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Open-Source Software for Libraries


Digital Repositories

DSpace “is a turnkey institutional repository application.”

Greenstone “is a suite of software for building and distributing digital library collections. It provides a new way of organizing information and publishing it on the Internet or on CD-ROM. Greenstone is produced by the New Zealand Digital Library Project at the University of Waikato, and developed and distributed in cooperation with UNESCO and the Human Info NGO. It is open-source, multilingual software, issued under the terms of the GNU General Public License. ”

Email Ticket Manager

Brimir is built on Ruby on Rails (instead of PHP) and “… allows you to send and receive support emails through a friendly web interface. Received emails are converted to tickets.” It’s free to set up on your own server or there’s a hosted version for $20/month.


Evergreen, “a highly-scalable software for libraries that helps library patrons find library materials, and helps libraries manage, catalog, and circulate those materials, no matter how large or complex the libraries. Evergreen is open source software, freely licensed under the GNU GPL.”

Koha, “the first free and open source software library automation package (ILS). Development is sponsored by libraries of varying types and sizes, volunteers, and support companies from around the world.”

OpenBiblio “is an easy to use, open source, automated library system written in PHP containing OPAC, circulation, cataloging, and staff administration functionality. The purpose of this project is to provide a cost effective library automation solution for private collections, clubs, churches, schools, or public libraries.”

NewGenLib (NGL) “is an outcome of collaboration between Verus and Kesavan Institute of Information and Knowledge management. NGL is developed and maintained by Verus Solutions and Kesavan Institute has provided the domain expertise.” It provides many basic ILS functions as well as having several social media functions buit in.

SOPAC (Social Online Public Access Catalog) “is a module for the Drupal CMS that provides true integration of your library catalog system with the power of the Drupal content management system while allowing users to tag, rate, and review your holdings. User input is then incorporated into the discovery index so that SOPAC becomes a truly community-driven catalog system.”


“The key goals of The Commons on Flickr are to firstly show you hidden treasures in the world’s public photography archives, and secondly to show how your input and knowledge can help make these collections even richer.”

Gimp is an open-source photo manipulation program. It’s very powerful but has a reputation for not being user-friendly. Fortunately the user-interface has been much improved, making it a very usable option.


Brushtail is a open source intranet suitable for public libraries.


WordPress “is web software you can use to create a beautiful website or blog. We like to say that WordPress is both free and priceless at the same time. The core software is built by hundreds of community volunteers, and when you’re ready for more there are thousands of plugins and themes available to transform your site into almost anything you can imagine. Over 25 million people have chosen WordPress to power the place on the web they call “home” — we’d love you to join the family.”

Drupal “is an open source content management platform powering millions of websites and applications. It’s built, used, and supported by an active and diverse community of people around the world.”

Library-DIY is a library website adaptation of the Drupal content management system released by the Portland State University Library.

SubjectsPlus “sprang from the loins (more or less) of Pirate Source, developed by the Joyner Library at East Carolina University. It became abandonware, and with permission, an expanded version of this original software was open sourced and renamed SubjectsPlus. Development was undertaken at the Ithaca College Library, and now the University of Miami Libraries. Many people have contributed to SP over the years.” It does several things: subject guides, a staff list, database list, FAQs and a suggestion box.

LimeSurvey “an open-source survey application, lists a number of features, including csv import/export and basic statistical analysis.”


Open Journal Systems (OJS) “is a journal management and publishing system that has been developed by the Public Knowledge Project through its federally funded efforts to expand and improve access to research. OJS assists with every stage of the refereed publishing process, from submissions through to online publication and indexing.”

Scribus “is an Open Source program that brings professional page layout to Linux, BSD UNIX, Solaris, OpenIndiana, GNU/Hurd, Mac OS X, OS/2 Warp 4, eComStation, Haiku and Windows desktops with a combination of press-ready output and new approaches to page design. Underneath a modern and user-friendly interface, Scribus supports professional publishing features, such as color separations, CMYK and spot colors, ICC color management, and versatile PDF creation.” It can be used for professional-looking newsletters, posters, anything you need to do with type.


ReservesDirect “is free, open-source software that manages electronic and physical library materials reserved for university courses. It contains staff interfaces for uploading or creating reserves and managing courses, instructor interfaces for uploading and managing electronic reserve materials directly, and student interfaces for viewing reserve materials from the web and on mobile devices. While electronic reserves can be used out of the box, use for physical library reserves will require additional integration work with your institution’s integrated library system.”

WUBS (Web User Booking System) “has been developed at Loughborough University Library to allow online booking of resources (rooms, PCs, etc) directly by end users. It has been in production use at Loughborough since October 2004.”

Resource Directory

The Collection Workflow Integration System (CWIS, pronounced see-wis) “is free, open source software designed to assemble, organize, and share collections of data about resources. CWIS conforms to international and academic standards for metadata. CWIS was created to help build collections of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) resources and connect them to NSF’s National Science Digital Library and other STEM education channels. However, the software can be (and is being) used for a wide variety of other purposes.”


Moodle “is a Course Management System (CMS), also known as a Learning Management System (LMS) or a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). It is a Free web application that educators can use to create effective online learning sites.”

ATutor “is an Open Source Web-based Learning Management System (LMS) used to develop and deliver online courses. Administrators can install or update ATutor in minutes, develop custom themes to give ATutor a new look, and easily extend its functionality with feature modules. Educators can quickly assemble, package, and redistribute Web-based instructional content, easily import prepackaged content, and conduct their courses online.”

Guide on the Side “a freely available tool that allows librarians to quickly and easily create online, interactive tutorials that are based on the principles of authentic and active learning.”