Becoming Our Own Vendor


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Presentation at the 2011 International Evergreen conference, co-presented with Shasta Brewer.

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Becoming Our Own Vendor

  1. 1. Rogan Hamby<br />South Carolina State Library<br /><br />Shasta Brewer <br />York County Library <br /><br />Becoming Our Own Vendor<br />
  2. 2. Please Interrupt<br />This is intended to be an informal presentation and open to questions as we go.<br />
  3. 3. Rapid Prototyping Deployment<br />We went from a small mad <br />idea to 1/3rd of South Carolina in two years in a state with a history of fierce local independence and governance.<br />
  4. 4. All For One, One for All<br />High discrepancy among libraries.<br />All pitch in however they can.<br />
  5. 5. On the Run<br />There was little precedent.<br />We designed as we built.<br />Initial Gathering (November 19th 2008)<br />First Go Live (May 28th 2009)<br />
  6. 6. Knowledge Professionals<br />During early stages of development, we relied heavily upon individual expertise and still struggle to replace that with institutional knowledge.<br />
  7. 7. Individuals have left and we’ve had to re-invent. Long term stability requires services that are independent of the individuals.<br />
  8. 8. Built on a model of contributed and distributed labor. <br />Very sparse infrastructure.<br />State Library was an organizer and member, not policy determiner.<br />
  9. 9. A New Paradigm<br />We said “this is open source” but we still didn’t fully understand what it meant to operate without a traditional vendor.<br />
  10. 10. The Sandbox<br />We knew we would have to operate in a shared environment. But, we didn’t fully know what that meant. <br />
  11. 11. Governance<br />The “Advisory Group” consisted of 1 director and 1 vote from each member library.<br />The Help Desk consisted of three staff from the State Library.<br />Level 1 Support incumbent upon us.<br />
  12. 12. State Library<br />Contracts<br />Finance<br />Help Desk<br />Project Management<br />Communication<br />
  13. 13. Volunteer Working Groups<br />Systems<br />Cataloging<br />Circulation<br />Training<br />
  14. 14. Hosting by ESI<br />While Equinox is not a traditional vendor they do offer some vendor services especially in training and migration. However, since Open Source allows wide variations among organizations only we are suited to best provide those services.<br />
  15. 15. Our Own Vendor<br />SC LENDS has to become (and is becoming) a turnkey vendor for our own consortia. Using open source means you roll your own solution.<br />
  16. 16. Support Roles<br />Small libraries can not do this without turnkey support.<br />
  17. 17. Challenges<br />Technical support in the beginning didn’t understand service needs and didn’t conceptually understand how Evergreen works.<br />We are still learning everything from how xml files map database tables for reporting to how inconsistent behavior may point to application servers.<br />
  18. 18. Help Desk<br />Libraries are still becoming comfortable with what Level 1 Support means. With the relationship to a central help desk that liaisons with the hosting and higher support provider. And the central help desk is still developing means to provide support to libraries that need more direct assistance evaluating technical issues. <br />
  19. 19. Help Desk as Vendor<br />In some ways the bar has been raised in terms of understanding the ILS, understanding networks, WAN links to the consortium server and more.<br />How much do we compensate? How much of a vendor do we become?<br />
  20. 20. Think Green<br />We needed to learn why the system worked the way it does. We began “thinking green” a little late.<br />We thought about it terms of MARC and cataloging. Later on we realized we should have known that a circ mod is just a label.<br />
  21. 21. Version 2.0<br />At some point we decided that distributed, contributed labor was valuable but centralized management at the State Library on an ongoing basis was critical.<br />
  22. 22. Organizational Evolution<br />There has to be a point person that keeps the agenda and makes spot decisions.<br />The executive body is still the directors of member libraries.<br />The AG has grown in terms of who is brought in to advise.<br />
  23. 23. The Open Source Spirit<br />At some point we began taking control of our own fate more than looking to ESI for solutions (though in fact we still rely on their expertise). They have been great partners. We’ve also built more relationships with other Evergreen libraries.<br />
  24. 24. Self Sufficiency<br />“Ask not what your consortium can do for you but what you can do for your consortium.”<br />The next thing I want to hear after “I don’t like this” is “and here’s how I can help.”<br />
  25. 25. Our Own Vendor<br />If we don’t like the product, we’re responsible for making the change for our customers (members) unless we’re just going to hope someone else does in the OSS community.<br />
  26. 26. Beyond Turnkey<br />Migration (more hands on then ever), PR<br />Deduping and Cataloging and Training<br />Networking and Troubleshooting<br />Peripheral support<br />Addons(OPACs, SIP)<br />Reporting<br />
  27. 27. Questions?<br />