The news, reported in an article by Marshall Breeding in American Libraries, that EBSCO has decided to support a new open source library services platform is a fascinating development. To join with Kuali OLE but to develop what will essentially be a different open source product is a big development for the library technology sector. It’s particularly interesting that EBSCO has gone the route of providing financial support to an open source system, rather than buying a library systems company. The scope and timescales are ambitious, to have something ready for 2018.
Open source library management systems haven’t have the impact that systems like Moodle have had in the virtual learning environment sector and in some ways it is odd that academic libraries haven’t been willing to adopt such a system, given that universities do seem to have an appetite for open source software. Maybe open source library systems products haven’t been developed sufficiently to compete with commercial providers. Software as a Service (SaaS) is coming to be accepted now by corporate IT departments as a standard method of service provision, something that I think a couple of the commercial providers realised at quite an early stage, so it is good to see this initiative recognising that reality. It will be interesting to see how this develops