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Report from SirsiDynix on Open Source ILS Platforms Leaked… Oops

Stephen Abram has lived a bit of a charmed life. He’s somehow managed to be the Vendor That Everyone Kind Of Thinks Has Our Best Interests At Heart Even If He Is A Vendor. Meanwhile, he’s also headed up the Special Library Association. Meanwhile, he’s also been a sought-after voice in the library community. And did I mention he’s done all this while being a vendor? No small feat.

There’ve been some bumps along the way, to be sure (I’m lookin’ at you, SLA realignment name change drama), but for the most part he’s managed to keep people from looking too closely at his vendor status.

And then he authored a report on open source ILS platforms.

From WikiLeaks:

This document was released only to a select number of existing customers of the company SirsiDynix, a proprietary library automation software vendor. According to our source it has not been released more broadly specifically because of the misinformation about open source software and possible libel per se against certain competitors contained therein.

SirsiDynix is currently embroiled in a lawsuit with one of the largest public libraries in the U.S. (Queens Borough, NY) and this document does illustrate the less-than-ethical nature of this company.

The source states that the document should be leaked so that everyone can see to what extent SirsiDynix will attempt to spread falsehoods and smear open source and the proponents of open source.

I’m sure that others far better versed in these matters will write cogent and thoughtful responses to the document itself. I know of an effort underway to mark up the report and respond with some actual research to back up the counter-claims. With all of this serious thinking going on, I think I’ll just play court jester and point out my four favorite bits of the report.

  1. The ubiquitous Asian woman who appears on every page and on the cover sheet, and always next to Abram’s name, making it seem like maybe that’s what he looks like.
  2. The totally information-less charts that appear on page 4 straight out of the “If there’s a chart for it that makes it fact” school of rhetoric.
  3. “Proprietary software has more features. Period. Proprietary software is much more user-friendly” (p. 6).
  4. “Rogue programming teams may decide to create a better version, while exclaiming ‘Damn the torpedoes'” (p. 6). (I just love the “damn the torpedoes” phrase.)

Dear Stephen, we’ve seen your infomercial colors now. Next time you write such a report, please cite some sources. What you have here wouldn’t last 5 minutes on Wikipedia.

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  1. Oh, how I love Snarky Iris. She’s smarter than most Snarky People, which makes it so much more fun to read. But all grinning aside, I think your point about how we (have previously chosen to) ignore his vendor status is really interesting.

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