One of the most wonderful aspects of the modern technological world, Web 2.0. or whatever we call the new state of digitized wave length life, is that it is not always possible to monetize everything.
Oh, we keep trying. Through copyright laws we attempt to keep an eye on who created what, or what company is going to benefit from the newest computer development.
But as the young generation keeps proving, by being on the vanguard of ‘share ware’, it can be difficult to keep a stranglehold on the creation or creators.
The theory of built in obsolescence, so obvious in our technological world, produces waste. Why should the newest printer be built so that it is not compatible with the last one. How many printers end up in landfills, dripping toxic sludge into the ground, because a corporation decides that they can make an extra million by changing the format so that the old technology cannot be altered to keep up with the newest.
Similarily, too many software programs with simliar but slightly different systems just clog the market and make interoperability a nightmare.
Just as the public is beginning to demand a more environmentally conscious business platform for computers, the librarians who have limited budgets are looking for solutions that offer more and cost less.
Young people can affect change in so many ways, but one of the more effective ways is by their market share or actual consumption.
It is mostly young people who create and use software, and in many cases they want a more effective software program more than they want the monetary value of prime ownership.
Remarkable sites and software are being created with this idealistic and pragmatic attitude by people who know they can pay less and get more with a little cooperation.
Open Source Software is a good example of this attitude; a software that libraries can use to organize their course and article resources that is relatively cheap or free, and collaborative.
Open Source Software allows librarians to get a good collaborative system with no capital outlay and no on-going support payments. The product has been developed in an open sharing environment among a group of libraries, and that environment has created an up-to-date and flexible system.
Wally Grotophorst, the original developer of Open Source Course Reserves, describes OSS as ” software that continuously goes through the peer-review process”. People are continually working together to improve the system, without expectation of a pay out.
The only disadvantages of OSS is that the library that uploads a free OSS is expecting their staff to have fairly good expertise in software programming. And, they will not be offered any help from an original company to get the system up and running or offer on-going support for the glitches that will inevitably turn up.
However, librarians are a thrifty and crafty bunch, so website such as ” http://creativelibrarian.com/library-oss/” are out there to help each other find the Open Source Software that is best suited to their library.
Librarians, they can be canny, and revolutionary.