The ISIS-software family: from ‘Free and Open' to ‘Free and Open Source Software'

  • E de Smet University of Antwerp, Belgium


In this article the (CDS/)ISIS software will be discussed as a ‘predecessor' to the ‘Free and Open Source' (FOSS) software development movement which is currently gaining importance, also in the library and documentation field. Even though the full adherence of ISIS to this movement is of recent date, we will illustrate how from its beginning – which is very long ago in computer science traditions – the software had concepts of being ‘free' and even ‘open' by referring to several technical elements and aspects in this sense. Therefore it is claimed that the software has always been ‘free and open' but only recently fully moved to the ‘free and open-source' type.1 Some experiences in teaching students and training system managers on the software will be discussed in the light of this specific context of being ‘open software'. Finally, the current ‘FOSS' ISIS-projects are briefly described as they will define the software's future, with a call to the wider community to contribute, in order to make ISIS a real FOSS project.

Innovation Vol. 36 2008: pp. 38-47

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1025-8892