Library attitudes and plans regarding Open Source and Web Services

Open Source

Open Source components are in wide use in libraries (e.g. Apache web servers underpin many OPACs) and more widely in HE.

However, no respondents thought that it was likely that they would adopt an Open Source LMS. Half thought such an adoption unlikely and nearly 20% had no interest in Open Source. One library commented ‘I think any product we went for would have to have a substantial user base which might be a worry with the new open source systems.’ Another said that Open Source was’ ‘not an institutionally favoured approach’.

This is not the case in North America where the last 18 months have witnessed a small but growing band of Open Source LMS installations and the growth of companies specifically aimed at supporting and developing Open Source applications in libraries . This growth of companies supporting a variety of LMS applications means that libraries do not necessarily have to devote their own staff resources to developing and supporting an Open Source LMS.

Web Services & Service Oriented Architecture

There is more engagement with Web Services and Service Oriented Architecture with nearly one quarter claiming they are engaged already in some form of Web Services development. Only a small number (3) said they were not interested in Web Services.

Significantly, there are now real products on offer to meet some of the interoperability needs of libraries, with vendors claiming Web Services / SOA as a key component of their offering to libraries.