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Open Sources (or F/OSS)

August 4th, 2008 · 5 Comments · City Library, News, Technology

Early last week we had a gathering of librarians visit the library to discuss and share information on open sources for use on computers. We called the meeting the “Open Source Roundtable” but most folks would recognize our subject by the acronym: F/OSS; free/open source software. We were able to communicate and see our colleagues from northern New Hampshire who had gathered at Madison Public Library using computers. It was pretty cool! Most of these sources would be useful to you folks at home, too, so we decided to share this information with you. Hopefully it will serve to help and inspire you. Here, below you will find a listing of the F/OSS that we discussed. This article is by no means and endorsement or advertisement for products or services–we just want to share information because we think it should be free and open for everyone to have and use. Just like libraries

Free music! The Music Genome Project created by a group of musicians and technology minded music lovers to share music with the world. Pandora allows sampling of music you might not have not heard before and have always wanted to listen to.

Skype is useful for making calls from your computer. Free to other people also on Skype and cheap to landlines and cell phones around the world.

Ubuntu is a community developed, Linux-based operating system that is perfect for laptops, desktops and servers. It contains applications you need, like a web browser, presentation, document and spreadsheet software, instant messaging and more.

“What are you doing?” Great for microblogging and keeping up with friends, family and groups of people (like a library). Twitter is now a feature of our new website. Follow our happenings at the library using twitter

With googledocs you can create and share work online. Upload and save to your desktop, edit anytime from anywhere you happen to be!

Firefox is billed as “the browser that has it all.” An alternative to other web browsers-it is speedy and secure.

Flickr is the tool we are using to help create our new library website and the 365 Days of the Library photo project we are working on this year. Photos can be uploaded, organized, stored and shared for free.

Open Office:
A software suite for word processing, spreadsheets,graphics, databases and more. It stores data in an international open standard format and can read and write files from other common software packages.

Wordpress is a publishing platform focusing on aesthetics, web standards, and usability. This blog is created using wordpress!

Instant messaging everywhere!
This is a social bookmarking site. Store your bookmarks online so you don’t lose them when you computer starts acting up and goes wonky on you. also lets you see what websites your friends or colleagues are looking at or working with online. A new way to gather and store information.

Survey Monkey:
SurveyMonkey enables anyone to create professional online surveys quickly and easily. It’s free if you ask fewer than ten questions. This is the survey software we used to conduct out latest library survey.

Drupal is a web content management system.

So check out these resources and as always, if you have any questions please come in, call, or e-mail us with your questions. We’d be glad to help you.

See you at the library!

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5 Comments so far ↓

  • Jerry Louman

    Great post. Just what I was looking for!

  • Brittany

    This is a great post on some awesome open source tools. I just wanted to let you know about SurveyGizmo, just in case you wanted to try something new for your online surveys. We offer a free account where you can have an unlimited amount of questions and an unlimited amount of surveys. You can check us out at!

  • sincere

    While CSS is a relatively simple technology to learn, it is a difficult one to master. When you first start developing sites using CSS, you will come across all kinds of infuriating browser bugs and inconsistencies. It sometimes feels like there are a million and one different techniques to master, spread across a bewildering array of websites. The range of possibilities seems endless and makes for a steep and daunting learning curve. By bringing all of the latest tips, tricks, and techniques together in one handy reference, this book demystifies the secrets of CSS and makes the journey to CSS mastery as simple and painless as possible. While most books concentrate on basic skills, this one is different, assuming that you already know the basics and why you should be using CSS in your work, and concentrating mainly on advanced techniques. It begins with a brief recap of CSS fundamentals such as the importance of meaningful markup, how to structure and maintain your code, and how the CSS layout model really works. With the basics out of the way, each subsequent chapter details a particular aspect of CSS-based design. Through a series of easy-to-follow tutorials, you will learn practical CSS techniques you can immediately start using in your daily work. Browser inconsistencies are the thorn in most CSS developers’ sides, so we have dedicated two whole chapters to CSS hacks, filters, and bug fixing, as well as looking at image replacement; professional link, form, and list styling; pure CSS layouts; and much more. All of these techniques are then put into practice in two beautifully designed case studies, written by two of the world’s best CSS designers, Simon Collison and Cameron Moll.

  • sep332

    I know WordPress is popular, but its history of security problems leaves it wide open to “black hat” hackers, who use popular sites to send spam and/or infect visitors’ computers with worms and viruses. In fact, if recently won a “Pwnie” for “Mass 0wnage.”

  • Tony Bachta

    Please add the GIMP to the list! GIMP, GNU Image Manipulation Program, is a powerful photo editing program that can be obtained at There are a few books available for it too such as “Beginning GIMP” ISBN 1-59059-587-4.