With 2017 just started, we are looking forward to this year’s batch of annual library conferences. The list below covers large library technology conferences as well as the major conferences where technology will be discussed.
While open access repositories and journals are free for end users, they do cost money to set up and maintain. Forward-thinking libraries are beginning to allocate funds to support open access resources.
Here are some open access resources you should consider supporting.
Knowledge Unlatched creates packages of scholarly books in the humanities and social studies which are “unlatched” to become open access ebooks through membership contributions. The first two rounds allowed the release of over 100 titles, made available for free via the HathiTrust Digital Library and OAPEN. The pledging period for the next collection, KU Select 2016, runs through January 31, 2017.
Open Library is an initiative of the Internet Archive with “one web page for every book” ever published. Users can read public domain “classic books” for free or borrow up to five titles for two weeks each. Users can contribute by adding books or editing records. Sign up for a personal account or register your library to provide in-library loans for users on your library network.
International Open Access Week starts today and runs from October 24–30, 2016. For all of the details, visit www.openaccessweek.org.
This year’s theme is “open in action” with an emphasis on how you can take practical steps to implement open access in your library or support its growth.
Ways to Participate
Many organizations which embrace and promote open access are sponsoring events to encourage participation in open access resources. Here are just a few of them.
Open Access Week Commitment
The Open Access Week organization is asking librarians to sign up and take “concrete steps to open up research and scholarship and encourag[e] others to do the same”. Sign up at www.action.openaccessweek.org.
Do you have an ORCID iD? ORCID stands for Open Researcher and Contributor ID and is a unique 16-digit number which distinguishes you from other researchers in online resources. Register for an ORCID iD at orcid.org/register.
The Coalition of Open Access Policy Institutions (COAPI) exists to allow member libraries to help develop and share open access policies. Sponsored by SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), COAPI offers best practices and advocacy for open access. To become a member library, see sparcopen.org/become-a-member.
Support Open Access Resources
While open access repositories and journals are free for end users, they do cost money to set up and maintain. Forward-thinking libraries are beginning to allocate funds to support open access resources (and to support faculty who want to contribute articles to them). Here’s how you can support open access resources.
Think open access only applies to online resources? You can bake your very own cookies in the shape of the open access logo with a cookie cutter printed from your 3D printer using some open access cookie cutter printer files. The scalable files are in .stl and .dae format and were created by Chip Wolfe from Hunt Library at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Download the open access cookie cutter files.
API stands for Application Programming Interface which allows external applications to access software or Web services data, in the latter case by using HTTP request messages, for recombination (mashup) or custom presentation by the external application.
Why use APIs?
Application programming interfaces essentially allow programs and online services to talk to each other. APIs provide a set of definitions and protocols for services to request and exchange data. Many library vendors provide public and key-based APIs to their services in order to allow customers to pull bibliographic and other data into local systems and websites.
For our purposes, we’ll only look at Web APIs.
Back in April you might remember the news that EBSCO was giving $1 million (or more) to help fund the development of a new open library services platform (LSP). American Libraries wrote about this on their blog post EBSCO Supports New Open Source Project. EBSCO has a Vice President of Open Source Platforms & Communities, Christopher Spalding, who is taking an active role in the project. At the time of EBSCO’s announcement the name of the project had not been announced.
FOLIO stands for the Future of Libraries is Open. It is currently a software platform to be used as a starting point to build library services. Consider FOLIO as a “cloud-based operating system” for applications.
The project is being led by the Denmark-based company Index Data headed by Sebastian Hammer (a panelist at the ALA 2016 Annual Conference) and the Open Library Environment (OLE) directed by Michael Winkler. The main source of funding comes from EBSCO. The Open Library Foundation, a nonprofit oversight organization, was set up to direct the project.
Index Data will be responsible for building the core platform which will be released as open source software under an Apache version 2.0 license. The FOLIO platform software can be downloaded and installed locally or hosted on cloud-based servers from library vendors such as EBSCO, SirsiDynix, and ByWater Solutions. Index Data intends to make the platform “as little as possible” and not create obstacles to development.
On top of the FOLIO platform, developers from library vendors, organizations, and member institutions will build modules, applications, and services. Apps will include traditional ILS service modules such as Acquisitions, Cataloging, and Circulation. We should eventually see LMS functionality including electronic resource management, OPAC, data conversion, and resource sharing. Native Linked Data output is not in the works but it is expected that this model will be supported.
Developers of existing library services can choose to port their applications to FOLIO or simply build integration points to their current systems. The FOLIO platform should make software with open APIs even more attractive to users.
In August, Index Data will release prototype code on GitHub. Developers can then turn their attention to building microservices. Note that although the FOLIO platform itself is open source and free, some of the premium apps built to run on it might be created and sold by library vendors.
FOLIO can also be thought of as a community of institutions and vendors working together. There are many ways to interact and get involved with the FOLIO community: