A comparison between select open source and proprietary integrated library systems

Joseph Pruett, Namjoo Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


As libraries face budget cuts, open source integrated library systems are an attractive alternative to proprietary choices. Even though open source software is free to acquire, administrators must consider factors other than initial purchase price. This study aims to provide direction and context for libraries considering migration to an open source integrated library system. The comparison is qualitative and uses case studies, license agreements and copyright law, and user manuals and brochures. These comparisons divide into four areas: functions, adoption and technical support, usability, and economics. Major functions that libraries need in an integrated library system are available for open source software. There are no significant differences in usability between open source and proprietary integrated library systems. Internal IT provides a significant role in open source adoption. The relatively new type of open source software licensing may cause confusion for libraries and software developers. This study considers initial migrations to open source integrated library systems as a key component in overall software adoption. The study qualitatively examines the migration process comparing extant case studies. In addition, the examination of licensing agreements and copyright as well as a comparative review of essential functions are provided.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)435-454
Number of pages20
JournalLibrary Hi Tech
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2 2013


  • Integrated library systems
  • Library management systems
  • Library systems
  • Open source
  • Open source software
  • Software licenses
  • Technical support
  • Usability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Library and Information Sciences


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