Thursday, January 10, 2008

Perceptions 2007

New survey out! I saw it on Dave Pattern's blog this morning. It's a survey on ILS customer satisfaction. Pretty relevant, right? You can find the survey here, as well as at DaveyP.
Well, the most interesting thing to me was the question about open source ILS. I think that they're coming up strong, and I think I've probably mentioned that before, although the time is rapidly approaching that I stop thinking about writing about the open source stuff and actually write about it. Anyway, the question was this:
How likely is it that this library would consider implementing an open source ILS?

I would answer: "OMG! It's TOTALLY likely!!" (if I were thirteen years old again, which thankfully I am not)

However, the responses from most of the people who responded to the survey were decidedly....lukewarm. Even among Horizon users, those most disgruntled species of ILS user, this received a 4.12 out of 9. Now, to be clear, Horizon people weren't the most interested in open source. Voyager users were. So....Voyager must be on a bad road, as well.

But that's not really the point of my story. I think the point is that people are still relatively afraid of open source, wary of its effectiveness. But really, what's there to fear? The bugs? That can't be it, since I run across bugs in Horizon all the time, and its been a system for what? 10 years now? Maybe its the support issue, but it takes very little research into open source systems to see that there are companies coming in to fill that need.
I don't know. But the overwhelmingly lukewarm response to open source ILS is sad to me, because it shows very clearly that libraries still aren't comfortable with making sweeping changes. Maybe this is just typical director-of-the-library-wariness, but it reflects to other people in the community when our library directors (or ILS administrators) show distrust of open source systems. And it doesn't reflect in a good way.

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"Wicked people never have time for reading. It's one of the reasons for their wickedness." —Lemony Snicket, The Penultimate Peril.