Prodromes Tsiavos from UCL the Media Institute talked about Open Source Software on the first day of Kohacon16. Open Source software is at the core a collective living organism. It is made of various institutions and individuals dependent on a solid infrastructure. Knowledge is shared across the members of the collective where learning is a core value of the project. The learning and sharing is evidence by the activity seen in a project. Over the life of Koha, for example, there have been 27,319 commits by 369 contributors resulting in over 720,000 lines of code. The combined effort equals 198 person years!!!
Open Source provides a lot of value to its users. In Koha, the global community provides a ‘global expertise’. We are able to tap into the diverse knowledge of the community members to grow our own knowledge and help grow others. Because there is not one company or one person responsible for the code, it is sustainable. Community members can enter and leave the project and the project continues. By encouraging members of your institution to participate in the community you are investing not only in a global project, but you are making an investment in your local community. You build local skills and local knowledge in your own community.
To develop a open source strategy in your institution, look to fill roles in the large community. You can also start meetings in your city, state and country. While most people think of open source contributions equating coding in the software that is only a part of the picture. Participating in an open source is also about sharing your experiences and expertise with others. This can be with blog posts, training videos, speaking at meetings to name just a few examples.
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