Lest I be criticized for unfairly calling out former employers in my recent Burn the Walled Gardens rant, I share news that the Rutgers University Libraries have boldly ventured into the world of open source software: RUcore Open Source Development. Huzzah! Thanks to the molotov-hurling Shaun Ellis, a peacenik/code monkey/musician extraordinaire, for all of his work and for bringing this to my attention.

On the RUcore open source page you can get a list of ongoing projects, a release schedule, and a rationale for their licensing decisions (i.e., choosing GPL 3).

The first project to be released (as of 2008/12/19) is the METS-based bibliographic utility, OpenMIC:<blockquote> OpenMIC is an open source, web-based cataloging tool that can be used as a standalone application or integrated with other repository architectures by a wide range of organizations. It provides a complete metadata creation system for analog and digital materials, with services to export these metadata in standard formats.

  • Low overhead and infrastructure requirements
  • Events-based model for management and rights documentation
  • Mapping and import from standard and in-house formats
  • Unicode and CJK vernacular character support

OpenMIC is a core application for the Moving Image Collections (MIC) initiative developed at the Rutgers University Libraries with funding from the Library of Congress. </blockquote>

I look forward to following along as Rutgers releases yet more of the tools they have developed as part of their impressive digital library infrastructure. It will be even more interesting to hear what their model will be for taking patches / commits from the broader open source community. These things do take time, even though I failed to show an appreciation for that in my original rant, but I am reminded (by Jonathan Rochkind) that it’s better to take the time and get it right. I cringe a bit to say that, knowing full well how things tend to languish in committees and fall victim to analysis paralysis in academia; surely there is some middle ground? There are some very talented and experienced folks at Rutgers, so I will be excited to see them take a leadership role in this space.

Go, Scarlet Knights!