Evergreen in Armenia
Fundamental Scientific Library
In this talk
• eIFL.net and the eIFL-FOSS program
• Context timeline: from a proprietary ILS to a
• Introduction of Evergreen to Armenian
• Activities on implementing Evergreen in the
institutions of the NAS
• Economic crisis, Armenian libraries, and FOSS
• Future Plans
• eIFL.net (Electronic Information For Libraries)
• Working with national library consortia in 48
developing and transition countries
• eIFL.net programs: Negotiations, Consortium
Building, Knowledge Sharing, eIFL-IP
“Copyright and libraries”, eIFL-OA “Open
eIFL-FOSS: the program
• Advocates FOSS use in libraries
• Raises awareness and understanding of FOSS
• Facilitates engagement with FOSS
• Develops support material for evaluation of
and migration to a FOSS systems
• Undertakes projects to deploy FOSS
solutions, enhance skills, and build capacity
Context timeline: eIFL activities on
• 2005: Art Rhyno research report, “Open Source
Systems for Libraries: a report for eIFL.net”.
• 2006: Art and Tigran research top FOSS priorities
for eIFL.net countries.
– FOSS ILS is the top priority.
• 2006: formation of eIFL-FOSS program within
• 2007: eIFL-FOSS program receives funding from
Open Society Institute.
– Advisory Board established.
eIFL-FOSS ILS Project
• Piloting and evaluating 2 FOSS ILSs (Koha
and Evergreen) in 7 countries:
o Armenia ( Evergreen and Koha) - FSL
o Georgia (Koha) - National Scientific Library
o Malawi (Koha) - Mzuzu University Library
o Mali (Koha) - Library of the Faculty of Medicine,
Pharmacy and Dentistry, University of Bamako
o Nepal (Evergreen) - Madan Puraskar Pustakalaya
o Palestine (Evergreen) - An-Najah National University
o Zimbabwe (Koha) - Midlands State University Library
• 2008 (June): Yerevan training workshop on
Evergreen and Koha;
– part of eIFL-FOSS ILS project.
• Hosted by Fundamental Scientific Library and
sponsored by eIFL.net, 10-11 June 2008.
• Technical lead from each pilot site invited to
• Expert trainers volunteered their time:
– Dan Scott of Laurentian University, Canada, and
– Henri-Damien Laurent of BibLibre, France.
Yerevan training workshop
• Intensive two days of technical work covering:
– project briefing on the role of pilot libraries;
– comprehensive demonstration of Koha and
– install-fest: guided installation of both ILSs;
– data conversion and migration scenarios; etc
Piloting: the point
• 2008: Extensive testing of Evergreen and Koha
systems started in the FSL.
• The aim of this testing was to estimate pros and cons
of both systems, to work out a visionary decision on
the possibility of migration from the proprietary ILS
system to the FOSS ILS, and to evaluate which of
these systems will best fit to Armenian libraries
• 2009: After 3 months consultations and piloting, the
final vote was for the Evergreen.
• Preparation activities started in FSL for introducing this
new product, and careful planning steps were adopted.
• The library allocated a server for Evergreen installation,
and for hosting bibliographic records.
• From Armenian Libraries Union Catalogue the test set of
Armenian records was exported and passed to Dan Scott
for importing into Evergreen system and testing.
• Tigran Zargaryan translated Evergreen into Armenian,
and again Dan Scott tested this translation for
• Currently Armenian localization is included in the
Evergreen as one of interfaces.
• A group consisting of 2 librarians having good
knowledge in MARC formats, and 2 computer
specialists (participants from the Evergreen
workshop) with professional knowledge in Linux,
Apache were assigned as leaders for this endeavor
• However, we wouldn’t be able to start this ambitious
project and be successful without the help, support
and advice from the Evergreen international
community, and eIFL-FOSS community.
The Evergreen Community
• To all our queries to the discussion lists we have received
immediate answers and detailed explanations.
• During piloting phase we have pointed the developers to
some significant bugs, specifically when working with non-
• The presence of active and well coordinated discussion lists is
a basis for success during Evergreen implementation and
• Evergreen discussions lists are not only some type of technical
communities, it is also a social element, which makes end
users confident that during the work with Evergreen you
wouldn’t stay alone with all your problems and doubts.
• This is a core element and our special thanks to all members
of the lists.
How eIFL-FOSS has helped
• Provides email discussion list for all eIFL-FOSS
country coordinators and ILS pilot sites.
• eIFL-FOSS blog to maintain interest and highlight
activity within the pilots.
• Set up eIFL IRC channel #eifl on freenode.net to
provide a space to develop IRC skills (not common
amongst these libraries).
• Monitors news and information sources for relevant
information for eIFL-FOSS country coordinators.
• Regularly encourages (and promotes) direct
engagement with FOSS development communities.
Implementing Evergreen at NAS
• The National Academy of Sciences with its 29
research institutions is a leading producer of
• All institutions have libraries with the total
number of collections consisting of over 1.2
million volumes in Armenian, European, Asian,
and Slavic languages.
• FSL as a leader on digitizing and automation of
libraries in Armenia has prepared a visionary
document on developing digital library modules
for NAS institutions.
• Evergreen is planned for use as the integrated
library system for all NAS institutions.
Implementing Evergreen at NAS
• Starting from April 2009 training sessions for the NAS
institution librarians on working with Evergreen is in
• FSL has allocated a dedicated Evergreen server for
hosting NAS institutions’ catalogues.
• Already 17 librarians from different institutions have
passed training courses and are involved in
• Our colleagues from the Ilia Chavchavadze State
University library (Tbilisi, Georgia) appealed to
FSL for help and consultations on working with
• It was agreed to organize 2 day workshop, which
was held in FSL during April 6 and 7, 2009.
• Although Georgian librarians had already
installed and are working with the system, they
decided to visit FSL for exchange of knowledge
• Such as FSL in partnership with Georgian and
Uzbekistan Universities LIS faculties is
participating in a 3 year EU funded Tempus
project “New Masters Program on LIS”, it is
hoped that analogical training sessions will be
organized also for other partners from Georgia
• This could have a cascading effect on Central
Asian libraries on using Evergreen for automation
Economic crisis, Armenian libraries,
• The global economy is facing one of its greatest crises in modern
• We do not know yet how long the crisis will last and how
profound its impact will be on the economies of our countries.
But given the fact that FOSS solutions are one of the most
powerful engines of sustainability, and that the future of
knowledge based societies is strongly tied with FOSS markets, we
are confident that migration to Evergreen will help Armenian
librarians to continue already started automation activities.
• Currently Ministry of Culture has announced that they are
planning to restructure financial allocations to the libraries.
• This will directly affect the amounts being allocated to the
libraries for paying annual maintenance fees for the Aleph
• Evergreen can and must serve as a solution.
• Implementation of Evergreen in NAS institutions.
• Russian localization of Evergreen (is in progress
• Creating documentation in Armenian (and later
• Importing bibliographic records and holding data
from Armenian Union Catalog (Aleph system)
• Careful planning for migration from Aleph to
• Undertaking a migration to a FOSS ILS in general
and to Evergreen in particular isn't just a technical
decision, it is also a decision about how the
libraries will be engaged in the future in developing
“Knowledge based” societies in their countries.
• In reality the kind of experience which we have
during our work in eIFL-FOSS program is not about
technical skills and IT knowledge, but all about
helping to facilitate engagement between libraries
in developing countries, building user communities.
• Implementation of Evergreen in NAS is an evident
example of this.
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