"One pill makes you larger and one pill makes you small" -- Jefferson Airplane

Soooooo. I can't help but wonder at this point. Do I look like a cataloguer?

I know that as the last of a dying breed of generalists I can pass for a few things, but a *cataloguer*? Really? Did all of the heavy duty folks phone out of work?

I assure you, come to my house, see the mess, and be disabused of the notion that I can put order to chaos. I _like_ Chaos Theory and Complexity. (Which I ought post about sometime.) If you squint hard enough, maybe I'll blur into an Indexer. Indexers are to cataloguing what sociologists are to psychologists.

Yes I _have_ to catalogue as part of my jorb, but that doesn't mean I'm any good at it. I copy catalogue with style. I _can_ do a bit of original cataloguing, but really I'm inflicting that on the unsuspecting masses, much as with my reference ability. Proceed at your own risk.

Maybe I was just overstimulated from getting to meet antipodean Koha folk. If you've been living under a rock, or was born there as I was, Koha is the premier open source ILS. I am obviously too close to that project to opine neutrally at this point, but seriously, it's happy stuff.


see for yourself. :)

Which brings us to

None of this should work.

You accept that Patrons check out materials and magically bring them back, why can't you accept that the same good nature applies to working on a project? If you believe in compound interest, why not compound benefits of labour? If everyone gives a negligible amount of free time, or even just some people, say one in ten that download, how would you end up in the same place later on? A lot of these d00ds are just doing it for giggles. Really. Peer reviewed.


I related just that to an old guard type in relationship to why Open Source kicks proprietary tush today. He accidentally stepped on one of my many pet peeves. This one being

"Has anyone proven cost savings of Open Source over commercial systems? I mean commercial systems cost a little more, but the staff time for transitioning and everything..."

I feel dirty for honouring this sort of fallacious argument, given how I thought it was put to bed a very long time ago. But I'll humour this a bit. Let's say I'm _VERY_ conservative. And deprecated. So let's go for IBM's opinion.


Let's just tackle the heart of this question, too. The meat of the question somehow presumes that there isn't a learning curve when one migrates from a commercial system to another commercial system. Wha? It's always traumatic. Thanks to no standards in the Patron data realm, this *always* needs to be bodged. Thanks to differences in the interface, folks *always* need to acclimate. How is this _more difficult_ or _a timesink_ in an Open Source environment where you're free to tailor the interface to your Staff's whim?

Let's say you upgrade from current Koha to next Koha version and present commercial to next commercial version. The folks calling the shots at corporate are going to dictate which features are added, and how the interface looks. With OS, you get to pick the features you want, you are involved in the discussion about the interface and as a result, I'd argue there's less training involved since you've been on board the whole time.

How is trading your fat annual licence fee in for, I dunno $0, a bad thing? You've just nuked a perpetual cost! Let's just say that you pay exactly the same for a Koha server as you do for vendor hardware. (You won't. Mine is essentially a glorified PAC.) The freedom from that annual fee alone will spank the pants off of a commercial product in a very short time even if the initial fees for both were equal. (Which they most likely are not thanks to proper vs. sloppy coding resulting in performance differences.)

Further, I consider the virtue of not having your data held hostage by a vendor a good chunk of peace, annual licences aside.

What support are you getting from your current provider that is soooooo stellar you never want to leave? Is the product really that great? Or did they just ditch you because they'd rather not put the effort into rewriting their terrible code after shamelessly milking it for decades?

It's cheaper. By a lot. We'll just use my numbers, for argument's sake.

Server about $700 (might have been $750; this was a while back now)
Free setup ala Husband (I realise not everyone has that, but there are Linux user groups dying to hook you up.)
No software costs

Consortial dues $900 and rising steadily.

I'm already about $200 up in the first year.

But wait, there's more. I'd get a nasty $2000 per staff terminal charge. With Koha, I can have ALL computers function as staff terminals. We'll just pretend that two of my Staffers don't bring their own laptops, which they do. So, slap another $8000 on the fire. And these are the little numbers according to olde IBM.

When it came to training, there was a bunch of smoke and mirrors. I'm a pretty good user, so I can really train myself to use most features. I then turn around and train my Staff. I tend to train on slow days when things wouldn't be happening anyway.

If you're making the case for an Academic Library's ROI, there's a good chance that you're using staff that you already pay. If you arrange your migration training to occur at a low point for support tickets, your staff might be doing this when they wouldn't really be performing other duties as necessary.

I'm generally not big on calculating labour costs - it always assumes that my employees would be occupied with something else every second they're in the office. I'm sure there are situations where this is true, or a lot closer to true than where I am, but that's not my world. Just as you can parse out the amount of time you think things spend, but that's an exercise in bureaucracy that in effect most likely works just like reference question tallies. The "training" that I last received from two separate vendors consisted of about an hour or two of in person time and a fat manual primed for the Abandonment.

As I was gossiping round today, I got the impression that some of the commercials had caught on to the whole listserv community knowledge base thing. Only now you're paying them so that you can do their job...Hmmm.

So, Librarians of the World Unite, you've nothing to lose but your crappy ILS.