I recently joined an excellent discussion list,web4lib, hosted by Webjunction. The stated purpose of the list is:
"The Web4Lib electronic discussion is for the discussion of issues relating to the creation, management, and support of library-based World-Wide Web servers, services, and applications."
and the audience is:
"Web4Lib is specifically aimed toward librarians and library staff involved in World-Wide Web management, but anyone is welcome to join the discussion. Those not interested in a library-oriented Web discussion may wish to join one of the general Web discussions hosted by the W3 Organization. There are presently around 3,400 subscribers world wide and an average of 15-20 messages every day."
I find it to be a continually enlightening and educational experience. The members are all very generous with their knowledge and information- and everyday I learn about more open source software, more open access initiatives, and have come to realize how much is going on in the world of information access.
Today, for example, in response to one posting inquiring about sharing content between libraries, a respondent pointed toward institutional respository software, offering 5 links to additional information. Following the links led to an intriguing look at what's happening in this field.
EPrints is one application with a demo site. "EPrints is an open source software package for building open access repositories that are compliant with the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting. It shares many of the features commonly seen in Document Management systems, but is primarily used for institutional repositories and scientific journals. Eprints has been developed at the University of Southampton and released under a GPL license."
The demo shows more clearly than words exactly what's so great about this type of software.
Also interesting are RefBase, "web-based, platform-independent, multi-user interface for managing scientific literature & citations", Fedora("A Fedora Repository provides a general-purpose management layer for digital objects, and containers that aggregate mime-typed datastreams (e.g., digital images, XML files, metadata). Out-of-the-box Fedora includes the necessary software tools to ingest, manage, and provide basic delivery of objects with few or no custom disseminators, or can be used as a backend to a more monolithic user interface.") and DSpace: "Over 200 academic institutions and cultural organizations around the world have adopted DSpace – as a digital repository for articles, books, courseware, journals, websites, theses and more.
DSpace is freely available so you can customize it and extend it to suit your needs."