Practical Open Source Software for Libraries
An Infopeople Online Learning Course
Dates: Tuesday, May 1, 2012 - Monday, May 28, 2012
Fee: $75 for those in the California library community and Infopeople Partners, $150 for all others (about payment)
Instructor: Nicole Engard
With the growing popularity of applications like Koha, Evergreen, Open Office, and Ubuntu, the library community is abuzz about open source software. Open source usually refers to an application whose source code is made available for use, change, or improvement in a public, collaborative manner. More than just programming, open source is about following a philosophy of free distribution and access. The open source world and the library world live by the same principles.
What does open source mean to you and your library? The benefits are immediately evident:
- More flexibility and freedom than using software purchased with license restrictions
- More affordable options than other alternatives on the market
- The ability to provide exceptional service with ever-decreasing budgets
This course will introduce you to what open source is, how easy it is to implement, and how to evaluate open source software options. You'll be able to separate the facts from misconceptions and come away with a toolbox of over 60 open source applications that you can start using right away at your library.
Course Description: In this four-week online course you will explore the world of open source software and what it means to libraries. Readings, examples, and discussions will introduce you to new software available for use in your library today. You will have the opportunity to not only read about open source software but experience it firsthand through the use of the Zotero bibliography tool as well as many other applications. At the end of the course you retain access to a group-built bibliography of articles, websites, and news postings about open source software that you can share with your library colleagues and IT staff.
Preliminary Course Outline: Using an Internet connection and web browser, you will log in to the Infopeople online learning site and complete the following learning modules:
- Week 1: What is Open Source? Why Open Source?
- Definition and brief history of open source
- Difference between free open source software and other free software
- Why open source applications are important to libraries and how they can be used
- Week 2: Using and Evaluating Open Source
- Where to find open source software
- Installing and using open source software
- How to evaluate open source software
- Comparing open source software to proprietary alternatives
- Week 3: Implementation and Participating in Open Source Communities
- Ease of installation of many applications
- Where to find documentation/help/support for these applications
- How to participate in the communities around these applications both for support and to steer development
- Week 4: Steering Open Source Development
- Finding and communicating with developers
- When to start fresh, fork, or push development of a project to your needs
To derive maximum benefit from the course, you should be able to install simple software (download and double-click installations such as web browsers) on your computer. The instructor will also provide links to web-based demos and screencasts for some open source software, as well as instructions for using a USB drive to install software. If you have any questions about the prerequisites for this course, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Time Required: To complete this course, you can expect to spend 2½ hours per week, for a total of ten course hours. Each week's module contains readings and various options for assignments, discussions, interviews, and online meetings. You can choose the options most relevant to your work and interests. Although you can work on each module at your own pace, at any hour of the day or night, it is recommended that you complete each week's work within that week to stay in sync with other learners.
Who Should Take This Course: Anyone who wants to learn more about open source software and its use in libraries. This could include library decision makers (administrators, systems librarians, heads of departments), those who manage computers/technology, and staff interested in new tools to complete day-to-day tasks. This course will also benefit those who are new to librarianship and are interested in learning about software options to provide better service to patrons.
Online Learning Details and System Requirements may be found at: infopeople.org/training/online_learning_details.
Payment: Your invoice will be emailed to the email address of the person who completed the registration. If that is not the person paying the invoice please forward invoice to the appropriate person. Payment is due within 30 days. If you have any questions about your invoice or payment please contact Gini Ambrosino at email@example.com.
Course Start: This online learning course starts on Tuesday, May 1, 2012.
After the official end date for the course, the instructor will be available for limited consultation and support for two more weeks, and the course material will stay up for an additional two weeks after that. These extra weeks give those who have fallen behind time to work independently to complete the course.
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