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Bulletin, December 2008/January 2009

Bulletin Editor, Irene TravisEditor's Desktop

Irene L. Travis, Editor

Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology

Editor’s Desktop
Few of our special sections are as truly comprehensive state-of-the-art surveys as the one we are pleased to present in this issue. Our guest editor, Eric Lease Morgan, has assembled an outstanding group of experts to address open source software in libraries, particularly open source integrated library systems (ILS). The six authors not only give us a good understanding of the open source movement, but also the pros and cons of open source library applications and the state of their development.

There are many variations and nuances in the definitions of open source software, but broadly, it is software that is distributed under one of a number of licensing arrangements that grant the licensees the right to modify the source code, which is included with the software, to fit their needs – provided that, if they distribute their modifications, they do so under an open source license. Open source software is not necessarily non-commercial, but many widely used examples, such as the web browser Firefox, are distributed without charge. Open source ILS systems are still young relative to the long-established commercial systems, but their functional capabilities and their established base are growing. 

Technology in libraries is also the focus of a column by Laura Krier of Simmons College, a student member of the Bulletin Advisory Board for 2008. Her thoughtful and reflective contribution considers the library’s problem in discovering how to integrate Web 2.0 applications in ways that will be useful and helpful to patrons.

The IA Column will return in the next issue, which will also include selected papers from the 2008 European IA Summit.

As I write this Editor’s Desktop, the ASIS&T Annual Meeting has just concluded in Columbus, Ohio, with a good turnout despite the economy. As has become our custom, the February/March issue of the Bulletin will feature many of the substantive and social events of the meeting through photographs and articles drawn from the activities. But in this issue of the Bulletin, Don Case, who assumed the ASIS&T presidency at the end of the meeting, draws from his inaugural address presented at the Annual Business Meeting to provide a taste of what’s to come during his term. Check it out in Don’s first President’s Page. 

I cannot complete these remarks without paying tribute to Don Kraft, my friend of 40 years, as he leaves the editorship of the Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology. Under his 24-year stewardship of the Journal, our flagship publication has retained its high ranking among journals in the field and has grown in size, scope and international stature. No one who has attended an ASIS&T Annual Meeting during Don’s tenure has been exempt from his exhortation: “Publish in JASIST” (nor from Kraftian humor). Fortunately, Don will no doubt continue in this vein as editor emeritus – retired or not. I join other members of ASIS&T in thanking him for his great contribution to the Society and to the field.