[WEB4LIB] Re: will OSS impact library automation?

Marc Truitt mtruitt at nd.edu
Thu Mar 22 20:20:56 EST 2001

Eric Hellman wrote [in part] :
> I'd say that the reason is more that an OPAC or a circ system is a
> boring tedious complex project, unappealing to code-poets. Not hard
> enough, too many t's to cross and i's to dot. And there's enough
> diversity and competition in proprietary OPAC's that there's no
> compelling need. Successful Open Source projects start small, new and
> simple, do one thing really well, and then get improved.

Perhaps then the 'code-poets' should try writing the parts of an ILS
that are *really hard*.  Just about any ILS vendor has credible OPAC,
cataloguing and circulation modules.  If you want a real challenge, try
writing acquisitions and serials control functionality that can make the
grade in a major ARL.  It isn't simply a 'bibliofied stock-control
system', the current systems' approaches notwithstanding.  Just ask any
acquisitions or serials librarian at a major ARL what they think of the
principal offerings in these areas.  With conspicuously few exceptions,
most systems are extremely simplistic and function only because staff
are constantly seeking creative work-arounds for even the most
garden-variety workflow situations.

Oh, and let's not even *think* about their reporting capabilities in the
same two areas.  Sadly, the word rudimentary is too kind a descriptor.

- mt

Marc Truitt
Library Systems Department
G126 Hesburgh Library
University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, IN 46556-5629

Voice  : 219-631-3409
Fax    : 219-631-6772
e-mail : mtruitt at nd.edu
cell   : 219-276-8726

"Librarians are different.  You just have to get over it,
                        and move on..."
                         -- James Steenbergen

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