[Please excuse the cross-posting as well as the self-promotion. ELM]
Getting Started With Open Source Software
An Infopeople online learning course
February 24, 2004-March 23, 2004
One of the most significant trends in today's world of computers is the rise
of open source software. Open source software is often described as free
software; however, it is not free as in "free lunch," but free as in "free
kitten." Open source software is not simply shareware. It is a
disciplined, empowering approach to technology, embracing collaboration,
open access, open standards, and freedom of information. Libraries that
take advantage of open source software report that it enables them to drive
the technology as opposed to being driven by it.
Open source software is not just for the technically sophisticated.
* If you have sets of MARC records that you wish you could
batch edit, or
* If you have sets of data that you would like to index
and make field searchable, or
* If you are overwhelmed by the email coming from mailing
lists and wish there was some way to capture this
information more effectively, or
* If you just want to make your existing computer systems
do the things you think they should do, then this course
is for you.
This four-week online course introduces the world of open source software
from a library perspective. Students will have opportunities to work with
several open source software programs. Reading assignments will provide a
strong background in the ideas behind open source software and will
demonstrate how it is a natural fit with the principles of librarianship.
Exercises will give students an opportunity to download, install and
configure several open source products that have proven useful in libraries.
Online discussions and live chats will provide students the support they
need to accomplish the assignments and opportunities to share ideas with
other people using open source software in their libraries.
Students will be expected to download open source software and accompanying
documentation and will learn how to uncompress software distributions,
configure an application for building, compile an application, install it,
configure it, and finally use it. Applications used during these hands-on
activities include: Apache, CVS, Hypermail, MARC::Record, MySQL, Perl,
swish-e, xsltproc, and YAZ. Koha and MyLibrary will also be discussed.
Exercises are complete with sample data, configuration files, and sample
scripts to get the student up and going quickly.
Preliminary Course Outline
Using your web browser and your Internet connection, you will log in to the
Infopeople Blackboard online learning site and complete the following
* Module One: Using Open Source Software in Libraries
o Affordable and customizable
o Many library-specific applications
o Using Perl
* Module Two: Databases
o Why everyone loves Google
o Databases in libraries
o Using MySQL and swish-e
* Module Three: Access
o Structuring data to increase usefulness
o Creating knowledge
o Using CGI and Hypermail
* Module Four: Open Source and Librarianship
o Empowers users
o Advantages and disadvantages
o Using MARC::Record
Workshop Instructor - Eric Lease Morgan
Because of grant funding, California residents can take this course for the
subsidized fee of $75.00. The out-of-state fee is $275.00
Online Learning Details
This four-week course will be taught online using the web. When you
register, you will receive a registration confirmation which will include
the URL to get to the course, as well as a username and password. Getting
Started with Open Source Software will start on February 24, 2004 and end on
March 23, 2004.
The workshop consists of four one-and-a-half to two-hour learning modules.
You can work on each module at your own pace, at any hour of the day or
night. However, you will be expected to log in to the course each week to
do that week's assignment. We ask that you log in sometime during the first
week of the course to begin the course work.
The materials will remain available to work on for two additional weeks
following the official end date, but you will be expected to accomplish the
majority of the course in synchronization with your peers during the first
Who Should Take This Course
Anyone from the library community with an interest in using open source
software is encouraged to attend.
This course is taught over the web. You must:
* Have an Internet connection and Internet Explorer 5 or
higher (some of the quiz functions do not work properly in
* Be able to edit and save plain text documents using a text
editor such as Textpad, pico, vi, or NotesPad.
* Be able to upload files using FTP.
* Be able to save files and install computer programs on
your local Windows or Unix computer(s).
* Be able to use a command-line interface to your local
computer (or be willing to learn how).
If you are not comfortable with any of the above, please consider taking
this course with a colleague who does meet these requirements.
Eric Lease Morgan
Head, Digital Access and Information Architecture Department
University Libraries of Notre Dame