TYPO3gem, the user group of Dutch municipalities using the TYPO3 content management system, is becoming a model for other groups of public administrations using open source solutions, according to a study published by the Open Source Observatory and Repository last week. Examples include the group of towns using Drupal, an alternative content management system, and a number of municipalities using zaaksysteem.nl, a case management solution.
TYPO3gem is also sharing its organisational blueprint with a group of Dutch towns using the LibreOffice suite of office productivity tools. And, it is partnering with those using Toolkit e-forms, a collection of digital forms that municipalities can use to help their citizens apply for social services.
The organisation is also in talks with the country's society of municipalities (in Dutch; 'Vereniging van Nederlandse Gemeenten'), to set up a working group on open source.
"There are four or five municipalities using Drupal, for example. We are already cooperating with this community. We gave them our statutes and internal regulations, to give them a starting point for their own 'DrupalGem'", the study quotes Bart Lindeboom, the chairman of TYPO3gem, and the Computerisation and Automation director of the city of Ede.
TYPO3gem has just celebrated its fifth anniversary and Lindeboom expects the association to grow in the years to come. "A lot of potential members are waiting for their current content management systems to become fully depreciated before they can invest in the next. A year before that happens, people start looking for new solutions and creating shortlists. That's when they show up at our workshops."
Although membership of TYPO3gem costs only 480 euros per year, municipalities often join after the decision to deploy TYPO3 has been made. Lindeboom: "Membership allows you to attend our conferences and workshops, but, of course, you need to have expertise and actual hands-on experience with the system to be able to participate fully. Still, everybody is welcome at our workshops."