The purpose of this book is to provide a short and quick introduction to open-source software for students of library science. While the book is focused on open-source software in libraries, readers will get an overview of different kinds of technology and their purpose in a library and learn about the open-source equivalents.

Librarianship and the open-source movement share goals of making information open and accessible. This book should help students and practitioners get a better sense of what open-source software is, and how it can be used in a library effectively. They will also learn how open-source software is probably already being used in their library by getting a review of the open-source software that is used in common technology.

The authors hope that this book will help increase the knowledge of the open-source movement among librarians and increase the quality of discussion about the movement’s place in library missions and goals.

Within each chapter, there are stated learning objectives, focus questions for students to consider as they read, and at the end of every section is a reflection exercise to help students use what they have learned.  Chapters end with review questions, chapter summary, links to external resources, and a self-assessment for students to measure their own understanding of the material.

Chapter 1 is an introduction to the concept of open-source software and technology in libraries and how they interact.

Chapter 2 is an overview of the different types of open-source software and how each could be implemented in a library.

Chapter 3 is a review of the various ways that librarians can engage with the open-source community at all levels of experience.

Joy M. Perrin is a Digital Initiatives Librarian at Texas Tech University with over 19 years of library experience at many different levels within the organization. She has held technical service positions, IT positions, and digitization positions. Throughout her career, she has utilized open-source software to meet the needs of patrons and to get her work done faster.

Christopher Starcher is a Digital Systems Librarian at Texas Tech University. He started his career as a music cataloger, moved to become a digital services librarian, and taught himself software development and library system management. Christopher has contributed to open-source software development projects and implemented open-source software to meet patron needs.


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Open Source Software in Libraries by Joy Perrin and Christopher Starcher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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