Open Source, Open Minds?An Investigation into Attitudes towards Open Source Library Management Systems in UK Higher Education Libraries’

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Type Article
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)399-423
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013
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– This paper aims to report a small-scale study that investigated attitudes to open source library management systems (LMS)s in UK higher education libraries. The study sought to establish why the sector has been slow to adopt this technology, and how attitudes towards it in UK universities might change in the future.

– A quantitative online questionnaire was sent to all 181 libraries within the UK higher education sector and received a response rate of 46.4 per cent. The questionnaire was followed by qualitative telephone interviews with five selected professionals.

– UK higher education libraries rely on peer feedback when choosing a LMS. With limited experience and a need for strong commercial support given uncertainty about staffing in the present financial climate, HE librarians are reluctant to choose open source LMSs. Participants also demonstrated a lack of motivation to change from current LMSs, suggesting limited adoption of alternatives in the near future. A higher number of questionnaire respondents reported considering adopting an open source LMS than in Adamson et al.; however, this may be due to open source advocates being more likely to participate.

– Drawing on Adamson's survey as a starting point, this study enriches the body of knowledge on open source LMSs by reporting and reflecting on the results of a survey and set of interviews with higher education information professionals. It adds to the small but growing literature in this field.


  • higher education, integrated library systems, library management systems, LMS, open source