Opening to open source. Analysing the awareness and use of open source integrated library system by LIS professionals in India

Published date02 July 2018
Date02 July 2018
AuthorRaj Kishor Kampa
Subject MatterLibrary & information science,Information behaviour & retrieval,Information in society,Information literacy,Library & information services
Opening to open source
Analysing the awareness and use of open
source integrated library system by LIS
professionals in India
Raj Kishor Kampa
O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, India
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to investigate the level of awareness and use of open source integrated
library system (ILS) by the library and information science (LIS) professionals in India. Further, it examines
whether qualication, experience of using open source ILS and participation in open source community/mailing
list by the LIS professionals affect their level of awareness and use of different open source ILSs.
Design/methodology/approach An online surveywas conducted to assess the level of awareness and
use of open source ILS by LIS professionals of India. In total, 408 responses were collected from LIS
professionals in India, and the collected data were analysed using descriptive statistics and Pearsons Chi-
Findings The ndings of the studyreveal that the level of awareness and use of open source ILS, namely,
Koha (Mean = 2.69, SD = 0.944) and NewGenLib (Mean = 2.19, SD = 0.703) are high among the LIS
professionals in India. Koha is the most favoured open source ILS. The results reveal that educational
background, experience of using open source software (OSS) and participation in open source community/
mailing listaffect their level of awareness and use of open source ILS.
Practical implications The paper will help decisionmakers to adopt and use popular open source ILS
in their libraries.
Originality/value This paper is the rst of its kind that exploresthe level of awareness and use of open
source ILS by LIS professionalsin India in a broad manner.
Keywords India, Library management, Library profession, Open source software,
Integrated library system, LIS professionals
Paper type Research paper
1. Introduction
During the past decade, an unprecedented surge of interest in open source software (OSS)
has been seen around the world, and the adoption of OSS has also increased tremendously
because of accessibility and availability of internet. Plausibly, easy and immense access to
OSS applications has signicantly changed how organisations acquire software. As a
corollary, it has helped to enable the adoption of OSS applications in many areas of
operations (Ghosh,2004). Because many enterprises around the world are adopting OSS, it is
thriving and rising to prominence in therecent times. Further, 78 per cent of companies use
OSS for some parts of their operations (Vaughan-Nichols, 2015). With its immense market
potential, OSS could thwart the proprietary software, making it evident that 62.72 per cent
of the Web server ran on Apache, Mozilla Firefox captured 28.6 per cent in the browser
segment, 28.8 per cent of operating softwareran on the Linux platform and 26.4 per cent of
the content managementsystem (CMS) ran on WordPress (Wheeler, 2015).
There is no gainsaying the fact that OSS is more exible and less costly than the
proprietary software. Further, it is technologically efcient and low cost for academic
Received3 November 2017
Accepted23 March 2018
GlobalKnowledge, Memory and
Vol.67 No. 4/5, 2018
pp. 332-348
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/GKMC-11-2017-0088
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
institutions/organisations and companies, which help bridging the digital divide in
leapfrogging the technological advances of developed countries by lowering the costs of
ownership and improving access to information and communications technology (ICT)
(Ghosh, 2006). OSS not only is a useful and signicant tool for the developing countries
but also has the immense potential of providing solutions to the most vital problems faced
by the developing countries in bridging the digital divide, thereby promoting the
democratisationof technology (Rajani et al.,2003).
Of late, it has been witnessed that libraries and information centres around the world
have been the major adopters of OSS. In India, many libraries have adopted OSS in some
parts of their operations like the integrated library system (ILS), digital repository, online
public access catalogue (OPAC) and library website. The adoption of OSS in libraries is
dependent on the level of awareness by library and informationscience (LIS) professionals.
The present study investigatesthe level of awareness and the use of open source ILS by LIS
professionals in India. Further, it examines whether qualication of LIS professionals,
experience of using open source and participationin open source community affect the level
of awareness and the useof different open source ILS.
2. Literature review
The review of pertinent literatureis carried out on OSS vis-à-vis libraries, including different
facets of open source ILS. OSS is an important solution for libraries, as it has plethora of
available applications for libraries and good support entities. Chudnov (1999) opined that
OSS basically depends on community effort, which strikingly resembles that of economics
of libraries. It hasbeen argued by many that libraries are ethically requiredto adopt, use and
develop OSS (Crawford, 2005). OSS and modern librarianship have signicant similarity in
their principles and practicesas Morgan (2004) aptly pointed out:
The principles and practices of open source software are very similar to the principles and
practices of modern librarianship. Both value free and equal access to data, information, and
knowledge. Both value the peer review process. Both advocate open standards. Both strive to
promote human understand and to make our lives better. Both make eorts to improve society as
a whole assuming the sum is greater than the parts.
The inherent virtue of both open source community and librarianship is the freedom of use
and free access to information.Eyler (2003) drew a parallel between them as:
Librarians espouse many of the same ideals that drive the free software community. They
collaborate and communicate; they work hard to share the results of their work with one another.
They understand freedom and feel that its an important value. That more librarians arent
actively using and evangelizing free software is an indictment against us for not letting them in
on our secret.
Recently, OSS has made signicant inroads into the library because of shrinking library
budget coupled with ever-increasing demand for ICT application in library. OSS offers a
plethora of solutions without the needfor large and immediate investment. Grant (2008) put
in a simplistic way, thedeterminants of OSS adoption in libraries as:
Because open source is freely available, many libraries, after doing some basic homework, simply
download the application, install it, run it and test it against their needs.
Application of OSS in library can accommodatemost of the needs of libraries in the areas of
library management, digital library creation and information dissemination. With the help
of OSS adoption in the library, the growing informationneeds of the userscan be facilitated
with ease and comfort. The intrinsic benets of OSS application in libraries will be highly
library system

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