Control versus Responsibility: A Survey Tool


Last updated March 9, 2013.

This survey tool will help you determine two things. First, it will help you determine the degree you wish to participate and use open source software. Second, it will help you determine the degree you want support hardware and software needs locally or remotely. After honestly answering the questions, calculating the results, and plotting the results on the included matrix you will learn the degree you desire control over your software environment and the amount of responsibility you are willing to take when it comes to your hardware/software needs.

This tool was inspired by Thomas Gapinski's blog posting, "Control vs. Responsibility: How to choose the best software for your business" on Motionbuzz, where he says:

Whether you're the CEO of a Fortune 500 company or the sole-proprietor of a local boutique, you need to be aware of the different types of web-based business software before you're able to intelligently pick the best option for your organization.

The awareness of different types of web-based solutions is just as apropos for libraries as it is for businesses. This survey tool is rooted in the ideas outlined by Gapinski.

Take the survey, plot the results, and depending on where your results fall in the matrix, read how you might best spend your hardware and software resources. The survey is available in two formats: the interactive version will calculate the scores and generate a plot for you; the static version is designed to be printed out and includes instructions for calculating your score. Both will lead to a page for interpreting your results.

The Conversation

Librarians are always the responsible parties when it comes to the success or failure of a given system which runs on at their library. This survey should have graphed the results on one axis. Namely, power or a lack thereof. If you want a powerful system that you have power over, use open source. If you want to leave yourself and the future employees of your institution without power, be it over your catalog, your patrons personal information, or your financial records, by all means use a hosted solution such as LibLime or Sirsi-Dynex.