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Oxford University opens up for National Library Week, EFF organizes college activists, and more

Fri, 18/04/2014 - 9:00am
Open source news for your reading pleasure. April 12-18, 2014

In this week's edition of our open source news roundup, we look at Oxford University's (temporarily) open resources, an open source graffiti-spraying drone, and more.

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Digital Public Library of America triples its free collections and more in year one

Fri, 18/04/2014 - 8:00am

When the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) opened last year, Carolyn Fox covered it's progress after one month in her article: Review of the new Digital Public Library of America. In it she explained that the purpose of the Library is "to provide a large-scale, national public digital library of America's archives, libraries, museums, and cultural institutions into one portal." Carolyn also pointed out the DPLA's open attributes, like:

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OpenStack Icehouse brings new features for the enterprise

Fri, 18/04/2014 - 7:00am

Deploying an open source enterprise cloud just got a little bit easier yesterday with the release of the newest version of the OpenStack platform: Icehouse. To quote an email from OpenStack release manager Thierry Carrez announcing the release, "During this cycle we added a new integrated component (Trove), completed more than 350 feature blueprints, and fixed almost 3000 reported bugs in integrated projects alone!"

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The maker movement helps transform our public libraries

Thu, 17/04/2014 - 11:00am

The small town of Bethlehem, New York purchased a 3D printer and started teaching classes at its public library recently—jumpstarting the community's knowledge of advanced manufacturing and building upon a new way of doing things in a world where physical bookstores are dissappearing.

It's true. Public libraries are reinventing themselves. Today they are becoming less of a place that hosts physical books and more of a center where people collaborate, commune, and learn new things.

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Resources for libraries exploring the open source option

Thu, 17/04/2014 - 9:00am

Libraries of all types have the same questions about open source software that are asked by technologists in other fields. Does open source make sense for me? What open source packages mesh well with the skills already in my organization? Where can I go to get training, documentation, hosting, and/or contract software development for a specific open source package?

With funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, we set out to build tools that help libraries answer these questions. These questions and answers may be useful to others as well.

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How to introduce open source to your public library

Thu, 17/04/2014 - 7:00am

I was intrigued to read this recent article in The Guardian about public libraries’ new role as community problem solvers. If you read carefully into this article you’ll notice the author talks about libraries becoming more involved with "proactive community engagement."

This means that libraries are looking to community members as partners to help solve community problems. In the open source community, we’re familiar with how well these methods can work. In open source, different players contribute to group projects according to their own personal strengths. The results can be far greater than anyone originally imagines.

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The story of Koha, the first open source library management system

Wed, 16/04/2014 - 11:00am

A small public library serving a population of 30,000 in New Zealand developed and released the world’s first open source library management system in 2000. Horowhenua Library Trust named the system Koha, which is a New Zealand Māori custom meaning gift or contribution.

This is a story of why we developed Koha and how it has changed the way we, and millions of others, work.

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Giving rise to the cloud with OpenStack Heat

Wed, 16/04/2014 - 9:00am

Setting up an application server in the cloud isn't that hard if you're familiar with the tools and your application's requirements. But what if you needed to do it dozens or hundreds of times, maybe even in one day? Enter Heat, the OpenStack Orchestration project. Heat provides a templating system for rolling out infrastructure within OpenStack to automate the process and attach the right resources to each new instance of your application.

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Open data hackathon tackles cultural preservation

Wed, 16/04/2014 - 8:00am

More and more galleries, libraries, archives and museums (GLAMs) are digitizing their collections to make them accessible online and to preserve our heritage for future generations. By January 2014, over 30 million objects have been made available via Europeana—among which over 4.5 million records were contributed from German institutions.

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Winners of the Opensource.com 2014 Community Awards

Wed, 16/04/2014 - 7:00am

Every year Opensource.com awards members of our community who have excelled in contributing and sharing stories about how open source is changing the world.

This year we present the 2014 Opensource.com Community Awards to these outstanding community members in the following categories.

The winners are...

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Web-publishing for libraries and the robust community of Omeka

Tue, 15/04/2014 - 11:00am

Understandably, software developers might wonder how a bunch of historians ended up shepherding an open source content management system into the world, but in the case of Omeka the trajectory is a logical one that stems from years of work in open access public history and cultural heritage projects.

Omeka is a leading open source collections-based web publishing platform for cultural heritage institutions, researchers, scholars, and students, developed by the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (RRCHNM) and the growing open source developer community it supports. It is released under the GPLv 3.0 license.

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Open source library system Evergreen rewards the community

Tue, 15/04/2014 - 9:00am

As a systems librarian at an academic institution, I am a conduit between those who want to access the resources our library offers and my colleagues who describe the resources on behalf of researchers. I direct our limited development resources so that our systems can best meet the needs of all of our users. In their paper, Schwarz and Takhteyev claim that software freedom makes "it possible for the modifications to be done by those actors who have the best information about their value [and] are best equipped to carry them out."

Evergreen, as an open source library system, enables me to invest my time so that my work benefits not only our institution, but all other Evergreen-using institutions when I offer my local work to the project as a whole. This focus on the improvement of the project as a whole, rather than site-specific enhancements, is a broadly shared principle of our development community.

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Unsurpassed open filmmaking on feature length movie Gooseberry

Tue, 15/04/2014 - 7:00am

For animators working with free and open source software, nothing compares to Blender. A fully-featured 3D animation suite, it offers a huge array of tools that individuals and small studios need: modeling, rendering, motion tracking, and more.

Volunteers power Blender. Artists, visual effects artists, and hobbyists alike contribute to the tool, facilitated by the Dutch Blender Foundation. Now, that same group of volunteers is planning to create a feature length 3D animated film called Gooseberry, and they're seeking help via crowdfunding.

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Five open source tools libraries need to know about

Mon, 14/04/2014 - 11:00am

There was a time when working in the library I found it very frustrating (as many librarians do) that there were so few options for software that actually did what I needed. In libraries we're so used to there being this vendor=software model. Where one vendor controls a product and while there might be other similar products, they too are controlled by a vendor. 

This is why libraries need to take a closer look at open source software.

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Win books and participate in Open Library Week

Mon, 14/04/2014 - 9:00am

This week Opensource.com will be featuring articles on open source tools for libraries and sharing stories about experiences using open source in the library setting.

Our authors come from an array of backgrounds, but they have one thing in common: they know firsthand and want to help more libraries to understand the power of open source. Serving the community, managing the library system, and providing quality care are all aspects of what makes open source a better choice for libraries.

We are also running a contest! Enter for a chance to win a book of your choice from O'Reilly Media plus five books for your favorite public or academic library of choice. Wow!

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Book contest for Open Library Week

Mon, 14/04/2014 - 8:00am

It's Open Library Week at Opensource.com, and we're celebrating open source tools and methods for libraries with a contest.

Enter for a chance to win two books of your choice from O'Reilly Media. When you enter, be sure to select your favorite public library becuase they could win too. If you win, the library you selected will recieve five free books of their choice.

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Open source achievements based on merit, not age

Mon, 14/04/2014 - 7:00am

Lauren Egts is a student who loves technology. She teaches children and adults alike about computer programming, presenting about Raspberry Pi and Scratch at local area Mini Maker Faires and at the Akron Linux User Group. She's enrolled in the Hathaway Brown School's Science, Research, and Engineering program, and is a member of her school's robotics team, The Fighting Unicorns. She also won a 2014 Ohio Affiliate Award for Aspirations in Computing from the National Center for Women in Technology.

Learn more about Lauren and her ties to the open source way in this Community Spotlight interview.

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Open source embroidery creates a niche stitch with the EmbroiderModder

Sat, 12/04/2014 - 1:00pm

There is exactly one Windows machine left in my house. I feel like I barely even know how to use it anymore, with the exception of its dedicated purpose: it runs my embroidery machine. And you only think whatever the latest video game you tried to crack was proprietary, locked-up madness. It takes two USB dongles in the computer that runs the embroidery machine—one for the software that drives the machine and one for the design software. You know that means it costs a small fortune. Thus, I've regularly looked for the latter (I'm not holding out any hope for the former), but had no luck until Embroidermodder 2 launched its Kickstarter campaign.

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NASA releases code, National Robotics Week, and more

Fri, 11/04/2014 - 9:00am
Open source news for your reading pleasure. April 5-11, 2014, 2014

In this week's edition of our open source news roundup, we look at the new OpenDaylight internship, National Robotics Week, and more.

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Transparent civic improvement with crowdfunding platform Neighbor.ly

Fri, 11/04/2014 - 7:00am

There are two processes in the public sphere that we all depend on but that few of us really understand. And what's worse is that both are in trouble.

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