Decision Support Tools

Last updated November 6, 2012.

Deciding if open source software is right for your library can be a complex decision involving many factors. Will your library's technology group support open source software? Is there a way to compare comparable costs with proprietary solutions? What unique factors should I look at when I consider adopting open source software?

The tools described below were written by consultants experienced in open source software and helping libraries decide if open source is right for a library and what open source packages are a match for a library's needs. Each tool includes a self-guided narrative that explains how to use the tools and interpret the results.

Control versus Responsibility: a survey tool. Are you and your library more naturally inclined towards open source systems or proprietary systems? Do you want to host your systems yourself or have someone host it for you? Answering the 40 questions in this survey will help you decide.

Questions for a Library's Parent IT Organization. Do you rely on your city, school district, college or university for technology support? This tool is a series of questions that will want to ask that support organization to make sure you each understand the requirements for supporting open source software.

Costs of Open Source Software. One of the strong virtues of open source software is that you don't pay licensing costs for the right to run the software. But there are other factors that need to be accounted for in deciding whether open source software makes financial sense for your library.

Software Selection Methodology. When you get to the stage of picking the software that is right for your library, you'll need a process for deciding among alternatives. This document describes the factors to consider when making that software selection decision.

Integrated Library System Software Selection Methodology Picking an integrated library system? This document guides you through questions and features to compare that are specific to ILSs.

Discovery Layer Software Selection Methodology. Discovery layers are becoming the common gateway for patrons to find library resources. Building on the general software selection methodology (above), this document focuses on discovery layer requirements.