What does Open Source mean for dgi?

Originally posted at discoverygarden.ca

Many times when first talking to someone who is interested in Islandora I get the question “But what’s the difference between the Islandora Project and dgi?” I completely understand where this question comes from. We are located in the same city, have numerous employees who have worked for both the project and for discoverygarden, and we tend to talk about Islandora as if it’s ours at dgi. I think that we tend to talk about Islandora as if it’s ours because it becomes everyone’s project as soon as they’ve starting working with it and contributing to it. Everyone can take a little bit of ownership to an open source project.

discoverygarden does contribute greatly to the Islandora project itself. We have recently taken over the management of releases for the project and have donated development hours to the Islandora 7 completion. We estimate that dgi does around 80% of the development for Islandora now. It’s great for us to be able to do client work with code that we’re so familiar with and in control of, but we develop very much for the community, not just for ourselves. We want Islandora to be easier for developers and users to work with, we love the idea of institutions being able to download and install Islandora easily themselves and start building and maintaining collections. I think our values and goals for the project are similar to anyone else who commits code to the project, we want to see growth in usability, scalability, and interoperability with other systems.

When we develop for our clients, the goal for us isn’t to build the most customized, most expensive piece of work. We like to discuss with our clients what their goals are and then scope out the most reusable solutions. All the work that we do for our clients (unless explicitly requested by the client) is released back into the community to be reused, contributed to, and discussed. We love hearing new use cases from clients and planning how they will fit into standard Islandora in the future. We also love seeing what community members are working on.

An Open Source project for us at dgi means a project that is going to move forward. Having a group of people working on a project gives insight into what direction the project should take, what works and what doesn’t work, and how things can be improved. Islandora is what it is today because of the community and we're glad to be a part of it.