FOSS4(small)Lib

How feasible are FOSS projects for small institutions/departments? 

How do we make it easier?

Code4Lib Midwest 2014
July 23-24
Megan Kudzia
Albion College Library

What's So Attractive About FOSS?

  • Pretty shiny things!


What's So Attractive About FOSS?

  • Pretty shiny things!
  • Good practice
  • What's So Attractive About FOSS?

  • Pretty shiny things!
  • Good practice
  • Less expensive solution

  • What's So Attractive About FOSS?

  • Pretty shiny things!
  • Good practice
  • Less expensive solution
  • We are idealists!

  • Islandora at Albion

    • Small school (FTE 1350 - 1400)
    • Various use cases for a digital repository:
      • Document retention
      • Access to archives photographs
      • Access to digitized material
    • Wanted something less expensive, more customizable
    • Omeka wasn't robust enough 

    So Why Is It Difficult?


    So Why Is It Complicated?

    Lack of:

    1. Skill sets 
    2. Experience
    3. Documentation that takes this into account

    Determining Feasibility pt. 1

    Not super helpful:

    • Benchmarking against other same-size institutions
    • Looking at job titles from teams at larger institutions

    Albion's Experience

    1. We talked to Grinnell (hi, Becky!) - slightly bigger
    2. We talked to MSU (hi guys!) - WAY bigger
    3. Didn't see many other similar sized/local implementers at the time
    4. We knew we had at least some of the skill sets needed but?

    Getting Buy-In, Responsibly

    It's tricky to:

    • Explain the scope of a FOSS project to less-techy bosses, administrators, boards of directors
    • Stay on the same page as your IT folks
    • Cultivate a good relationship with IT, depending on campus politics

    Difficulties Become Clear

    • 20+ installs of Islandora stack
    • Database config issues were difficult to troubleshoot
    • Difficulty reading docs:
      • Which version am I on? Interlinkage?
      • Drupal docs are separate
      • What's really a dependency and what isn't?
    • Uncertain dev timeline
    • Relevant staff sporadically available

    Not the Dead Weight Feel!

    FEAR

    • If we complain/offer help it will be rejected because:
      • We failed
      • We're not smart enough
      • We didn't try hard enough

    Giving Back

    • Hat Tip Becky Yoose (who has an awesome hat!)
      • Creating consortia 
      • Mozilla model for contribution (also Jennie Rose Halperin via The Real Arty)
      • Documentation - maybe we can also contribute?

    Where we are:

    • Again, h/t Becky Yoose:
      • Increasingly, vendors exist to offer SASS! Yay!
      • Argument that OSS we all can't use isn't really open


    More Good News

    Where we can be:

    • Continue consortial work
    • Can we create mentor-ish relationships? 
    • Let's continue to express that we want to give back!
    • Asking folks with experience, and sharing, may be best

    Other Thoughts:

    We are using some FOSS successfully

    • Wordpress, Drupal, MARCEdit, etc.
    • Foundation-based FOSS?
    • What else could we try as a community?

    Questions?


    Photo Credits:



    FOSS4(small)Lib

    By Megan Kudzia

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