Open Source Systems Power Library Websites
Open Source Content Management Systems (CMS) Power Library Websites
Drupal, Joomla and Wordpress are examples of free, open source CMS systems that have been widely adopted as platforms for library websites. While the software may be free, it's important to remember that there are always costs associated with "free" including labor to develop the website or hosting fees. While many libraries use staff to create their websites, it is also common to hire a consultant or contractor to help with more complicated web needs. These resources can help point you in the right direction to a decision about your library's online presence.
An article comparing features in common software:
Library sites using Drupal:
Wordpress (http://wordpress.org/), the popular blogging platform, is another free CMS that works well for library websites.
There are lots of great resources available from the Wordpress community including a series of tutorials from Wordpress available to get familiar with the software. Wordpress For Libraries is a collection of resources from an Internet Librarian workshop. This collection of free Wordpress tutorials can also be helpful.
Library sites using Wordpress:
- Mancos Public Library (CO)
- Whatcom County Library System (WA)
- Stillwater (NY) Free Library uses a magazine style theme.
Joomla (http://www.joomla.org/) is the CMS of choice for many library websites. The name is derived from a Swahili word meaning “all together” or “as a whole.”
Library sites using Joomla:
Omeka (http://omeka.org/) is a digital collection management tool designed with libraries, museums and “non-IT specialists” in mind. The free open-source publishing platform facilitates attractive design and user interaction through Web 2.0 technologies. Watch the demo video for more information and play in the sandbox to see if it’s right for your library.
Sites using Omeka:
- Voices For the Lake has plug-ins for contribution, geolocation and social bookmarking
- Merchant’s House Museum combines Omeka and WordPress.
These are just a few examples of how libraries are powering their websites with open source software. Let us know in the comments if you have had an experience with developing a library website using open source tools.
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