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Building open source bridges

June 30, 2010

I have long annoyed my American colleagues with occasional harangues about how we could learn from other nations’ libraries, even if those nations are not English-speaking as a rule. German libraries do all sorts of interesting things, for example, with open source (and not so open source) software, about which we know little given the language barrier. In Germany, however, non-German open source library software projects are generally well known among programmers and the IT-oriented. At present VuFind is all the rage, to name one example.

In a recent tweet, I mentioned how happy I was to see some of my favorite mostly North American OS thinkers and writers (I tossed Edlef in for good measure!) cited in an undergraduate thesis currently on my desk. Specifically, the articles cited are:

Chudnov, Daniel, ‘Open Source Library Systems: Getting Started’, oss4lib – open source systems for libraries, 1999 <>.

—, ‘The Future of FLOSS in Libraries’, in Information tomorrow: reflections on technology and the future of public and academic libraries (Medford, NJ: Information Today, Inc., 2007),  19-30.

Colford, Scot, ‘Explaining free and open source software’, Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 35 (2009), 10-14 10.1002/bult.2008.1720350205.

Schneider, K. G., ‘The thick of the fray: Open source software in libraries in the first decade of this century’, Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 35 (2009), 15-19 10.1002/bult.2008.1720350206.

Stabenau, Edlef, ‘Online Auskunft in deutschen Bibliotheken’, <>.

A student last year wrote her thesis on Koha, and the thesis in which I found these citations is a survey of five open source projects in German libraries, so clearly something is catching on here if these topics are finding their way into the curriculum and catching the interest of some of the brightest students here.


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