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Open source software use in libraries

Alexandria Payne (School of Information Sciences, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee, USA)
Vandana Singh (School of Information Sciences, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee, USA)

Library Review

ISSN: 0024-2535

Article publication date: 12 October 2010




In order to provide a general context for library implementations of open source software (OSS), the purpose of this paper is to discuss the existing presence of OSS in libraries, the functionality and variety of OSS products, and the need for further study into the application of OSS technologies in libraries.


The paper is based on a literature review.


This paper endeavors to provide a broad overview of the deepening relationship between libraries and OSS. Libraries are seeking alternatives to proprietary applications which may require specialized support and/or services. Moreover, OSS and proprietary products have a functional verisimilitude, and, as proprietary applications developers anticipate user needs, so too do OSS contributors.

Practical implications

The degree of variance between proprietary and OSS applications, features, support, and compatibility is continually lessening, so libraries are increasingly making use of less costly alternatives to subscription based tools.


The use of OSS in libraries is an increasing trend. OSS tools and implementations provide library institutions with access to a dynamic and cost effective solution for servicing user groups, manipulating large volumes of content, and facilitating communications between various institutional and public entities. This paper gives an holistic perspective albeit in a short form.



Payne, A. and Singh, V. (2010), "Open source software use in libraries", Library Review, Vol. 59 No. 9, pp. 708-717.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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