Slides from MLC talk on free software

I spoke at the MLC Annual Meeting a few weeks ago, and the slides from that talk are attached below. This talk was oriented toward the majority-administrator audience, focusing on the key aspects of why free software matters to me:

  • the freedoms to use, copy, study, and modify software
  • the dominance of free software in the marketplace
  • how we can make libraries better by understanding the above points

In the slides I highlight the Michigan Evergreen implementation, whose implementors were in the audience and had just gone live with the first two sites, quite happily, it seems. It's a very powerful argument to be able to say to a roomful of people "it's already all around you, and you don't even have to go first now." Makes a speaker's job easier!

I've also taken another crack at framing the comparison between the Carnegie library development program and the availability of free software for building libraries in a more intuitive manner. For years I've been making this case, but it's never clear to me whether it resonates or sticks with people. Hopefully you'll see the effect in action.

After doing slides this way for a few years now, I'm fairly well committed to the "many many slides with few few words on each" approach. It seems to help keep focus and balance the story I want to tell with the power of a very few words: in this case, "use study copy modify".

Oh, and always, Always, ALWAYS make copies of your slides available as a PDF on a thumb drive, your email inboxes, a network drive, and anything else before you go to sleep if you're due to give a talk the next day. I needed the pull up every one of those and to beg for the help of several incredibly helpful folks at the event to finally get the talk working. I've long done this but never been so glad I do until I really needed 'em all this time!



Enjoyed this; I really like working with the MLC generally. Their Evergreen program is going well and none of them are techie superstars to begin with, they just learned what they needed to to make the project work and they're good librarians. It's a great example for other libraries. State Library of Kansas is doing some similar things with Koha & having good results as well.