Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Day with Equinox: Evergreen Exploration

We'll be spending some time over the next few months to investigate the consortial functionality of Evergreen.

We're starting with a day-long session with Shae Tetterton, project manager at Equinox, the support vendor for Evergreen software development, implementation, and hosting services.

We've sent Shae some of our current functionality needs as well as some wish list items and she plans to touch upon these areas in her demonstration of the Evergreen software.

In the meantime, Melissa, here at work, is VERY close to bringing up our first Evergreen test server - NOT an easy task.

Shae will be here tomorrow as long as the weather cooperates!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Open Source Systems and Risk Management

Here's a general article in LJ about the importance of assessing your risk before you take on an open source ILS system:

It's an interesting read and very timely:

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Evergreen v. Koha - Comparisons

I've been looking for posts comparing Evergreen to Koha and I'm not finding much. Some posts are old and no longer accurate. Very frustrating.

Here's one from an Evergreen user in the making:

and here is a basic comparison between the two by Josh Ferraro, from LibLime, who is very familiar with both systems, since LibLime at one time offered Evergreen hosting/support:

I'm sure that there are plenty more posts worth reading out there. If anyone has any good comparison articles or blogs or what not, please feel free to share!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Darien Library's Social OPAC (SOPAC 2.0)

On September 1st, John Blyberg launched his social OPAC at the Darien Public Library. This revamped OPAC front-end includes a number of web 2.o features like:

  • user-added ratings, comments, and reviews
  • ability for libraries to add community repository data
This OPAC front-end software has been released as open source and should work with a number of ILSes out there.

To experience SOPAC 2.0, for yourself, go to:

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Chrome - Google's New Web Browser

In case you haven't heard, Google has developed their own web browser and it is open source.

It's in beta at the moment. To read about it, see the Google Blog post:


LibLime Scope of Work - Enhancements List

An update on our work with LibLime:

We received the summary of enhancements that the LibLime team identified during our two-day scope of work study with them. Bibliomation staff has gone through the document to clarify some of the functionality descriptions and to make sure that all needed enhancements were included in the document as well as those items that were more "wish list" items and wouldn't be needed on Day 1 of a cutover to Koha.

Next steps:
LibLime will refine this enhancements list and send us the refined document. Bibliomation staff will then need to prioritize the list and return to LibLime. LibLime will then cost out the work so that we can see the overall cost of sponsoring Koha development work with LibLime.

For a list of enhancements currently being suggested and considered for the next version of Koha, version 3.2, go to


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Day After (The LibLime Visit)

Well, it was a pretty intense two days, but we think we managed to cover all modules and the specifics of our needed functionality with the LibLime folks.

The good news -- much of what we were requesting was already in the works, based on other consortial-sponsored development work. We won't know for sure what we would still need to sponsor until we get the full list from LibLime. They will be asking us to prioritize our development needs and once they have that information, they will be able to spec it out for us and attach dollars to it.

They were also very impressed with our test server installation and the level of configuration work we were already able to figure out on our own. As Brendan tells me, it's amazing what you can figure out when you spend your nights in your basement, pounding away on a server.

I will post more about those areas that still need development once we have the document from LibLime.


Thursday, August 7, 2008

LibLime Scope of Work Study

On July 31st, the Bibliomation Board approved our going forward with a scope of work study with LibLime, the main support vendor for Koha.

This scope of work study will identify those areas of functionality still needed in the Koha system for Bibliomation libraries to maintain the level of functionality that they have now. Many of these areas we anticipate to be consortial-related.

LibLime staff will be spending two days at Bibliomation headquarters later this month (August 18th and 19th) so that we can discuss our workflow needs and how Koha fits in to this workflow. We've given LibLime access to our Koha test server and private wiki. We've been using the wiki to track our configuration work and findings regarding the Koha system.

Once we have the results of the study, we should know which modules and features would need development work and the costs associated with this work.

The results will be brought to the next Bibliomation Board meeting, scheduled for Thursday, September 25th.


Friday, August 1, 2008

Plano ISD -- Independent Schools District (Texas)

I was able to chat with David Schuster, Library Technology Coordinator for Plano Independent Schools District (ISD) in Texas. Plano ISD has 68 schools, ranging from pre-school to high school.

David plans to cut over to Koha on January 1, 2009. He's been working with LibLime and plans to sign a three-year contract with them to provide migration support and maintenance to their Koha installation. His libraries will be set up as independent branches. They will not share holds.

David and his team chose Koha because it provided the promise of continuous changes to the look and functionality of the ILS. It also has a web-based staff client, very easy to roll out new changes to all of his schools. Customization is very important to Plano ISD.

David thinks that he might sponsor some development work for the inventory control module that comes with Koha. Right now, the only thing the inventory control feature does is flag the item on the shelf. It does not provide detailed information regarding misshelved items or incorrect code information (wrong collection, etc.). He'd also like to see improvements made in spine label printing. Right now, Koha can only print spine labels in batches, not for an individual item.

Another possibility for sponsored work -- David is considering working with LibLime somewhere down the line to produce an icon-driven kid's catalog.

Other enhancements David would like to see with Koha:
  • Annual circ history information for each item
  • Batch creation of items
  • Batch editing of items
  • Off-line circulation module
  • Item barcode lookup for editing purposes
  • Reports are fabulous, but there needs to be a set of standard reports that can be easily shared among all libraries (maybe this exists now, but David hasn't seen it yet)

David has been told that there is work being sponsored right now to provide the ability for Koha users to perform batch item deletes.

LibLime will be providing custom style sheets for his elementary, middle and high school libraries.

I will touch base again with David sometime after January 1st.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

LibLime to Acquire CareAffiliates

LibLime Press Release:

LibLime to Acquire CARE Affiliates

Today at 9:47am
ATHENS, OH and BLACKSBURG, VA--July 29, 2008 -– LibLime, the leader in open source solutions for libraries and CARE Affiliates™ announced today that they have entered into a definitive agreement to sell select assets of CARE Affiliates to LibLime. The sale will include select products, related services and domain names along with associated service contracts. Final closing is scheduled for August 2008.

Carl Grant, President of CARE Affiliates will be taking a new position as president of Ex Libris, North America, effective immediately. "I'm delighted that LibLime has decided to acquire these assets," said Carl. "This will ensure the continuation of these products/services well into the future. I look forward to seeing how LibLime grows these ideas. I also feel it's important to say that this sale and my move is based primarily on personal reasons and is in no way a reflection on the open-source community or service providers serving libraries. Open source has a vibrant future in libraries and I'm pleased to say that Ex Libris is one of the proprietary vendors listening to this community as evidenced by their recent announcement about their new Open Platform strategy. I will continue to stay engaged with the library open-source community, albeit in a different role."

"We've been proud to list CARE Affiliates as one of our strategic partners since they started supporting open source in 2007," says Joshua Ferraro, CEO of LibLime. "This arrangement gives us increased capacity to deliver open-source and open architecture solutions for libraries in the strategic area of metasearching."

LibLime's acquisition of CARE again highlights one strength of open-source solutions -- no vendor lock-in. CARE's customers don't need to worry about switching to new solutions. With open source, switching vendors doesn't mean switching software.

This is LibLime's third acquisition since the company's inception in 2005. Earlier acquisitions include Ohio-based Skemotah Solutions and Katipo Communications' Koha division in New Zealand.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Koha Testing Continues...

For the past couple of weeks, Bibliomation staff has been learning what we can about the Koha ILS. As I've written before, we have been testing version 3.0, but what we learned from LibLime while at ALA has us convinced that we won't really be able to configure the system to our consortial needs until a future release, due out sometime this fall. This future release will have something called system groups which will allow us to create specific profiles for our libraries and schools, and cluster certain locations together. (Think school systems and libraries with branches here.) We also want to be able to have each library bring up their own catalog without forcing patrons to choose from a LONG list of 70+ library locations. Some of this functionality is being developed for the INCOLSA network in Indiana.

In the meantime, Mary has completed the Horizon-to-Koha MARC mapping table and she plans to take a look at Koha's various indexes as soon as Brendan has brought up our permanent test server. We are also going through the functional specifications we developed back in 2003-2004 for our last migration to see what needs to be added/changed/removed. We have picked up quite a bit of functionality over these past few years so all of that has to be added to our testing checklists! We are using a private, in-house wiki to keep track of our Koha testing progress and that is working out quite well to keep us all informed of each staff person's work.


Monday, July 7, 2008

ALA -- Open Source Everywhere

Just back from California and the ALA conference in Anaheim had plenty of open source programs from which to choose.

Mike and I attended "Planning for Open Source in Consortia" on June 29th. The panelists were Monica Shultz, IT Director of the Peninsula Library System in San Mateo, CA and Randy Dykhuis, Executive Director of the Michigan Library Consortium.

The Peninsula Library System is currently testing the functionality of the Evergreen system. They have not yet committed to migrating to the system, but so far their testing is showing it to be very flexible for their needs.

The Michigan Library Consortium has already begun their migration process to Evergreen and have selected a group of pilot libraries to move over to the open source system this summer. The Grand Rapids Public Library will be included in a later migration phase.

Brendan attended the very first organizational meeting of KUDOS, the user group for the Koha open source system. They plan on setting up a 501c3 non-profit to support their efforts.

And Brendan and I attended the Koha interest group meeting in which those interested in Koha and those actually using Koha (in test and production) could share information and ask questions of each other and LibLime staff. who organized this interest group meeting.


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Howard County Library System (MD)

I talked with Amy DeGroff, the head of Library Technology Services, at the Howard County Library system, in Maryland. They have six public libraries and about 1 million items. They circulate about 5 millions items each year. Howard County is a SirsiDynix Horizon library and they are in the process of migrating to Koha. Their go-live date is scheduled for December 2008.

Their original go-live date was supposed to be this fall, but they are now waiting for the new Koha acquisitions module, Get It, to be finished. They are co-sponsoring development of this with WALDO. It will be released in November, at a conference in North Carolina.

They chose Koha over Evergreen because they did not need the consortial features present in Evergreen. Howard County libraries function as branches in one system, with the same circulation rules and little need for individual autonomy. Although Koha does allow for this flexibility, Howard County is shutting that flexibility down.

Amy is really impressed with Koha's patron catalog. There is much innovation to be excited about. It is very easy to create public lists, pathfinders that bring up specific search results for patrons. Faceted searching works very well, too. To see their library catalog (in development), go to

Howard County is working with LibLime as they work toward their migration over to Koha. LibLime imported their data. They have both a test server and production server.

Howard County has a web designer who is interested in contributing to the open source development. This staff person will receive computer programming training (Perl, etc.).

Amy was receptive to the idea of a visit from Bibliomation once they have gone live to see Koha in action.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Bibliomation's ILS Steering Committee

At the June User Council meeting, Janet Woycik, chair of the Bibliomation Strategic Planning Committee, asked for volunteers to serve on the Bibliomation ILS Steering Committee.

The ILS Steering Committee will meet at specific times during our open source testing period so that we can discuss with them our progress and findings. We will be making a list of those open source ILS features that would require policy decisions and presenting these to the committee.

ILS Steering Committee Members:

  • Janet Woycik, CH Booth Library
  • Bernadette Baldino, Easton Public Library
  • Valerie Annis, Minor Memorial Library, Roxbury
  • Heather Morgan, Mark Twain Library
  • Lynn White, Terryville Public Library
  • Emmett McSweeney, Silas Bronson Library
  • Sue Phillips, Hall Memorial Library
  • Beth Lovallo, Woodbury Public Library
  • Jane Gallagher, Middlebury Public Library

We will also ask for volunteers to serve on our various taskforces, to be created later this summer.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Green Mountain Library Consortium (VT)

As Bibliomation begins our own open source investigation, we are very interested in talking to those libraries who have already decided to migrate to open source.

I had the chance earlier this month to talk with Stephanie Chase, the library director of the Stowe Public Library, in Vermont. Stephanie, along with some of her colleagues, have banded together to form the Green Mountain Library consortium. Originally formed to provide their patrons with OverDrive downloadable audiobooks, they have expanded their mission to moving from individual Follett systems to Koha's ILS.

Phase One of their plan involves bringing up individual Koha systems for 20 of these interested public libraries. They will be using committees (PAC improvements, circulation, etc.) to focus on the various improvementst they will need to develop in the existing Koha software. They plan to hire a programmer and web designer and share their time among all library participants.

They chose Koha because they viewed the software as more mature than the other open source ILSes available to them. Koha is programmed in Perl and uses MySQL and they had some experience with these programming languages.

They have version 3.0 up on a test server and are currently testing data importing. They plan to bring up Koha on inexpensive Linux servers and roll them out to all libraries by January 1, 2009.

Phase Two will involve blending all of these individual databases together to make one consortial system. They will begin work on phase two in June 2009.

To follow their progress, you can check out their wiki.

Since our paths are running somewhat parallel, we plan to stay in touch with them so that we can exchange information along the way.

On Wednesday, I plan to talk with Amy DeGroff of the Howard County Library System, in Maryland. Howard County is in the middle of their migration to Koha and they plan to bring up their new system this fall. I will post the summary of my phone call with Amy to the blog later this week.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Koha Test Server -- Up and Running!

Brendan was able to bring up our first Koha test server yesterday. He installed version 3.0 on it. We are now familiarizing ourselves with the various administrative settings and seeing how much we can customize the setup for all Bibliomation libraries.

This will not be the final test server, but it's a good start for us to begin the learning process!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Welcome to BOSS!

This blog will be used to detail Bibliomation's exploration of the open source ILS as a possibly viable next generation library automation system for our member libraries.
Stay tuned. We plan to provide regular updates as we move forward with our exploration!
In the meantime, if you haven't already, please read our "Open Source FAQ" for a better understanding of open source and its relevance to Bibliomation libraries.