January 24, 2022

FOLIO: “UChicago Library Experts Shape Development of New Open-Source Library Management System”

From the University of Chicago:

Experts from the University of Chicago Library have played a vital role in shaping the development of FOLIO, the new open-source library management system that is about to be implemented at the University of Chicago Library. Rachel Rosenberg spoke to Elisabeth Long, Interim Library Director and University Librarian and Associate University Librarian for IT & Digital Scholarship, about the ways UChicago staff have collaborated with colleagues internationally to ensure that the new system will meet the specific needs of University of Chicago faculty, students, and staff while also serving academic libraries around the world.

From the Interview:

Q: Why did University of Chicago librarians want to use an open-source system instead of licensing one from a vendor, and why did we decide to participate in developing a new one?

A: Open-source solutions are appealing to us philosophically as well as from a market and innovation perspective. The open-source approach to software allows community-oriented development, and it mirrors the open data/open science movements in the belief that making the software available for modification and reuse drives innovation. Our major library functions should not be locked up in proprietary software. This is especially an issue because there has been a serious constriction of the library vendor market over the past couple of decades. We wanted to see more technology options and to avoid vendor lock-in and market domination, especially when so many existing systems are rooted in past practices. We were excited by the innovative nature of the FOLIO project. Since open-source projects are driven by the community, the FOLIO system reflects the many creative ideas of participants from partner institutions around the world. FOLIO is also an unusual open-source project because there are vendors involved–vendors that have invested important resources in the project but have committed to keeping their contributions open source. This helps to mitigate some of the potential risks of using open-source software for an enterprise system.

Read the Complete Interview (811 words)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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