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Magazines > Computers in Libraries > February 2009

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Vol. 29 No. 2 — February 2009
On Openness
by Dick Kaser

February is open source month … at least at Computers in Libraries magazine. For the second year running, we’ve dedicated our coverage in the February edition to the topic of the ways in which open source solutions are being used to solve problems in libraries.

“Open source” is erroneously often confused with “free.”

To help clarify things, we asked Marshall Breeding to devote his column this month to providing an overview of “openness” in general. He explains the reasons libraries want systems to be more open and describes the various kinds of openness that can be exploited, both within the context of traditional library systems as well as in open source packages. Columnist Dan Chudnov has also provided a good summary on what “free” and open software is—and is not.

Though “open” doesn’t always mean “free,” open access projects do tend to bring out the altruist in librarians. Our feature articles this month turn the spotlight on some very noble endeavors, including Sharon Moreland’s tale of using the blogging platform WordPress to empower all the public libraries in Kansas.

Kim Griggs tells how Oregon State University has used open source to create tools that its librarians can use to create interactive course guides and a website in order to share the tools with all of you.

Michael Sutherland and Jason Clark describe how, after hearing a presentation at our Computers in Libraries conference, Montana State University used freely available tools to create a virtual reading room for its journal collection.

We also invited Kate Sheehan to tell us about the exciting new public face of Darien Public Library (Conn.)—all built on the Drupal open source software.

Rounding out our coverage, columnist Jessamyn West offers tips for using open source solutions to beef up your library’s computing environment; Janet Balas points to a rich set of open source resources; and Terence Huwe shares his views on a blogging platform for scholars to use in conducting research.

I’ve thrown in my 2 cents’ worth with a review of developments on open access in scholarly journal publishing.

A year after we published our first issue on openness, it looks like there’s still plenty to talk about. I don’t know—same time next year?

Dick Kaser, Executive Editor


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