joint project of the University of California, Berkeley and the University
of Liverpool; Knowledge Integration's java-based JZKit; the Simon Fraser
University Library Research Instrument (SLRI); Index Data's SimpleServer,
YAZ, and ZAP!;
and Zeta Perl.
- Java-based XMLMARC converts MARC records to XML. Developed by Lane Medical
Library, Stanford University Medical Center.
Published in NewBreed Librarian, volume 1, number 3, June 2001 -
(web links have been updated where applicable; expired
web links are shown in bold)