FOSS – A Boon for Information and Library science technology

Glee to use Foss :
G T RaoThe fundamental difference between the movements is in their values, their ways of looking at the world, for the open source movement , the issue of whether software should open source is a practical question, not an ethical one. As one person put it “ open source is a development methodology, free software is social movement “ for the open source movement, non-free software is a suboptimal solution. For the free software movement, non-free software is social problem and free software is the solution.Today the young generation is facing challenging times, While many new opportunities are opening for employment, they also need new skills and Knowledge.Free and open source software (FOSS) is now an indispensable part of every organization, ranging from infrastructure software to end-user applications, passing through a myriad of developer tools. Furthermore, the free software movement led to innovations in software licensing, economic models, communication and collaboration processes, among other areas, which have been driving FOSS research in both computer science and social sciences. Open source software is not something to be afraid of!
It’s software that you can modify, fix, add to, and distribute to others. Benefits are numerous, including having the ability to create good software that works for you and your library, all while paying a fraction of the cost that you might spend on proprietary software.
How Open Source Software Can Improve Our Library :
Remember a time when doing research required us to have to go to the library? Our school had one, and that’s probably we spent most of library time. If it wasn’t our school, then it was probably our local town or city library. Some of these libraries may have been tiny little holes in the wall with just a few thousand books while others were huge university libraries with of books, magazines, newspapers, cd/dvd and more. The depth a library can have can range greatly; it all depends on how much money that library gets in funding.
The big college libraries obviously get the most due to the fact that they are part of an actual business model that produces a significant amount of money. Public libraries on the other hand only get what the government gives them, which in smaller municipalities can be very little.
Organizing Libraries :
For many libraries, organizing books and other media can be a daunting task, especially as the library grows with more material. Years ago we had card catalog system that kept things organized, but were difficult to maintain. With today’s computing technology, organizing our libraries has never been easier or more efficient. Gone is the card catalog and in some libraries, it’s much easier to locate a book through an internet connection and picking it up upon your arrival, rather then wasting the time scouring the aisles looking for your next read. Now just because the world has been blessed with wonderful software solutions that make everything easier to do, doesn’t mean that every library in the universe is using these solutions. As noted above, many libraries do not have huge amounts of money and any that they do get usually goes to purchasing additional resources for you to have at your disposal (think about how many books get printed in
a year). Because of this need for software (and the installation and training costs associated with any), and the lack of money available to spend on it, many libraries are left to fend for themselves when it comes to staying up-to-date with the latest technology. Unless, of course, they embrace the open source movement and use some of the countless software solutions available to help out.
Basic Computer Programs :
Debian : based Ubuntu/linuxmint or other linux distributios : The most popular player in the Linux-based operating system . Ubuntu is a perfect solution for libraries who need to upgrade their older computers using outdated Windows or for bulk computer purchases requiring a new operating system. Many libraries feature computers for users to gain access to the internet, and that being the only function those computers serve.
Why pay for all the unwanted things on Windows when you just need to get online? You might be a little scared at first of a new operating system, but just like anything else, the hardest part is getting started. Plus, there’s plenty of Ubuntu installation help out there to give you a hand.
Firefox: So, you’ve installed Ubuntu and are ready to continue a Microsoft-free lifestyle. What next? One of the first things you’ll notice is that you have a new browser to surf the web with. Firefox offers a much more secure browsing experience compared to IE . The biggest draw, however, is the modifications that can be made to Firefox through its many plug-ins, which can make using the net more constructive.
Libre Office: Another component you’ll find bundled with your Ubuntu operating system is a software package known as Libre office Does “office” sound familiar? Of course is does; you’ve probably used Microsoft’s Office products many times before, including the industry standard “Word”, “Excel” and “PowerPoint” programs. Well guess what? LIbre Office can do the same thing.
Thunderbird: Firefox’s little brother program, Thunderbird, is the Mozilla foundations open-source alternative to Microsoft’s Outlook Express.


Designe Programs
GIMP: Is the GNU Image Manipulation Program for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring.GIMP is for you!we’re going with GIMP, a Photoshop alternative.
INKSCAPE: A powerful, free design tool Whether you are an illustrator, designer, web designer or just someone who needs to create some vector imagery, Inkscape is for you! we’re going with Inkscape, a Coreldraw alternative.
AUDACITY: Audacity is cross-platform software for recording and editing sounds. For those looking to get a little more creative in the library, you’ll want to make sure that you can record and edit audio;
AVIDEMUX: A video editing software program for users to edit together online video. Avidemux can take care of simple cutting, filtering, and encoding tasks, and work in a variety of file formats. It’s not going to produce any elaborate visual effects for you, but it’ll take care of the simple ones and would be a great addition to a library’s catalog of resources.
Web Publishing
WordPress : started out as a quick, free, open-source solution blogging solution just a few years ago; today it is a perfect alternative to building a web site from scratch. In addition to being free to use (and easy to install), the WordPress community has exploded, with thousands of users and programmers creating custom themes and plug-ins to completely change the way the software looks and operates.
Drupal : Is another open source web publishing option that some libraries may want to consider using. One of the most important aspects of any library is its community, and that’s where the technology behind Drupal might come in to play a little better. Many have used the software to build rich community based web sites where many different users can control a large amount of content.
MediaWiki : Is the original software that powered the famous Wikipedia, which basically allows users to create and edit information from a very simple to use text interface. Another open source wiki platform is TWiki, a flexible and powerful enterprise wiki that is perfect for project management. These wiki solutions can be used as alternatives to the web publishing methods.
So, it seem that there are some very powerful solutions available today that could be used to create a much more resourceful library, whether it’s a large college or state financed operation, or a local community library that before probably didn’t do much for that community in the technology department. By using open source software in the library, money that otherwise would be spent on software solutions can be used for other important resources, such as purchasing additional media resources (books, magazines, dvds), or can be used to hire educated, technical support that provides patrons with the know how to better use already existing resources. In addition, this free software is constantly being updated, changed, and customized to meet the library’s needs.
While all of this is fine and hdandy, and sounds like the win-win solution for your library, there are still pitfalls and hurdles we’ll need to over come. Hopefully this article provides some introductory information as to how to your library off of traditional computing products and dive into the pool of open source resources available today. Many libraries are fully integrated into Microsoft products like Outlook Exchange and have invested a lot of time and money to make these systems work efficiently. Other problems involve the installation, maintenance, and training costs associated with adapting to open source software, as it can be at times difficult to understand at first (mostly because of our dependence on Windows based products);
usability is an issue that is being addressed by the open source community daily who is working hard to make these free products easier for all to use and maintain. As with any form of technology, many usually fear what they are not used to and do not understand.
Hopefully, as the word gets out and more of our peers and fellow educators use and promote the open source movement, we will all will embrace and become more comfortable using these open source solutions, and in the future be responsible for contributing and and becoming part of the open source movement.
So, I covered some of the basic and advanced programs that traditionally, would set a library back in terms of finances. By running the above free open sources programs, a library could offer plenty of software resources to it’s patrons that if could afford to do in the past. While these programs are free, some of them (especially the photo, audio, and video programs) may be difficult for the first time or novice user to grasp. It will be up to the librarians and staff to educate themselves in order to provide their patrons with the knowhow to get the most out of these programs (thus providing the greatest resource a library can offer – assistance in retrieving and properly using available tools and information).
In addition to these tools being helpful to a library’s patrons, they are obviously very important to the operations of a library as well, and it will benefit each employee to use the same open source programs for library operations as to educate the employee of the ins and outs of each software program, so that knowledge can then be shared with a patron should a question or problem ever arise. But what of the other computing needs of the library? Obviously we still have some other very important organizing and cataloging needs as we addressed earlier. In addition, a library needs to have a strong online presence and offer their knowledge and support through the internet in order to really provide a resource. Thankfully, there are open source solutions for the library to take advantage in these departments as well.
“Check out my Favorite” Tools for Libraries.
Greenstone : Greenstone is a suite of open-source software for building and distributing digital library collections.
OpenBiblio : OpenBiblio is an open-source ILS containing OPAC, circulation, cataloging, and staff administration functionality.
Koha : Koha is an open source integrated library system using an OPAC interface.
Evergreen : Evergreen is an open source integrated library system (ILS) designed by the Georgia PINES consortium and used in over 544 libraries of all types, worldwide. Used to help managae, catalog, and circulate materials
DSpace :Incorporates a digital asset management system and helps to create, index and retrieve various forms of digital contents. DSpace is adaptable to various needs of Libraries and Information Centres and maintains built-in interoperability programs for application between various systems. It adheres to international standards for metadata.
Phpmybibli : is a Library automation application. The program consist of cataloging, circulation, and the webpac module.

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