Posts Tagged ‘open source’

Leading Lincoln down the FOSS way

Posted on March 9th, 2012 by Paul Stainthorp

On Wednesday this week, LNCD/the Orbital project hosted a meeting to raise awareness of ‘open source’ among staff at the University of Lincoln. Joss Winn and Sander van der Waal (from the JISC-sponsored open source advisory body OSS Watch) both gave presentations on the recent ‘open’ theme of LNCD’s various projects (open access, open data, open education, open source) … and on the terminology, history, principles, benefits and applications of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in Higher Education.

OSS Watch ( are based at the University of Oxford and are funded to provide “unbiased advice and guidance on the use, development, and licensing of free and open source software”. LNCD’s work is informed by an open approach partly through a strong funder (i.e. JISC) preference and policy, but also because of the background of the people involved in LNCD.

Joss has written up the workshop—including the slide presentations—on the Orbital project blog. Joss will also be convening a follow-up meeting to discuss key points that came out of the morning, leading to a small group to develop and guide the understanding of open source at the University. It’s certainly clear that if we want to make the open approach anything more than a happy accident and to put LNCD’s work on a more sustainable and stable footing, we need to be clearer about [1] the business case for open source and open data, [2] the licenses we choose to apply to make our work open, and [3] the kind of support that staff want and need to produce work openly.

Related: Hacking the university, Joss’s recent case study for JISC on Student as Producer and Lincoln’s approach to openness.

Options for reading list management: LIG

Posted on June 18th, 2011 by Paul Stainthorp

InnovationAt our Library Innovation Group (LIG) meeting this coming Monday (20 June), we’re going to be taking a fresh look at how we support the use of online reading lists in the University of Lincoln.

At the moment, we use a reading list product called LearnBuild LibraryLink, which integrates nicely with our Blackboard VLE and allows subject librarians to keep on top of multiple lists. However, it’s fair to say it’s not always the easiest software to use. Here are my instructions on maintaining reading lists in LibraryLink [PDF].

When I gave a presentation about our experiences of using reading list software at the second ‘Innovations in Reference Management‘ event last year (#irm10), Owen Stephens the event organiser liveblogged our situation quite nicely:

Paul reflecting that Lincoln only partially successful in implementing ‘reading lists’.

University of Lincoln – bought reading list system, funds were only available for short period, so had limited time to assess full requirements and how far chosen product met their requirements.


  • filled a void
  • improved consistency
  • gave library an ‘in’ on launch of new VLE (Blackboard)
  • hundreds of modules linked in by 2000
  • students are using them – have usage stats from both LearnBuild and Blackboard
  • some simple stock-demand prediction

Unfortunately there were quite a few areas not so successful:

  • not intuitive; time-consuming
  • software not being developed
  • no community of users
  • competing developements (EPrints, digitisation, OPAC, RefWorks)
  • too closely linked to Blackboard module system
  • Subject libraries don’t like it, but lack of uptake from academics means that it is the subject librarians who end up doing the work.

However, unless library can demonstrate success, unlikely to get money to buy better system… So library putting more effort into make it work.

So: on Monday, I’m hoping to kick off a discussion by giving a quick run-through of the various online reading list management options available to UK Higher Education libraries. These screenshot slides (which are a visual aid / aide mémoire rather than a proper presentation) list the various products and approaches to reading list management. Some are commercial software projects; others are Open Source projects; still others are being developed in-house at various universities (and are not necessarily available for the University of Lincoln to use – e.g. the University of Huddersfield’s MyReading Project); there are a couple of wildcard solutions in there too.

Here are the slides:

Open Atrium

Posted on May 4th, 2011 by Paul Stainthorp

Our first test installation of open-source ‘team collaboration tool’ Open Atrium is at: It’s limited access at the moment. We’re evaluating it as one potential platform for a University of Lincoln VRE.

Screenshot of Open Atrium

A Mash’s a Mash for A’ That

Posted on January 28th, 2011 by Paul Stainthorp

I was in Scotland earlier this week for the latest instalment in the Mashed Library programme: Haggis and Mash formed the first part of a two-day event looking at open source and open data in libraries, held at the National e-Science Centre (NeSC) in Edinburgh.

McEwan Hall

Various people spoke throughout the morning about different aspects of open library systems, including products such as VuFind and Blacklight; software toolkits like Juice*; Linked Data and RDA… followed, in the afternoon, by the now-traditional practical mashing workshops.

Julian Cheal

(*An aside: I spent some time talking to Talis’s Matt Machell about Juice and discussing how it might be used to enhance the e-journals A-to-Z; I’ve since installed it on the Learning Lab server and we’re going to give it a go!)

Mashing. Really mashing.

Nicola Osborne, EDINA’s social media officer, blogged the event live (and very comprehensively); you can also see plenty of photos from Haggis and Mash, on flickr, including this one of the cutting of a celebratory ‘Happy Birthday Open Library Systems 1.0‘ cake…

Happy Birthday Open Library Systems 1.0

Next stop: Pancakes and Mash on 8 March 2011 in Lincoln.