The LYRASIS mission is to catalyze and enable equitable access to the world’s knowledge and cultural heritage – one of the ways we support this mission is to provide organizational homes and hosting services for open source software programs. Open Source Software (OSS) is defined as a type of software in which source code is released under a license in which the copyright holder grants users the rights to use, study, change, and distribute the software to anyone and for any purpose. OSS is widely adopted amongst GLAM (galleries, libraries, archives and museums) institutions, but activities surrounding OSS are often unknown and/or poorly documented. 

The LYRASIS open source software survey was conducted in spring 2021 as a mechanism to better understand how institutions interact with and support OSS programs. For the purposes of the survey, OSS programs were defined as community-based programs specifically designed for GLAM institutions, such as FOLIO, ArchivesSpace (a LYRASIS supported community), and Omeka. This report provides institutions with an opportunity to see where their efforts fall amongst the activities of their peers in three categories: (1) funding/supporting OSS, (2) justifying OSS, and (3) evaluating OSS. 

The core output of the survey is the 2021 LYRASIS OSS Survey Report. The report identifies trends across a wide range of libraries, including:

  • While a majority of respondents both internally implement (73%) and pay for externally hosted (55%) OSS software for their institutions, there is a disparity between use and financial support. Less than half of respondents financially contribute to OSS, which indicates cost may be a driving factor behind decisions to implement OSS. 
  • One of the most important considerations in choosing OSS software appears to be the sustainability of programs and services. Respondents ranked sustainability as more important in considering supporting OSS than financial advantages or benefits for end users. 
  • The biggest barrier to OSS adoption reported in this survey is the lack of technical expertise within an institution. 

This report is the first publication to be released under the new LYRASIS Research brand. LYRASIS Research represents the intellectual output of LYRASIS. Our world class team of experts has for many years written open access publications intended to provide our members with information about GLAM (galleries, libraries, archives and museums) industry trends, peer activities, and organizational problem solving, but those publications have traditionally been scattered across our website. We are excited to announce that they are all now available under the LYRASIS Research umbrella, located in our new LYRASIS Research Institutional Repository, powered by DSpace. Please visit our Institutional Repository to see our survey reports, grant reports, Catalyst Fund documentation and more, all openly available to both LYRASIS member and the wider GLAM community.