Dakota State University makes the bibliographic management program EndNote available to students through the Mundt Library (I know I downloaded a copy from the Mundt website… but I can’t remember where!). Our tuition or student fees or tax dollars are paying for it, so I guess it can’t hurt to use it.

But you and our university can find a cheaper and better alternative for managing your research sources and notes in Zotero, an open-source bibliography manager that a fellow student introduced me to last spring. I dig it… and so does the National Science Foundation. NSF has been using Zotero in-house for a while, and they’re sufficiently satisfied that they’ve hired the Zotero.org team to build a customized version for them.

So consider: if the software is good enough for the people you’re begging for grants, might it be good enough for you?


…hat tip to Deane at Gadgetopia!

After some test-driving a couple summers ago, I chose the open-source Drupal platform for my various online experiments (RealMadison.org, the Lake Herman Sanitary District, and my online dissertation). I wouldn’t be able to offer a strong techie defense of that choice: I just liked the look and feel of Drupal better than Joomla or some of the other tools I played with.

So I can’t help feeling my choice affirmed, just a little, by the news that the White House is replacing the Bush-era proprietary content management system with Drupal:

The great Drupal switch came about after the Obama new media team, with a few months of executive branch service (and tweaking of WhiteHouse.gov) under their belts, decided they needed a more malleable development environment for the White House web presence. They wanted to be able to more quickly, easily, and gracefully build out their vision of interactive government. General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT), the Virginia-based government contractor who had executed the Bush-era White House CMS contract, was tasked by the Obama Administration with finding a more flexible alternative. The ideal new platform would be one where dynamic features like question-and-answer forums, live video streaming, and collaborative tools could work more fluidly together with the site’s infrastructure. The solution, says the White House, turned out to be Drupal. That’s something of a victory for the Drupal (not to mention open-source) community [Nancy Scola, “WhiteHouse.gov Goes Drupal,” Personal Democracy Forum, 2009.10.24].

Anyone care to draw parallels between open-source software choices and the future of democracy?

A student e-mails and asks whether you have to download any software to use WordPress. Good question! Here’s my semi-informed answer:

Short answer: No, there is nothing you have to download to use WordPress.

Detailed answer: There are two versions of WordPress available. (more…)

James W. Hamister, Wright State University, and Michael J. Braunscheidel, SUNY Brockport, “Software Piracy and Intellectual Property Rights Protection”

[Dr. Hamister does the show] (more…)