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What Is OSS ILS?

  • The ILS is key to the operation of most library systems
  • Proprietary systems are controlled by vendors and closed to libraries

The Integrated Library System represents one of the largest commitments for any library and has largely been the domain of proprietary vendors who charge yearly fees to maintain the system. With the advent of Open Source Software Integrated Library Systems (OSS ILS) such as Koha and Evergreen, librarians now have the option to gain greater control over their data than ever before.

  • Source code is freely available for use, modification, and re-distribution
  • Software is free to download, install, and use

OSS ILS refers to Open Source Software Integrated Library Systems. The open source software movement is based on the belief that users should have access to the source code of the software they use. Users are generally free to use, modify, and redistribute the software back to the community.

  • Fully featured software that provides the same functionality as proprietary software
  • Libraries can customize and build new functionality as needed
  • User-created code is donated back to the community

OSS ILS have all the functionality of proprietary ILS – including modules for the acquisitions, cataloging, and circulation of materials and serials, as well as online public access catalogs (OPACs) for users – with the source code for the software being available to the libraries themselves. The availability of the code enables libraries to change and improve their own ILS without having to go through a vendor with a commercial product.  Most libraries using OSS ILS name these features as the biggest benefits: the flexibility to control one’s ILS and data and the ability to turn to a robust community for support and information sharing.