thanks for your response! FOSS4LIB is an excellent initiative that can help make FOSS more common in libraries, thereby revolutionising the way libraries operate.
1. In addition to the existing tabs, there should be one for 'Support' or 'Consultancy'. At the moment, support providers can only be found under individual software packages. That's an approach from the old days of proprietary software where support providers were tied to a single package. Today, consultancy firms like Library Co-op take a very different approach - we don't start with particular software and impose that on libraries; instead, we analyse a library's needs, then find the right FOSS application(s) for them. The current interface may be suitable for libraries that have already made a decision for a particular package; but most libraries need professional help already for the decision making process (at least in the UK even large academic libraries often have no systems team any more).
2. Contributors should be allowed to add packages to the directory. On the one hand, new FOSS packages evolve all the time; on the other, libraries often expand their role (think of VLEs, e-pubishing).
FOSS is not just a one-on-one replacement for proprietary software - it's a different approach from start to finish. Its main strength is its versatility and adaptability. A portal necessarily needs to organise and categorise, but in our field, it also needs to showcase how we are fundamentally different from the rest!
On 24 Jan 2012, at 18:32, Peter Murray wrote:
Thanks for the feedback. Promoting an ecosystem of support options for FOSS in libraries is one of the goals of the FOSS4LIB site. The site does have the notion of "Support Providers" that are attached to particular packages. After setting up an account you can create one at this URL: http://foss4lib.org/node/add/provider
There is a section called "Supports" with different "Provider Types" listed (consulting, custom development, hosting, etc). Providers in FOSS4LIB are tied to packages (you can see, for instance, the providers already registered for Koha at http://foss4lib.org/package/koha
). There isn't a way to have a provider "stand alone" in a directory, but I'd be interested in hearing more about the use cases where we might want to make them available that way.
On Jan 22, 2012, at 12:47 PM, Mr Gerhard Bissels wrote:
I'd suggest to add a directory of support providers for FOSS for libraries. Of course, I would say that because Library Co-op are a team of consulting librarians specialising in FOSS for libraries: but I also get the impression that many librarians (at least in the UK) are hardly aware of FOSS alternatives, let alone commercial support for it. At least in the UK FOSS might be easier to market once it is generally understood that commercial support for FOSS is available - with the added benefit that there may be a choice of support providers for the same product…
The Koha community website offers a directory of commercial support providers. A similar directory that would allow searches by application type (LMS, link resolver, ERM, VLE …) and individual application (under LMS: Koha, Evergreen…), so support providers could tick what they can offer, might be a useful starting point.
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