Exploring open source software developed for European libraries

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Developers and project managers involved in open source software projects for public libraries in Denmark, France, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic took a first step to learn more about each other's work. Meeting in a Google Hangout, they introduced their open source software projects, aiming to get ideas for future developments. The Danish 'T!ng' (Ting) project came first. T!ng aims to make most of the resources at the libraries available in the form of web services. Almost 60% of all Danish municipal libraries are involved in this software and IT services project.

"The project started with just two big libraries", said Niels Schmidt Petersen, who works for the municipality of Århus. "Since then, we've visited many libraries to explain our approach. It took a few years, but it was not difficult. Most libraries want to be involved."

The second presentation featured 'Kramerius', developed in the Czech Republic. It is a specialised open source content management system, that helps to preserve historic documents and make them available online. One of the software developers, Pavel Kocourek: "We have almost two million documents in the system."


The developers explained how they would like to see their software used internationally. "Unfortunately, most of our documentation is in Czech, and we don't really have budget for translation."

That, however, appears to be a minor problem. One of the participants, Canadian researcher Louis Suárez-Potts said that the documentation can be translated by Google Translate. He tried it during the meeting, and concluded: "This is really good enough."

The participants would like to repeat the Hangout within the next few weeks. That meeting will likely involve a presentation from France on Koha, an open source integrated library system, and on the Dutch Delving, a fork of the open source code used in the Europeana project. That aims to provide online access to digitised items from European museums, libraries, and archives.

A follow-up meeting is planned. This will be open to representatives from open source software projects involving libraries.

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Gijs Hillenius writes original articles for the Joinup project of the European Commission. His articles are republished here with permission.

1 Comment

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This article was originally published on joinup.ec.europa.eu and is reposted with permission.