Published at LXer:
The open source movement and libraries have a lot in common, not the least of which is the belief in free and open access to ideas and information. Yet, until recently, libraries have been slow to switch to open source software. Libraries have highly specialized software needs because the library community has developed its own complex standards and protocols to facilitate things like interlibrary loan, meta data sharing, and federated searching. Until recently, lack of commercial support made implementing open source unfeasible for libraries without an IT staff. Also, open source alternatives weren't perceived as scalable or feature-rich enough to handle the complex needs of most libraries. Now, commercial support has facilitated new levels of collaboration between libraries through sponsored development.