Thursday, November 01, 2007

Branching out in Library Automation: Evergreen

PINES: Public Information Network for Electronic Services. Largest state east of the Mississippi. Single cluster of servers with a single system. Single patron database and union catalog; the same library card can be used throughout the system. PINES began as a response to Y2K. Metro areas have hesitated to join PINES for fear they would have nothing left on the shelves. However, this has proved not to be the case; borrowing and lending tend to reflect the library's community base.

How is PINES unique?
Users may request materials delivered from any PINES library t local library at no charge. New books protected from intra-PINES loans for 6 months. In FY07, more than 480,000 loans compared to 6000 in FY00. Libraries agree to a common set of policies; common fine structures. Fines and fees can be paid at any PINES library. Overdues processed centrally. Policies are determined by an executive committee, made up of 9 representatives-- all size library.

Benefits for users:
One easy to use interface. Local library identity maintained in large consortium. Users have dramatically increased access to statewide combined library collections. Users have the same experience regardless of the library.

Benefits for libraries:
PINES is centrally administered. Significant ILS costs paid by the state. Regional training, convenient to member libraries and staffs. Centralized helpdesk and support. Centralized overdues processing. Cataloging uses OCLC.

Outsources delivery to a courier service.

Cost benefit of PINES:
Estimate to install stand-alone ILS in all 47 PINES libraries: $15M
Annual maintenance: $5M
PINES annual operations: $1.6M (about $1 per patron). Includes courier service, overdues outsourcing, maintenance, helpdesk, (not telecommunications, which is supplied by the state)

Crossroads for PINES
Initial 5-year software contract for PINES ended June 2005
2003-04: comprehensive survey of the library automation marketplace. Is the software driving the policy/procedure or vv? Felt there was not an ILS that was really capable of providing the services PINES required.

Technical staff felt they could write software that would do exactly what the libraries wanted. Hundreds of librarians in focus groups around the state:
Enterprise class relational database; scalable and compliant with standards; ease of use for customers; flexible and reliable; data security; stats and reports to correspond to annal reporting requirements

ILS developed in a fully open source environment
Software development began in June 2004, with 4 developers.
All PINES libraries migrated to Evergreen software on 9/5/06. All libraries migrated at the same time.
Evergreen debuted with online catalog, circulation, cataloging and reports.

Evergreen features:
Search capabilities similar to commercials. Live circ data in OPAC. Google-like spell checking and search suggestions. Enhanced content. Scalable. Secure. Customers can manage their own accounts. Works with screen readers like Jaws. Virtual book bags that can be created, managed, shared by user, including RSS feed for updating.
Local flexibility to define authorizations by login. Surveys provide flexibility to collect information locally or PINES wide. Surveys can be used by local libraries. Use of buckets (virtual containers) to allow batch changes. Simplified merging of bibliographic records.
OPAC view in the staff client. Use of tabs for ease of transition between tasks. Ability to search any field in the patron record. Truly randomized holds which work in a tiered structure.

Core Technologies
Database: Postgresql
Language: C++ and Perl
Server: Apache
Jabber (IM client which moves the request through the system)

Have moved server farms to a datacenter (the same one Google uses for their East coast servers) Cost of server farm, firewalls, etc. $300,000

Cost-effective (Linux)
Reliable - designed to run in a clustered environment
Flexible - staff client is cross platform to include Linux, Windows, Mac

Where do we go from here?
Develop a children's web-based catalog
Complete Spanish translation for the OPAC
French/Canadian version completed
More self-service options, including online bill pay
Enhanced links with GALILEO (state-wide database portal)
Migration of 5 library systems waiting to become PINES members
Wok with partners on protocols to share information with other automation systems (Open NCIP)
Partnership with U.Rochester - eXtensible catalog project
Develop Acquisitions/Serials
Enhance social networking aspects of the catalog (user tagging, ratings, reviews, etc.)
Partnerships with libraries worldwide
Cooperative projects with university system libraries
Evergreen software foundation?

Evergreen Wiki - updated continually

British Columbia goes live on Evergreen next week.

Has a basic HTML version for screenreaders, phones, etc.
Shelfbrowser: browse shelves virtually
Can select font size; can be set through patron's account
Patrons wanted to have one set of buttons--- can use the browser buttons to navigate the catalog

Support is not available from Georgia for outside implementations. However, third party vendors have taken on that role. Customers have access to a helpdesk or beeper service 24/7.

1 comment:

Leglib said...

In your opinion, is Evergreen suitable for a smaller, in-house special library, accessible via a company/firm Intranet?

What, if any, issues might be relevant?