Kochtanek and Matthews
Chapter 4 – Open Systems
Value added resellers are companies that came together to help companies integrate
hardware, software, and networking. In the library these include Epictech and Endeavor. Open
Systems allow collaboration between software and hardware, ease in operating, and inter-vendor
cooperation. Freeware are programs that are available free of charge and are freely distributed.
Shareware is free, but the vendor asks those using it to make a donation. This open software
The Open Source Initiative has developed a definition of Open Source Software. First it
allows free redistribution. The programs source code and compiled code are easily accessible.
Modifications and derived works must be allowed. Modifications can be kept separate from the
original base software. There can be no discrimination against persons or groups. Additional
licenses are not required. The license must not be specific to a product. The license must not
contaminate other software.
The first good reason to open source is to stretch a budget. Companies will release open
source software in order to gain dominance over the market. This also creates a market for
future add-ons. It helps establish a brand name. The Open Source software may open the door
for sales of subscriptions.
In the library, Koha provides an open source system that cataloging, circulation,
acquisitions, OPAC modules. OpenBook was developed by the technology resource system. It
has OPAC, circulation, and cataloging modules. It uses Z39.50 searching and is available in
many languages. OCLC offers the Advanced Library Collection Management Environment,
Pears, Owen, SiteSearch, and dbutils. MyLibrary@NCState gives access to discipline specific
databases. Open Sourcing has hidden costs. First, a library needs a large enough server. Second
they need support for the hardware, software, applications, and databases. In addition they may
need consulting. These may even require additional staff members.
Chapter 6 – Standards and Standards Organizations.
Standards are criteria against which entries may be judged for consistency or uniformity.
Standards provide a common language and stability. They save money and provide for
cooperation and competition. They help self regulate. Standards can be formal, de facto, ad hoc,
or industry. Formal standards are given by an accredited standardizing body. MARC is an
example of a formal standard. Industry standards are developed by the dominance of a particular
company in that industry. Adopting a standard is voluntary. Standardizing bodies include
ANSI, NISO, and NIST.
Information Technology standards can apply to bibliography, communications, search
and retrieval, and markup. MARC is the worldwide standard for bibliography. Another format
is the information interchange format. With the advent of the internet the Dublin Core has
proved an important bibliographic standard along with RDF. Communication standards support
the interchange of information. The TCP/IP is the communication standard that the internet is
based on. Search and retrieval standards include the Z39.50 and the Z39.58. The Z39.50
restricts access to authorized users, browses indices and thesauri, retrieves selected content, and
removes duplicates and sorts. Markup Standards include SGML, HTML, and XML. XML is
powerful because it is extensible. It allows for deep structures needed in databases. It can check
data for structural validity.
Creating NISO Standards
Standards are created after years of implementation. It may take up to five years for an
idea to become a standard. Because technology changes so quickly standards must respond to
real needs and real problems. NISO sponsors pre-standard works shops that bring together
professionals. This way leaders in the industry can work together to solve problems. Those that
work on standards committees require expertise and vision for the future. When forming
standards, NISO asks members of the community to review and react to the possible standards.
When an idea finally becomes a standard, NISO publicizes the new standard as widely as
possible. As soon as different organizations and companies adopt the standard the more
interoperability there will be. This was an interesting webpage, but I found it to be sufficiently
vague. They do not give many specifics or even a timetable of the typical standard-making
Standards for the Global Information Infrastructure
One important area of development relates to Z39.50, a US national standard that was
adopted in 1992. IN 1995 it was expanded and has better search and data retrieval capabilities.
In the standards, the Z39.50 is given many uses but there is a basic attribute set described in the
standard. Each application domain can determine how the data gained from Z39.50 is used.
Z39.56 is the Serial item /contribution identifier standard. This standard defines data
elements and a structure for standardized code to identify serial items. The newest version
includes a code structure identifier to define the type of SICI being dealt with. There is no
international version of this standard. The interlibrary loan protocol was approved by the ISO in
1991. This was developed to be able to transfer ILL information between systems that use
There are many of character set standards. ISO 10648 and Unicode are two of these
standards. The goal of Unicode is to make it possible to compute every written character. These
standards have not changed the world dramatically yet. However computer and software
companies are dedicated to implementing Unicode in the future. The motivation is strong
because if you cannot write in a certain language with a computer it is not as marketable.
There are also Internet Community Standards. Internet standards are developed by the
Internet Engineering Task Force. They identify and propose solutions to operational problems,
specify protocols for development and usage, and provide a forum for the exchange of relevant
information. Their work on HTML and HTTP are especially important to librarians. They also
standardize the format for the URL which also had a great effect on librarians. They added
definitions for new objects and protocols into the URL specification.
Stair and Reynolds
Reading this chapter helped me review what I have already learned about computer
hardware and software. I got a refresher course on CPU’s and also on the different kinds of
software out there. The end of the chapter does bring up some important issues and trends in the
computer software world. One issue is software bugs. Because software is created by humans
there are usually 5 to 15 bugs in every 1000 line of code. These bugs are not usually resolved
before the software is released because companies want to get their software out as soon as
possible. Plus they can make more money off of updates. Most software is licensed and
copyrighted. Some of it is copyrighted for unlimited use on one or two personal computers.
Other times the ser is charged for the amount they use it. This is a common trend for use of
software in larger networks. Software use is becoming increasingly globalized and software and
hardware companies have to determine ways to reach those in the far reaching areas of the globe.
Some companies contract out local companies to provide support. Other companies have turned
to outsourcing to a third party distributor. This supplier acts as a middle man and provides
Chapter 4 – Application Software
Because I already use or have used much of the software talked about. This chapter was
a review for me. However, I did learn some valuable tricks to software that I have and also
learned about some software that should be applied in different kinds of libraries. Microsoft
Word has a find/replace function that will locate all the words in a document and replace them
with another word. Word Processors also have an option that summarizes key points in a text
document. I never knew that I could have something that would really help me save time. Basic
database software is a valuable way to organize information but is often too simplistic to be
useful for complex information systems. Microsoft Access cannot do what the more advanced
systems do. Integrated software applications are applications such as Microsoft Word that
incorporate the most commonly used tools of many productivity software programs. Sometimes
these come in a bundle or a suite. An example of a suite is Microsoft Office. These are
compatible and cheaper as a group.
The educational and reference software could be applicable to the internet. Some
educational software can teach computer skills, languages, or test prep. Blackboard and WebCT
use course management software in order to administer online courses. Companies sell CD-
ROMS with encyclopedias, atlases, and thesauri. More specified medical and law references
also have a good market. I wonder though if the era of the CD-ROM encyclopedia is ending.
Information is easier to access over the internet and simpler to handle than CD-ROMs. Even if it
comes at a cost, I believe internet reference is easier.
Communication software is also important in a library. Groupware is software that helps
people who are in different locations work together using email and online scheduling.
Videoconferencing sometimes requires extra software. Software is sometimes available at a
discount for students or educators. Also when buying used software it is important to check the
license agreement. As I discussed earlier freeware and shareware are good options for obtaining
Chapter 5 – Using System Software
I’ve always thought that there were only two operating systems – Microsoft and Mac. I
admit I use Microsoft Windows but really only because that’s all I’ve ever known. It was
interesting to learn about eh other operating systems that are out there. Mac OS – the latest
version being OS X – was first released in 1984 and was designed to allow point and click
navigation and a personally affordable computer. Macs are recognized for superior graphics,
better reliability and better document recovery. Mac systems tend to be more expensive than
windows. The Mac is based on the UNIX operating system. UNIX was developed in 1969 and
is used primarily with mainframes as a network operating system. At first any programmer was
allowed to use the code and modify it to his or her needs. Now any vendor that meets testing
requirements can use UNIX code to run specifically to their hardware. Linux open source OS
that was developed by a Finnish university student. He wanted to create a free operating system
to run on his home computer. The code was put on the internet and has a reputation of being
very stable. Others can change the code to make it more reliable and it is renowned for being
Operating Systems have five major functions. First it provides a way for the user to
interact with the computer. Second, it manages the CPU. Third, it manages the memory and
storage. It manages the systems hardware and peripheral devices. Lastly, it provides a means
for software to interact with the CPU. Pretty much without an OS none of the amazing things we
do on a computer would be possible.
Well, it’s nice to know that we have options rather than having to spend thousands of
dollars on all of the commercial software. An open access sweet called OpenOffice will provide
word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations software that are comparable to the Microsoft
Office suite. Writer has a similar look and feel and a user can save the document as .doc to make
it usable in Word. Calc offers the same computing capabilities as Excel. Impress, the
presentation software, does not seem that impressive. It offers fewer options than PowerPoint.
The most popular open source database software is mysql.com. Some open source web design
software is called NVU and I’m excited to check it out. Linux is an excellent OS alternative and
can be downloaded from the internet. In order to function it needs a 300-Mhz processor, a 128
MB RAM, and a 5 GB hard drive. If I ever decide to install Linux, I need to remember that it
will overwrite all of my Windows XP files and reconfigure my hard drive,
Some people have decided that it would be effective to build their own computer. There
are some advantages and disadvantages to this. This way you would get exactly what you want,
you can use higher quality components, and a fantastic feeling of satisfaction assuming that it
works. On the other hand there is no technical support if things go wrong, you need to examine
technical specifications, and it doesn’t necessarily save money.