free culture, free software: making free software work for cultural heritage organizations
open source bridge 2016. portland, or.
Jennie Rose Halperin
why listen to me?
from a feminist zine archive
to curating exhibits about libraries
to working on an open-source project of Appalachian folk music
to interning at a Berlin museum and archive
to cataloging rare materials at a medical library
to community management for a large open source project
to traditional publishing
to communicating the commons...
I am passionate about open, DIY, messy, collaborative, free culture
I believe that...
radically transparent solutions, an emphasis on community, and consensus based decision-making will make your work more inclusive, more exciting, and maybe even more fun
this is not a talk about "how can I bring linux to my public library?"
(but I am happy to discuss this later)
What is a cultural heritage organization?
Cultural heritage organizations are fundamentally aligned with FLOSS.
What are some cultural heritage institutions that you regularly interact with?
The work of cultural heritage organizations cannot be separated from the free culture movement
For me, [free culture] is important for the same reasons I feel thrilled to step into a library and read, learn, and explore to my heart’s content. Initiatives that contribute to a truly global repository — or, more fittingly, library — of ideas almost always bring about about public good.
We state these propositions neither lightly nor as easy generalizations. We here stake out a lofty claim for the value of the written word. We do so because we believe that it is possessed of enormous variety and usefulness, worthy of cherishing and keeping free. We realize that the application of these propositions may mean the dissemination of ideas and manners of expression that are repugnant to many persons. We do not state these propositions in the comfortable belief that what people read is unimportant. We believe rather that what people read is deeply important; that ideas can be dangerous; but that the suppression of ideas is fatal to a democratic society. Freedom itself is a dangerous way of life, but it is ours.
GLAM institutions mostly use closed source products for their systems and patrons
An example from the Library World
Book Systems, Inc.
Cyber Tools for Libraries
Follett Software Company
Mandarin Library Automation
Polaris Library Systems
The Library Corporation
Open Source ILS
Ebsco Discovery Service
The Library Corporation (TLC)
Open Source OPAC
Social Online Public Access Catalog (SOPAC)
Polaris Library Systems
Prism 3 (Capita)
Retrievo (KEEP SOLUTIONS)
Serials Solutions Summon
WorldCat Local (OCLC)
"Librarians are vendor-trained"
Mozilla Libraries and Open Source Focus Group, January 2014
Research says that open source is generally a good choice for cultural heritage organizations
(see Bibliography for articles on the topic)
But adoption has been slow and hotly contested.
The stakes here pit community-based development against development of proprietary software by commercial companies. Libraries value open source options and yearn for less expensive software and flexibility often not delivered by proprietary products, but an alternative will prevail only if it has superior functionality.
"... when considering whether an open source project is right for your library, evaluating how your efforts will be received and valued by the open source community you are joining should be a key factor in your decision. And to make that determination, start by looking for how the community governs itself."
Case study: Arches + Institute for Digital Archaeology
Arches grew out of the collaborative effort to create the Middle Eastern Geodatabase for Antiquities, and the widespread need within the heritage field for low-cost electronic inventories that are easy to use and access.
We have created a heavily modified version of an inexpensive consumer 3D camera that will permit inexperienced users to capture archival-quality scans. The camera has the facility to upload these images automatically to database servers where they can be used for study or, if required, 3D replication. … Each camera contains an automated tutorial package that will help field users – local museum affiliates, imbedded military, NGO employees and volunteers – both to identify appropriate subject matters and to capture useable images. … All of the associated technology and software will be open-source to facilitate that goal.
“Digital archaeology, in my view, is the best hope that we have for preserving the architecture, the art history of these sites... It provides an opportunity not only to record this for posterity, for scholars to be able to crowdsource interpretative information about the data that we collect.