Re: [greenstone-users] Survey

From Stephen DeGabrielle
DateFri, 4 Mar 2005 13:41:34 +0930
Subject Re: [greenstone-users] Survey
In-Reply-To (cf79ee80502240645d1c2d03-mail-gmail-com)
Great questions Britta,

While its not for everybody I feel there are lots of good reasons to
use Greenstone.

I thought I might as well share them...

> Survey
> 1. How long did it take to perform the initial set-up of the
> Greenstone software?
A few minutes using the installer. A few more for my first test
collection. Just as easy on Mac OS X as on Windows. (I use both at

> 2. How much time did you spend on customizing the software?
I still am...It's great how customisable it is. This probably doesn't
count as 'customising' though.

> 3. What is the name of your digital collection, and what was the size
> of your initial collection?
Arada, and it had about 50 OCR'd rare books about colonial East Timor.

> 4. On a scale of 1-10, what was the experience and knowledge you had
> when starting the project?
> (1= minimal prior knowledge, 10= extensive knowledge)
3 Had spent some time researching digital libaries/ asset management
systems/ Digital object Repositories.

> 5. What is your professional background? Please list the years of work
> experience and any degrees that you have.
Librarianship/librarian technician/ currently doing degree in IT

> 6. Please name the key skills that you needed to perform the set up?
Familiarity with the issues involved with digital collections,
metadata search tools etc. probably a library technician background
and some reasonable IT literacy would be sufficient. (able to install
and remove software from your PC would be the minimum)

> 7. What are, in your opinion, the most important advantages when using
> open-source software instead of proprietary software?
Upgrades for proprietary software often cost, or could come with cost
at any time and without warning. You have to pay, or risk being
isolated with an older version often with a 'no longer supported'
clause from the supplier support team and a limited and shrinking pool
of staff available who know, or are willing to learn the system. (and
why should they)

Code escrow, as a major risk management strategy for proprietary
software is ok for the big guys who can afford developer teams but it
offers no security for smaller players who can't afford teams of
developers to maintain or migrate data from a system.

GPL Licencing offers predictability and risk reduction;
- no nasty unexpected upgrade costs with the risk of being left behind
if a new version comes out, or the project ends/company closes or is
aquired and the software is retired/abandoned etc.

> 8. Why did you choose the Greenstone software?
1. Fast searches, dublin core metadata and sophisticated search facilities.

2. Friendly searcher interface.

3. Good internationalisation/languages support in interface and search.

4. Runs (fast) on low cost hardware.

5. Scalable to bigger systems as use increases (with an
easy/inexpensive upgrade path). Searches are always lightening fast,
but a big box really makes collection building crackle.

6. Imports MARC metadata. Extensible Plugin Architecture for different
digital object types and metadata.

7. Open formats for metadata(XML/dublin core/other schemas) that is
easilly migratable if I do choose another system as [meta]data
migration is the killer cost for us whenever we do an upgrade.
Greensone now offers paths to go to other systems if needed.

8. GPL Licencing offers predictability and risk reduction - as above.


Stephen De Gabrielle