Our university has Cascade Server and we have a Wordpress Network on in-house servers we control. Here is a list of good reasons to fly solo [if your library can support it properly, etc.]:
1.) A lot of university websites really suck, and as part of your institution's CMS you are going to have a lot less freedom to innovate or implement an immediate design change. Of course, these options might be already culled depending how strictly you're mandated to adhere to your uni's style guide. If you have enough freedom for it to matter, you might benefit from the control.
2.) Campus IT often doesn't comprehend the usability needs of a library's unique and varied patronbase - and if they do, they are concerned more with registration and any of the other constituents (colleges, departments, admin) to devote to the library. Your patrons are potential power users and they will be critical and vocal about access and usability flaws.
3.) Moving to an open CMS like [sigh ...] Drupal* or [yay!] Wordpress lets your library participate in and--if you're able--contribute to the #libtech community. You may create a module or plugin that may seem particularly geared toward the library niche, but you will be surprised by the positive feedback from this excellent community of good-natured peers if you let others use and improve on it.
4.) Contribute is going to make it difficult to aspire to either DRY Content or community. If your colleagues are going to produce a lot of content for the web, you will benefit from a CMS - what's more, if it's a CMS your library controls, then you can more fairly respond to any training or technical needs that might otherwise pend in your university's significantly larger queue.
5.) If you control your own PHP server, it doesn't just *have* to be a Drupal / WP silo; you'll be able to plug in or build any assortment of applications as your library requires.
All the best,
// Front-End Librarian
* I'm just kidding, but I've chosen my colors!
From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Joshua Welker
Sent: Wednesday, August 14, 2013 9:21 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [CODE4LIB] Separate library CMS systems vs Campus-wide CMS systems (was [CODE4LIB] LibGuides: I don't get it)
Does anyone have any suggestions as to where the library should or should not compromise when it comes to using an institutional CMS rather than a custom library one? We are going through this process right now. Our web pages are currently all in static HTML and LibGuides. I am wanting to move to Drupal, and campus IT wants us to move to their Adobe Contribute platform. AFAIK, Contribute does not allow for any server-side scripting and does not have any sort of plugin system, and I am very concerned that Contribute would harm the library's ability to effectively integrate its online resources into a single web portal (server-side caching, indexes, scheduled tasks, etc).
I know the answer to this question is "it depends," but I am hoping others can share the fruits of their experience.
Information Technology Librarian
James C. Kirkpatrick Library
University of Central Missouri
Warrensburg, MO 64093
From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Jimmy Ghaphery
Sent: Tuesday, August 13, 2013 5:49 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] LibGuides: I don't get it
I have followed this thread with great interest. In 2011 Erin White and I researched many of the issues the group has been hitting on, demonstrating the popularity of LibGuides in ARL libraries, the locus of control outside of systems' departments, and the state of content policies.
Our most challenging statement in the article to the library tech community (which was watered down a bit in the peer review process) was "The popularity of LibGuides, at its heart a specialized content management system, also calls into question the vitality and/or adaptability of local content management system implementations in libraries."
One of the biggest challenges I see toward creating a non-commercial alternative is that the library code community is so dispersed in the various institutions that it makes it difficult to get away from the download tar.gz model. Are our institutions ready to collaborate across themselves such that there could be a shared SaaS model (of anything
really) that libraries could subscribe/contribute to? The barriers here certainly aren't technological, but more along the lines of policy, governance, etc.
As for Research Guides in general, I see a very clear divide in the public/tech communities not only on platform but more philosophical. From the tech side once it is all boiled down, heck why do you even need a third party system; catalog the databases with some type of local genres and push out an api/xml feeds to various disciplines. From the public side there is a long lineage of individually curated guides that goes to the core of value of professionally knowing one's community and serving it.
On Tue, Aug 13, 2013 at 11:13 AM, Galen Charlton <[log in to unmask]>
> On Tue, Aug 13, 2013 at 6:53 AM, Wilhelmina Randtke <[log in to unmask]
> > There's not a lock-in issue with LibGuides, because it's used to
> > host pathfinders. Those are supposed to be periodically revisited.
> > One of
> > big problems is that librarians will start a guide and never finish,
> > or make one then never maintain it. Periodically deleting
> > everything is a good thing for pathfinders and subject guides, and
> > people should do it anyway. No one's talking about tools for
> > digital archives, which have
> > in issues and are way more expensive.
> Lock-in doesn't have to be absolute to be effective, it just has to
> has raise the bar sufficiently high to make users think twice about
> migrating away.
> This applies even if the data to be moved is transitory and constantly
> changing. For example, if a library has been diligently updating their
> pathfinders, but wants to switch platforms, if there were no way to
> export them to load into the successor system, the effort of redoing
> them or doing a lot of copy-and-pasting could be prohibitive.
> As a general statement -- and I know that this battle has been
> bitterly fought in the ILS space -- I believe that *all* library
> software services, whether based on F/LOSS software or proprietary
> software, should provide a way for the library to obtain a full dump
> of their data, in an accessible format, at no additional charge.
> I see that LibGuides advertises the ability to make local backups of
> individual pages and also provides (via a paid add-on module) an XML
> export function. I don't know if SpringShare will also provide free
> one-time exports on request, but I would hope they do.
> Of course, even if one has the data in hand, data migrations can still
> take a lot of time, effort, and expertise.
> Galen Charlton
> Manager of Implementation
> Equinox Software, Inc. / The Open Source Experts
> email: [log in to unmask]
> direct: +1 770-709-5581
> cell: +1 404-984-4366
> skype: gmcharlt
> web: http://www.esilibrary.com/
> Supporting Koha and Evergreen: http://koha-community.org &
Head, Digital Technologies