Evergreen: An Open Source ILS


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Slides from a talk I gave to the Hamilton Linux Users Group meeting on May 5th, 2008 at McMaster University.

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Evergreen: An Open Source ILS

  1. 1. Evergreen: an Open Source ILS <ul><ul><li>John Fink </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Digital Technologies Development Librarian </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>McMaster University </li></ul></ul>
  2. 2. The ILS: what is it? <ul><li>A place to find books, yeah, but also... </li></ul><ul><li>... a way for libraries to provide access to: </li></ul><ul><li>... databases </li></ul><ul><li>... e-journals </li></ul><ul><li>...thesis and dissertations. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Our current situation <ul><li>Proprietary ILS vendors abound, which means... </li></ul><ul><li>...they're expensive </li></ul><ul><li>...they respond slowly to feature requests, if at all. </li></ul><ul><li>...our data is not as portable as we'd like. </li></ul><ul><li>What are we paying for? </li></ul>
  4. 4. Does this remind you of anything? <ul><li>Hey, do you remember: </li></ul><ul><li>...Coherent? </li></ul><ul><li>...Xenix? </li></ul><ul><li>...Ultrix? </li></ul><ul><li>...A/UX? </li></ul><ul><li>...BSD/OS? </li></ul><ul><li>There's a good reason for that, huh? </li></ul>
  5. 5. But what we really needed was... <ul><li>...a good solid kick to the pants. </li></ul><ul><li>A couple of years ago, our vendor was bought by a competing vendor, and that means... </li></ul><ul><li>...product consolidation, which means... </li></ul><ul><li>...we're in trouble. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Fortunately... <ul><ul><li>We're not the only ones with this problem. </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. There are OSS choices: <ul><li>Koha </li></ul><ul><li>Evergreen </li></ul><ul><li>PHPMyBibli </li></ul><ul><li>NewGenLib </li></ul><ul><li>... but </li></ul><ul><li>Libraries are very risk averse – don't rock the boat! </li></ul>
  8. 8. So, as a result <ul><ul><li>McMaster University decided to migrate off of our current ILS and go with Evergreen. </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Who else is using Evergreen? <ul><li>Georgia PINES </li></ul><ul><li>Sitka (BC PINES) </li></ul><ul><li>...and a lot of other people in stealth mode. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Why Evergreen for us? <ul><li>Open source </li></ul><ul><li>... (of course) </li></ul><ul><li>... so no vendor lock-in </li></ul><ul><li>... transparent access to objects via JSON or XML </li></ul><ul><li>... a known backend </li></ul><ul><li>OUR data is OUR data. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Features of Evergreen <ul><li>Highly flexible organizational hierarchy </li></ul><ul><li>Efficient decentralization of front and backend through OpenSRF and Jabber </li></ul><ul><li>RSS feeds for users and libraries </li></ul><ul><li>A ”book bag”, to save items for later </li></ul><ul><li>Automagic relevance detection </li></ul>
  12. 12. But... <ul><li>Evergreen is missing some key features that academic libraries need... </li></ul><ul><li>...things like acquisitions, serials, and reserves. </li></ul><ul><li>...plus the install is not, uh, very friendly. </li></ul><ul><li>...but since it's open source, we can work on that! </li></ul>
  13. 13. Evergreen support model <ul><li>Hey, it's open source, so we have... </li></ul><ul><li>...mailing lists (dev and ”normal”) </li></ul><ul><li>...IRC </li></ul><ul><li>...and the option of paid support from many groups. </li></ul>
  14. 14. There's something intensely gratifying about asking for help on IRC or on the lists and getting immediate response from the people that actually wrote your software.
  15. 15. So where are we right now? <ul><li>Here at Mac we're... </li></ul><ul><li>...in the midst of migration with two other Canadian universities, Windsor and Laurentian, collectively we're known as Project Conifer. </li></ul><ul><li>...target date of summer 2009. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Project Conifer <ul><li>The goal is to eventually have a shared catalog, where people from Windsor, Laurentian and McMaster all have borrowing rights at each institution, and can easily see eachother's collections. </li></ul><ul><li>This is what library people call a ”union catalogue.” </li></ul><ul><li>Hopefully, this will make borrowing easier. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Any questions?