The National Library of Ireland received the Open Source eGovernment Award for its online catalogue in Ireland's eGovernment Awards for 2011, held on 23 March in Dublin Castle.
The award recognised the National Library’s use of open-source software in its Single Discovery Interface Project, particularly the VuFind Discovery Interface and the Apache Solr search platform, to improve and simplify access to its collections. The judges decided that the award was merited not only by the use of open source but because the Library had ‘taken another step up entirely' through its practical participation in and contribution to the VuFind project.
The discovery interface allows users to simultaneously search many of the Library's catalogued collections, including its digitised material. These include:
• Printed collections including journals, magazines and government publications
• Manuscripts catalogued since 1990
• Visual collections including prints and drawings, ephemera and photographs
• Digitised glass plate images from the early photographic collections
Ireland's eGovernment Awards are now in their tenth year, and set a benchmark for excellence in Irish eGovernment services and standards. They raise awareness and recognise the innovators, developers and experts who pioneer the changes in how the Irish Government delivers services to its citizens.
The Open Source eGovernment Award is awarded for contribution and participation in an open source project. This participation could be through utilising open source software in an innovative way, core software development, testing of the resulting product or service, contribution to the documentation of the open source project or by providing support services. The award is not made merely for the straightforward employment of an open source package, but recognises actual participation in an open source project or community, plus the use of open source software to solve problems and deliver increased efficiency and cost savings.
In 2011, the judges emphasised the following criteria:
• Provision of more effective tools for use by eGovernment services
• Evidence of contribution directly to free and open source projects or the promotion of a free and open source philosophy
• Collaboration in an open source project or community