Tuesday, December 29, 2009

PostgreSQL Training with Dan Scott

We've been busy setting up some Evergreen training with Equinox. In mid-January we'll receive some admin training as well as a 1.6 update, including Acquisitions.

We also need to learn how to write PostgreSQL queries, but Equinox doesn't offer a training class on this at this time. I've tried to write some queries on my own, based on my Sybase SQL knowledge, but what I've discovered is that the syntax doesn't translate well. Equinox recommended two PostgreSQL companies to us - I inquired, but soon discovered that the cost for these classes was too outrageously expensive for a non-profit like Bibliomation to swing.

Enter Dan Scott, relational database expert. Dan is systems librarian at Laurentian University, in Ontario. I had a chance to hear him speak at a one-day Lyrasis conference last October called "Open Source in your Library," and he was fantastic. Since he was able to answer some of my specific SQL query questions on the general Evergreen listserv, I thought he would be up to the challenge of teaching us what we needed to know about Postgres, so I emailed him. He has agreed to not only train us, but to customize the two-day class to our specific needs!

He writes:
[...]I would want to make the course materials available under a Creative Commons license so that others can build on & benefit from the content. I think it would make a nice complement to the Evergreen developer workshop, and a great contribution to the community.

We need to give him some time to prepare his course materials, but we are hoping to have him down here sometime before two of our developmental partner libraries go live on Evergreen the first week in March 2010.

Three cheers for Dan Scott!

Amy Terlaga
Assistant Director, User Services

Monday, December 21, 2009

Hey Kids!

And those who work with them...
As Amy said in the last post, we recently sent out an email to our school media specialists asking for their wishlist for a kid's catalog. We've gotten a few replies and we'd love to hear more from our school media specialists and our children's librarians.

The top requests are:
  • Search by title, author, subject, keyword, and series.
  • Title searches that don't require the use of quotation marks to bring up one-word titles.
  • Spellcheck
  • The ability to sort results, especially sort by call number.
  • Results with the location in bold
  • The ability to add local subject buttons to the main page.
So far, we have good news for you! The regular Evergreen OPAC does a number of these things already. It is possible to search by title, author, subject keyword and series and searches by title for books like Night and Bud Not Buddy turn up the appropriate book as the top result.

Evergreen does have a spellcheck and it does allow sorting of results, though I think we'll have to add call number to our list of requests. The advanced search screen does allow the searcher to limit results to Fiction or Nonfiction, so it's possible that we could incorporate that feature into the results on a kid's catalog.

We brainstormed with some librarians from King County about possible features for a kids catalog and we'd love your feedback on some of these ideas.

Like you, we want to enable local buttons on the main interface – right now, you all have the same buttons on the front page of the kid's catalog. We'd like to have a mechanism for each library to create their own buttons with their own searches.

Other ideas we had:
  • The ability for each library to customize their individual kid’s catalog to their needs
  • The ability to choose from a variety of image sets in the customization of these picture-based subject categories
  • The ability to restrict to just juvenile content searches if the library desired; customizable by library
  • Kid's catalog should build upon current Evergreen OPAC limiters to include reading levels and series information
  • The inclusion of grade reading levels in the bibliographic record search results
  • The ability to customize each search button so that the search can be optimized to the library’s individual catalog
  • The ability to customize each button so that, instead of a search, a reading list of web catalog links and web site links can be produced for the user to follow
  • The ability for the user to rate each title
  • The ability for the user to write a review for each item in the catalog
  • The ability for user reviews to be sent to the individual library for moderation purposes before they are posted
Keep your suggestions coming and we'll keep adding to our list.
Kate Sheehan
Open Source Implementation Coordinator

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Kids' Catalog for Bibliomation's Schools

We've just begun a dialogue with King County Library System (KCLS) to see if we can work together in the development of a children's graphical, icon-driven web catalog for Evergreen. KCLS web librarians, Lisa Hill and Melissa Falgout, seem very enthusiastic about the project. We have a decent length of time to dream up some really cool functionality for this kids' catalog - the target completion date is September 2011.

The most important feature we'd like to see in this graphical kids' catalog is the ability to customize - the graphical buttons, the searches attached to those buttons, and even the flexibility to allow for a list of bibliographic and web resources attached to some buttons, based on the individual library's needs.

We hope to send off our wish list of features to the Seattle-based web design company, FGI, for a ballpark price quote later this month. In the meantime, we're asking our school librarians for their suggestions so that we can flesh out that wish list.

Amy Terlaga
Assistant Director, User Services

Monday, December 7, 2009

Conference Call with King County, Mass. Networks

We had a conference call last Thursday, December 3rd, with King County and the three Massachusetts networks (MVLC, NOBLE, and C/W MARS) that plan to move to Evergreen in 2011. We're hoping to collaborate with these and other interested library systems on Evergreen software development. It was a very productive phone call - we've established future meetings at ALA MidWinter (Boston), PLA in March 2010 (Portland, OR), the Evergreen conference in Grand Rapids, MI (April 2010), and Summer 2010 ALA in Washington, D.C.

Jed Moffitt of King County suggested that the Massachusetts folks take a look at KCLS' software requirement specs to see if they can follow their format for their own. He also volunteered to show them King County's enhancements to the circulation client sometime in January so that they will know what's coming soon before they spend time on their own software development needs.

I've also emailed contacts at Evergreen Indiana, SC LENDS (South Carolina), and Georgia PINES to see if they would also like to participate in these later discussions at future library conferences.

The more, the merrier, as they say.

Amy Terlaga
Assistant Director, User Services

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Mike and Amy's Odyssey Begins

Mike Simonds, Bibliomation's CEO, and I have begun our Grand Odyssey to all of Bibliomation's libraries. We plan to visit each one so that we can bring our members up to speed with our open source exploration and our selection of the Evergreen system as our next generation ILS, with a migration in 2011. This is also a perfect opportunity for our libraries to ask us questions about Evergreen and open source software in general.

The first two libraries we visited were the Middlebury Public Library and the Southbury Public Library. The Middlebury staff are eager to move to Evergreen and would like us to move sooner rather than later in 2011. This is dependent on the software development success in 2010; both Acquisitions and Serials will need to be tested to make sure that they will meet our needs. The Southbury staff expressed their happiness over our decision to move to a standard set of loan periods for our public libraries - 7 days for DVDs and videos, 14 days for new materials, and 21 days for most everything else. This will make it easier for the patrons, they thought. These new loan periods will be in place by July 1, 2010.

We will take a brief hiatus from our odyssey in December so that we can interview candidates for our open Applications Support Specialist position, but will resume in January 2010. We plan to target those libraries that haven't made it to our regional meetings and may still be a bit in the dark concerning our open source plans.

Let the Grand Odyssey begin!

Amy Terlaga
Assistant Director, User Services

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

What’s coming down the pike?

The Development Partners are hard at work preparing for their conversion to Evergreen. For some, this means some serious time in the stacks – rebarcoding with the machine pictured here (or barcoding for the first time) is on their to do lists in addition to the usual weeding and record clean-up that goes with a migration.

Bibliomation staffers are profiling the development partners and getting Evergreen 1.6 installed. Evergreen 1.6 just became available and features a beta version of the acquisitions module slated for release in version 2.0 (due out in 2010).

In December and January, we’ll be working with Equinox to get the profiling data into our production server and start testing batches of records. As the winter progresses, we’ll be developing our training and documentation (and testing it out on the development partners).
Development partners will begin to go live in early March 2010! We’ll see Evergreen in action and be able to test developments for the rest of the consortium. Our open source migration is on its way!
Kate Sheehan
Open Source Implementation Coordinator

Monday, November 23, 2009

Open Source Presentation in December

The Connecticut Library Consortium (CLC) is sponsoring a series of presentations on open source migrations at CT libraries. In October, the University of Hartford presented on their migration to LibLime's Koha, last week the Goodwin College, in East Hartford presented on their migration to Koha, using ByWater Solutions, and next month is Bibliomation's turn to talk about our selection of Evergreen.

Here is the announcement from the CLC, just posted this morning on their listserv:

Join us for the next in CLC’s Open Source Series

“How’s it Going?” An Inside Look at Bibliomation’s Migration to Evergreen

Friday, December 11, 2009
9:30 coffee, 10:00-noon meeting
Middlebury Public Library
Free to CLC Members

Register online now!

Just 18 months ago, Bibliomation's Planning Committee, Board of Directors, and User Council made the decision to move in the direction of Open Source. Now they have decided to establish Evergreen as the preferred migration path of the network's Integrated Library System, supported by Equinox. Bibliomation's staff will discuss their impending migration with CT colleagues. Register online now!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Good News!

Hooray! LibraryThing for Libraries now works with Evergreen! You can see it in action at Kent County Public Library in Maryland.

Kate Sheehan
Open Source Implementation Coordinator
Earlier this week, Amy and I went to CLA’s speed mentoring session. We met LIS students, new librarians and those considering library school. Almost every time I talked about our move to Evergreen, I was asked what open source is. It seemed like everyone had heard the term and had a vague sense of what it meant, but longed for a more concrete understanding of what all the fuss was about. After giving my (speedy) explanation a few times, I thought I should post an open source cheat sheet here for our members to refer to. For a more thorough explanation, see our Open Source FAQ (which is a Word document).

What is Open Source?
The short answer: Open source software allows anyone to see and change the underlying code.

A more complete answer: The code underlying open source software is freely available to anyone who wants to improve or modify it. The result is a community-developed product that’s more secure and stable, and offers a rich set of features.

A little more nuance: Open source software uses an open licensing structure. You know those looooong blocks of fine print that pop up when you install new software? Those are End User License Agreements, and they usually prohibit the user from modifying the software or giving it away (among other things).
Open source software, by definition, requires free redistribution and access to the source code. A complete list of criteria can be found on the Open Source Initiative’s website: http://opensource.org/docs/osd

And this is good because?
Software that is developed by a community has the advantage of having many eyes and hands looking at and working on the product. Security loopholes are spotted and closed quickly and features are developed and released regularly.

In the case of an ILS, the speed at which features are added is particularly good news for our patrons. OPAC tools and toys will be available before they’re obsolete and the library’s primary discovery tool will keep pace with the web. On the staff side, an intuitive interface and a customizable report structure are huge benefits. When one library makes an improvement to their system, that change will be made available to all libraries using the system.
No software it perfect, of course, but open source software gives users more freedom to make (or ask for) the improvements they’d like to see.

Does anyone else use open source software?
Almost everyone does, in some way, shape, or form. Firefox is an open source alternative to Internet Explorer and Open Office is an alternative to Microsoft Office. Both are successful projects with lots of users.

More popular, though, are server-side packages that are used by companies and organizations worldwide. Many websites are hosted on servers running a suite of open source software commonly called LAMP (for Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP) and chances are, you've visited, shopped on, or worked on a site on a LAMP server.

The move to Evergreen will be a big change. Thanks to the community of open source enthusiasts, programmers, and companies, it will be a change for the better!

Don't forget to join our Evergreen discussion list - send an email to join-evergreen@biblio.org. You can also find us on Facebook!

Kate Sheehan
Open Source Implementation Coordinator

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Lists, Lists, and More Lists

Our open source team has been busy, creating listservs to keep our member libraries informed of our Evergreen developments.

The first list, BibliOak, will be used as a communication tool for us and our development partner libraries - The Beacon Falls Library, The Douglas Library, Hebron, The Slater Library, Griswold, and The Windham Free Library. The second list, Evergreen, will give us a vehicle to reach out to Bibliomation's 48 public libraries and 20 K-12 schools as we move forward with our Evergreen software exploration. There is a third list, created by the folks at Equinox, called "bibliomation-migration" - this list will be the primary means of our communicating back and forth with our migration team at Equinox.

Melissa Lefebvre and Kate Sheehan will be providing online Evergreen client and web catalog demonstrations this week to our development partner libraries.

Kate will also be delivering our newly acquired ITG Scan & Print system to the Beacon Falls Library so that they can update their item barcodes to 14 digits. After Beacon Falls has completed this re-barcoding process, the system will then be delivered to the Douglas Library, in Hebron, so that they can re-barcode their items in time for the March 2010 migration to Evergreen.

Amy Terlaga
Assistant Director, User Services

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Equinox Contract Signed

Today we signed the contract with Equinox, making our partnership with them official.

We also had a conference call this morning with Shae Tetterton, Equinox's Project Manager for Bibliomation. We've set up weekly migration meetings with Shae, beginning on Monday, November 30th and lasting until our development partner libraries are live on Evergreen that first week in March of 2010.

Shae will be sending us some migration profiling documents so that we can use them to develop our own, to be used with each development partner library. Shae also mentioned that Equinox can help us clean up the bibliographic and patron data if we should find any anomalies. Regarding the item barcodes, Shae will be checking to see if Evergreen can validate on their 14-digit length to avoid mis-scans getting entered into the system as the libraries are entering their holdings.

We're looking forward to working with the Equinox migration team over these next few months!

Amy Terlaga
Assistant Director, User Services

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Meet the Open Source Team: Spotlight on Kate Sheehan

Kate Sheehan is Bibliomation's Open Source Implementation Coordinator. Monday, November 9th is her first day on the job.

Question: What made you want to work at Bibliomation?

Answer: The [open source] project is ridiculously exciting. I started paying attention to Bibliomation's investigation of open source systems during the state library's open source system exploratory meetings with the various libraries in the state. I've also never worked for a consortium before. I really like the project and the newness of it.

Question: What is your educational background?

Answer: I have a Bachelor's in Geology from Smith College. I graduated in 2000. I received my MLIS from Simmons in January 2004.

Question: What is your work history? Which job(s) did you enjoy the most?

Answer: I worked at the Ferguson Library, in Stamford, for two years. I split my time in half between reference and IT work there. I also worked nights and weekends at UCONN Stamford during my time at Ferguson. I was responsible for IT at the Hamden Public Library. I was Coordinator of Library Automation at the Danbury Public Library for two years. I really enjoyed my time there. My last job was as Head of Reference at the Darien Public Library. I was there from March of '08 until now.

I liked all of my jobs in different ways. I learned different things at each job and gave of myself in different ways. I like variety. There's no moss under my feet.

Question: How did you select Library Science?

Answer: I had a job as a research assistant at a market research firm. I liked the research part, but not the for-profit part. Both of my parents are social workers; I wanted to help people. I grew up around a helping profession. I can help people without being a therapist.

Question: What do you like most about Evergreen?

Answer: I like the principles of open source. It returns access to the data to the libraries; they have control over it, power over it, and in turn, can turn that over to the patrons. What's been interesting for me -- these are [small] libraries that right now don't have anything online for their patrons. It's clearly intuitive to the patrons what should be there. When we bring [these libraries] up, [the patrons] will recognize it, it will all be there. The libraries will go from 0 to 60, they'll be exactly where they'll need to be.

Question: What do you like to do in your free time?

Answer: I am an occasional knitter. My husband and I like to go into the City for plays and museums. I like to go to concerts -- jazz and the occasional rock show. I like to read -- my beach reading is the mystery novel. Just finished the new Thomas Cook. I really like Tana French. The Likeness and In the Woods are astoundingly good. I read a lot of non-fiction. Because I spend a lot of time in the car, I listen to a lot of books on CD. I also listen to a lot of podcasts. My favorite podcasts right now are This American Life, Grammar Girl, The Moth, and Ricky Gervais with Stephen Merchant [co-creators of the British version of The Office].

Kate Sheehan can be reached at ksheehanATbiblioDOTorg.
Amy Terlaga, Assistant Director, User Services and open source interviewer, can be reached at terlagaATbiblioDOTorg.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

BibliOak Project Timeline Established

Bibliomation staff had a really good open source meeting yesterday afternoon. Melissa Lefebvre, our Open Source Project Manager, presented the first draft of our BibliOak Development Partner migration timeline. The planned Go Live Date for the three automated development partner libraries is the first week of March 2010. We'll be plenty busy until that time. We've already met with Beacon Falls, Windham Free, and the Douglas Library, Hebron for our initial orientation meeting. We meet with the Slater Library, Griswold this Friday.

The Windham Free Library is a "virgin" (non-automated) library so they will have a barcoding project to begin soon. The other three libraries have non-standard item barcodes so we will be using the ITG Scan & Print system to generate 14-digit barcodes with unique library prefixes for each of them. The programming is almost completed on ITG's end for Beacon Falls, the first library to take on this task.

Melissa will be providing online demonstrations of the Evergreen staff client and web catalog for all four development partners the week of November 16th. Then we will be meeting with each library for all-day profiling sessions so that we can record their collection needs and circulation policies, to be programmed into their Evergreen server.

Nice to have a good plan in place!

Amy Terlaga
Assistant Director, User Services

Friday, October 30, 2009

BibliOak: Logo Unveiled

Here is the new logo for Bibliomation's Open Source Project. The BibliOak logo was designed by Scott Clark, a freelance graphic designer. We are very pleased with the way our new logo came out. It went through several iterations until we hit upon this one. The oak tree, Connecticut's state tree, is perfect for the O.

We hope you like it as much as we do.

Amy Terlaga
Assistant Director, User Services

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Meet the Open Source Team: Spotlight on Ben Shum

Ben Shum is Bibliomation's Open Source Software Coordinator.

Question: You began working at Bibliomation this past summer. How were you found for this position? What have been your job responsibilities since you joined the Bibliomation staff?

Answer: The company, PTFS, placed an ad on behalf of Bibliomation. They were looking for someone with computer/open source software development experience and I had three of the twelve skills listed - Java script, HTML, and Linux experience. I submitted my application on a Thursday, I was called by PTFS on the following Friday, and by that Monday I was being interviewed by Bibliomation. It all happened rather fast. I should also tell you that I was very excited at the prospect of working at Bibliomation. In one of my MLS classes, Foundations in Librarianship, my professor, Dr. Lisa Forman, spoke of Bibliomation's recent investigation of open source library systems. Immediately after I was hired, PTFS sent me to the Evergreen conference in Georgia.

I've been doing all things open source-related since I was hired by Bibliomation.

Question: What kind of work have you been collaborating with Melissa on with regard to the Bibliomation Evergreen test server?

Answer: I put together the test server -- I installed the operating system and the Evergreen software by the second day on the job. I then concentrated on learning the in's and out's of the system. The bugs that I found in version 1.4, I reported to the Evergreen community through the Evergreen IRC chat, and that was my entree into the community itself. They would let me know that the bug was already reported. I also became acquainted with the Evergreen email lists, their dokuwiki pages, and the change logs.

Question: What is your educational background?

Answer: I received my Bachelors of Science in Computer Systems Administration from Andrews University in Michigan in 2008. I'm now in my second year of Southern CT State University's MLS program.

Question: How did you select Library Science?

Answer: It was a lunch with a librarian when I was still an undergrad. It sounded like something I'd want to do - I've always liked the information aspects of computers, always liked documentation. In high school, I worked in the registrar's office and helped with records management. I'm good at most of the steps in the software development cycle - planning, designing, documenting, coding, testing, and maintenance.

Question: What do you like most about Evergreen?

Answer: I like that it's open source, that you can see what you can change. An open-source ILS is not free in the sense of price or efforts. It still requires tremendous thought and preparation. In the end, the product of hard work will belong to us, not a vendor or others. But "us" is not merely the few of "us" here, but the whole community. It is a contribution for the whole, enriching us all.

Question: What do you like to do in your free time?

Answer: I like spending time with my family and friends. Work and school make up my life these days. I enjoy listening to music, especially movie and television soundtracks. Jerry Goldsmith is one of my favorite composers. He did the scores for Star Trek and Air Force One. I also like to play with Ubuntu Linux when I have a free moment.

Ben Shum can be reached at bshumATbiblioDOTorg.
Amy Terlaga, Assistant Director, User Services, and Open Source Team interviewer, can be reached at terlagaATbiblioDOTorg.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Meet the Open Source Team: Spotlight on Melissa Lefebvre

Melissa Lefebvre is Bibliomation's Open Source Project Manager.

Question: How long have you been working for Bibliomation? What job responsibilities have you held?

Answer: I began working at Bibliomation in 2004. My primary job responsibility is web services administration for Bibliomation's member libraries. I handle the web catalog customization, as well as web server support. I also support our web catalog add-ons, like WowBrary (new item lists) and our PC/Print Management system, LibraryMetricks. I am now also responsible for project managing Bibliomation's migration to Evergreen.

Question: What is your responsibility as Open Source Project Manager for Bibliomation?

Answer: My ultimate goal is to migrate our 48 public libraries and 20 K-12 schools to Evergreen. Before that migration, I will project manage the migration of our four development partner public libraries to Evergreen. I also will be spreading the good word of the open source ILS to the greater library world. I want to dispel the myth that the open source ILS is a primitive system. It is fully functional and will be ready for our libraries to use on Day One.

Question: What is your educational background?

Answer: I received my Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fine Art Photography from RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology) in '97. I then received my Photographic Conservation Certificate two years later from the George Eastman House in Rochester. Then came my MLS - I received that degree in 2004 from Southern CT State University, in New Haven. My first library job was at the Middlebury Public Library. While there I interned at Bibliomation and was eventually hired.

Question: What do you like most about Evergreen?

Answer: From the community standpoint, I love the consortial aspect, their willingness to share their resources. I love this communal sharing among the libraries. From a program standpoint, I love the RSS feeds in the OPAC. Our libraries will be able to use them to provide new item lists; they could also be used to provide school summer reading lists. I also like the fact that Evergreen has a staff client. This is what our libraries are used to.

Question: What do you like to do in your free time?

Answer: What free time? Ideally, I use my free time to do photography. I also like to hike. I'm interested in forensic science so anything oriented to that - the show, NCIS and books on forensics -- I'm interested in. I have a two-year old so I'm also into coloring, and I make a mean batch of Play-Doh. I also like to make lotions and lip balms - I made some cheeky chocolate lip balm last Christmas that tasted like an Andes mint.

Melissa can be reached at mlefebvreATbiblioDOTorg.
Amy Terlaga, Bibliomation's Assistant Director and open source team interviewer, can be reached at terlagaATbiblioDOTorg.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Open Source -- Growing Interest among CT Libraries

This morning I attended the University of Hartford's presentation on their July 14th migration to LibLime's Enterprise Koha. Ben Ide, Tech Services Librarian for their library, explained why they made the move to open source and how their migration went - what went well, what didn't, and what still needs to happen to make Koha function well for them. (They're still waiting on course reserves, the importing of authorities, the acquisitions module called GetIt, browsing, and music searches so that their music librarians are able to pull up all records in their collection related to their search.) The University of Hartford had partnered with WALDO so that they could pool their financial and staff resources in a cooperative arrangement that will help them finance further software enhancements.

There were a number of librarians from stand-alone systems at this University of Hartford presentation. When I explained to the group Bibliomation's plans to migrate to Evergreen within the next two years and that we'd be open to hosting other libraries on our servers, this seemed to pique the interest of at least a few members of the group. Nate Curulla, Director of Marketing for the open source support vendor, ByWater Solutions, was there to answer anyone's questions about the kind of training and support models they can provide interested libraries. Chris Bradley, from the CT Library Consortium, was also there; she would like to explore some kind of an open source support partnership with Bibliomation somewhere down the road.

We are living in interesting times!

Amy Terlaga
Assistant Director, User Services

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Conversation with Catherine Lemmer of the Indiana State Library

Earlier today I had a chance to talk with Catherine Lemmer, the Project Manager of the Indiana State Library's Evergreen migration.

By the end of November, Indiana, with the help of Equinox, will have migrated 48 of their libraries over to Evergreen. Twelve of these libraries had non-standard item barcodes. Indiana used ITG's Scan & Print system to generate 14 digit barcodes from these non-standard ones. They did this with a software program written by ITG that pads each item barcode with a five-digit unique prefix for each library and additional zeroes for padding to get to those 14 digits.

Indiana used 20 printers that generated these new item barcodes when scanned. Catherine claims that it is so easy to use ITG's Scan & Print system that everyone from high school volunteers to the octogenarian set can do it. They've barcoded items from 30,000 to as many as 160,000 in a library collection. They even barcoded as many as 35,000 items in one weekend with 7 printers going simultaneously.

Towards the end of our conversation, Catherine suggested that I talk to the folks at the North Texas Library Consortium who have also migrated to Evergreen. They also used ITG's Scan & Print System and might have additional insights and suggestions for me.

I'll close by saying that it was a real pleasure talking with Catherine. She and I agreed to stay in touch as Indiana may be migrating 4 schools to Evergreen as a pilot project. Bibliomation has 20 K-12 schools and we would be interested in their findings.

Amy Terlaga
Assistant Director, User Services

Monday, October 19, 2009

BibliOak - A Bibliomation Open Source Project

We have come up with a name for our developmental partner project -- BibliOak. It's very catchy, isn't it? (The oak is the state tree of Connecticut.) We have a graphic designer working on the logo for us and it should be ready for prime time very soon.

We also had a "planning to plan" conference call with the folks at Equinox last Friday. We might be able to bring all four developmental partner libraries up at the same time with a possible target date of mid-February 2010. Melissa Lefebvre, our Open Source Project Manager, will develop the time line to see if we can make ends meet.

During the phone call with Equinox, we learned of a good way for our developmental partner libraries to re-barcode their collections. (Currently, the three automated libraries have non-standard barcodes and the potential for duplication is too great for them to go into the system as is.) Shae Tetterton, of Equinox, explained to us Indiana's use of ITG's Scan & Print system, a device that adds a unique library identifier to the existing item barcode upon checkout. The Scan & Print system then prints out an item barcode label, ready to slap right over the old item barcode onto the book itself! I hope to talk to someone at Indiana shortly to learn more about their use of this ITG Scan & Print system.

More information to follow ....

Amy Terlaga
Assistant Director, User Services

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Evergreen Demonstration, Massachusetts Network Meeting

The following is excerpted from a Connecticut Library Consortium (CLC) email listserv posting, made earlier this afternoon:

Friday, December 11, 2009
How's It Going?: An Inside Look at Bibliomation's Migration to Evergreen 9:30 coffee, 10:00-noon meeting Middlebury PL
Online Registration coming soon at www.ctlibrarians.org.

Just 18 months ago Bibliomation's Planning Committee, Board of Directors, and User Council made the decision to move in the direction of Open Source. Now they have decided to establish Evergreen as the preferred migration path of the network's Integrated Library System, supported by Equinox.

Bibliomation's staff will discuss their impending migration with CT colleagues. In addition, staff from the Merrimack Valley Library Consortium in Massachusetts will be coming down to Connecticut to see the presentation and discuss what kinds of enhancements they could co-sponsor. (The three large networks in Massachusetts--NOBLE, C.W. MARS and Merrimack Valley--have been working on an Open Source solution that could be shared between their organizations. The Tri-Network Committee has just recommended Evergreen as the platform of choice. That decision has to be ratified by the three network boards, but they have already been awarded a joint $412,000 LSTA Grant specifically to develop an Open Source alternative for the state!) As Bibliomation's CEO Mike Simonds says, "Needless to say, it will be very beneficial for us to have a large cooperative Evergreen project in our neighbor to the north."

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Library 2.0 Gang On Open Source

"Can the open source ILS sector scale?" is the question the Library 2.0 Gang asks this month.

Listen to host, Richard Wallis, gang members, Carl Grant, Marshall Breeding, and Frances Haugen, and guest panelist, Brendan Gallagher (of ByWater Solutions), as they kick the open source ILS ball around.

The gang all agreed -- Leadership in the open source library community is key to the sustainability of the open source ILS marketplace.

To listen to this October 8th podcast, go to:

Amy Terlaga
Assistant Director, User Services

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Evergreen, Drupal, Focus of Lyrasis Conference

Yesterday, I attended a one-day Lyrasis conference at the Olin College of Engineering, in Needham, MA, called "Open Source in Your Library." (Lyrasis, formed by the merger of PALINET and SOLINET, just merged with NELINET.) The three speakers for the day were:
  • Joe Lucia, Director of Falvey Memorial Library, Villanova University
  • Dan Scott, Systems Librarian, Laurentian University, Ontario
  • Karen Coombs, Head of Web Services, University of Houston Libraries
The message that ran through each of the presenters' presentations was, "Don't be afraid to try open source in your library. It may help to save us from irrelevance."

Joe Lucia kicked things off by providing his ideological views on the benefits of the open source community for libraries. He emphasized the importance of "the commons," a social and cultural platform for libraries for the exchange and refinement of ideas. Joe also outlined some of the challenges open source faces before it can grab hold in a major way; he mentioned Marshall Breeding's 2008 Library Automation Survey, a reality check for those of us open source evangelists:
  1. We're still a small minority in the greater library automation picture
  2. We have a "true believer" problem, in that we preach to the already converted
  3. We need to get more good reviews in the support vendor marketplace
Other challenges Lucia outlined had more to do with today's generation of librarians, that if we have to wait until the next generation to make the open source leap, this might already be too late. Our professional culture is marked by timid leadership, legacy data standards (ex: the MARC record), complete investment in legacy institutions (ex: OCLC), and the notion that open source must be perfect before it is embraced. Joe didn't stop there in his laundry list of challenges - libraries have fixed/diminishing funds, a long addiction to proprietary vendor support, a lack of technical confidence, and too much dependence on a small cadre of talented individuals, instead of strong communities. In addition, the big vendor companies are competing head-to-head with open source by developing OPAC discovery tool add-ons, further dividing libraries and keeping them addicted to this proprietary vendor industry.

Joe ended his presentation on a positive note by providing a basic roadmap for libraries to follow so that a robust open source community can flourish. The most important point he made - stop investing in expensive hardware and proprietary vendor software and support, and start investing in talented staff with technical expertise and collaborative open source communities.

Dan Scott, of Laurentian University, explained his work on Project Conifer, a shared Evergreen migration and software development project with many universities in Ontario, Canada. These universities migrated to Evergreen in May 2009, after approximately two years of development work and testing on Evergreen, including:
  • OPAC interface improvements (internationalization features added, customized OPAC skins)
  • The addition of localized URIs
  • The creation of basic serials display and editing screens
  • A Reserves module
  • Lots of input on how Acq works in Canadian academic institutions
  • Z39.50 server maturity
  • Early testing of the Evergreen 1.6 release
Dan emphasized the importance of communication for open source to work, that the software can only improve when you report back to the community, not just to your particular open source support vendor.

Dan also mentioned that Laurentian's reference staff and students had to get used to the simplicity of the OPAC search, that the relevancy ranking in Evergreen is so good that the keyword search is often the best way to go when using the library catalog.

Karen Coombs, Web Services Librarian Extraordinaire, evangelized on all things Drupal. With Drupal, one of the more popular open source content management systems out there, you can "de-silo-ize" your library's many library resources for better integration in searching. Karen highlighted many of Drupal's search and social networking features like RSS feeds, organic groups, faceted searching, user tags, user ratings, and reviews. The best live example of beefing up your library catalog on Drupal with many of these social networking features - John Blyberg's Darien Library catalog, called SOPAC. She ended her presentation with a plea to all, to not be afraid to try out one of these open source CMSes, that Wordpress, one of the easiest open source CMSes out there, can be tricked out in all sorts of amazing ways for patron enjoyment.

The conference ended with a Question and Answer session with most audience attendees showing an eagerness to move forward with open source if only they could convince their administrators that it would be worth it in the long run to take a chance on the open source movement.

--Amy Terlaga
Assistant Director, User Services

Monday, October 5, 2009

Bibliomation to use Equinox for Developmental Partners' Migrations

We had our first planning phone call with Shae Tetterton, Project Manager, and Galen Charlton, VP for Data Services, of Equinox. Equinox will be migrating over the bibs, items, and patrons for three of our four developmental partner libraries. (The fourth library, the Windham Free Library, is not currently automated.)

The four developmental partner libraries are:
This first planning phone call was very encouraging. Shae assured us that soon after the contract with Equinox is signed, they would set up a Project Kick-Off phone call, and there would be regularly scheduled calls following this initial call.

Our tentative plan is to have the first developmental partner library live by the end of January 2010.

Stay tuned for more . . .

Amy Terlaga
Assistant Director, User Services

Kate Sheehan joins Bibliomation's Open Source Team

The following excerpt was taken from an email earlier today from Mike Simonds, Bibliomation's CEO, to Bibliomation's library directors:

Bibliomation is delighted to announce that Kate Sheehan will be joining its staff in November. Kate is well known in Connecticut as a Technology Columnist for Connecticut Libraries, and for her innovative work in implementing “LibraryThing for Libraries” at the Danbury Public Library. She has also presented at several Computers in Libraries Conferences.

Kate has accepted the newly created position of Open Source Implementation Coordinator. In that capacity she will round out the Bibliomation Evergreen team that includes the Open Source Project Manager, Melissa Lefebvre, and the Bibliomation Software Coordinator, Ben Shum. This is the team that will be responsible for implementing the Bibliomation Evergreen Developmental Partners Project this fall.

You can read more about Kate and her views on open source on her blog, Loose Cannon Librarian (http://loosecannonlibrarian.net/).

--Amy Terlaga
Assistant Director, User Services

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Conference Call with King County

Bibliomation staff participated earlier this afternoon in a GoToMeeting/conference call with Jed Moffitt and Matt Carlson of King County Library System (KCLS). King County has poured quite a bit of development dollars into Evergreen enhancements, including refinements to their Circulation client and development of their Acquisitions module. (They have contracted with Equinox for these enhancements to Evergreen.)

King County has also just won a sizable IMLS grant to the tune of $998,556 so that they can further develop the peer-to-peer support model that works so well among public libraries.

Matt Carlson showed off some of the new circulation screens and emphasized that the driving developmental force behind these new screens was a focused eye on usability. They have streamlined the circulation interface in ways that make perfect sense. Some examples (some of which have been rolled into the Evergreen 1.6 client):

  • Checkout, checkin buttons on a toolbar
  • Patron registration can now be completed all on one screen
  • Built-in, configurable links to help screens, circulation manual
  • Patron search now displays horizontally, giving more real estate to the results screen
  • Patron screen gives a quick summary of number of items, bills, etc.
  • Can now easily add a patron note, alert, or block to patron record
  • Can now place hold from within the patron record without the need to enter in the patron information again
  • Ability to display item detail information on one screen from item status
  • Plans to add item history (last 10 items) from the Check-in Screen

We'd like to publicly thank Jed and Matt for taking the time to show us some of the fruits of their labor. They have made some fantastic enhancements to the Evergreen staff client and I am so grateful that the rest of us who are Evergreen-bound will be able to reap the benefit of it. We here at Bibliomation are very much looking forward to the possibility of collaborating with KCLS on Evergreen improvements in the future.

--Amy Terlaga / Assistant Director, User Services / terlagaATbiblioDOTorg

Network Services Meeting

Yesterday, Network Services met and got their first look at Bibliomation Evergreen 1.4 (our demo/test server). There was a lot of excitement in the air as I was showing Evergreen to them. The members also had some great suggestions as to things that would further improve Evergreen and those suggestions are:

1) Have a button in the patron's account so that they can request a change of address/phone number which would alert staff to a new address/phone next time the patron was checking out items in the library so that library staff could update the patron's information accordingly.

2) An option for patrons to "opt-in" to see their check out history which should only be available to the patrons if they decide they want to keep track of the books they read.

3) A way to exempt fines due to library closing for special events.

4) Book-Drop mode. Currently you can set the check in date manually, but a book-drop mode button that would automatically set the date to the library's last open day of service would really help staff (especially over long weekends or holiday closings)

5) The ability to print receipts via a Function key.

Thanks to everyone who participated and gave excellent ideas and thoughts. This is what open source is all about....sharing ideas to improve the ILS.


Monday, September 28, 2009

Biblio's Open Source Project now on Facebook

Hi all--

Bibliomation's Open Source Developmental Partners Project now has a home on Facebook.

Four small public libraries - the Douglas Library, in Hebron, the Slater Library, in Griswold, the Beacon Falls Library, and the Windham Free Library - have volunteered to work with Bibliomation in a pilot project which will allow us to implement and test new enhancements to the Evergreen software.

To join the group:


For questions about the project itself, you can email Bibliomation's Open Source Project Manager, Melissa Lefebvre at mlefebvreATbiblioDOTorg.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Bibliomation Board approves Evergreen recommendation

The following message was first posted on September 25th by Mike Simonds, CEO of Bibliomation, on Connecticut's conntech listserv, a list that focuses on technology in CT's libraries:
[Any questions you may have regarding our migration plan can be sent to me at terlagaATbiblioDOTorg] --Amy


On September 24th the Bibliomation Board of Directors voted to accept a staff recommendation to establish the Evergreen Open Source Software system as the future migration path for the network. This recommendation was based on fifteen months of investigation. The Bibliomation staff download both the Evergreen and Koha Open Source Software products, loaded identical sets of test records on both systems, then evaluated the two products against over 120 separate functional requirements. This testing provided conclusive evidence that the Evergreen option is the more consortia friendly of the Open Source alternatives currently available.

This decision does not imply an imminent system migration for Bibliomation. There are still a number of enhancements to the Evergreen Software that we feel will be necessary before such a migration is feasible. We will, however, move ahead with the Bibliomation Developmental Partners Project. Four small public libraries have volunteered to work with the network in a pilot project which will allow us to implement and test new enhancements to the Evergreen software. Bibliomation will migrate each of these libraries into a small, fully functional shared Evergreen system, which will, in turn act as a test bed for the software improvements as they are developed. In return for their cooperation in this project Bibliomation has created a very favorable cost structure that will fully reflect the potential financial savings Open Source has to offer libraries.

The four libraries that have agreed to participate in this project are: The Beacon Falls Public Library, The Douglas Library Association of Hebron, The Slater Library in Griswold, and the Windham Free Library Association. We will be scheduling profiling meetings with these libraries in October and hope to have a functioning shared Evergreen cooperative system operational in Connecticut by early 2010.

Michael J. Simonds

Chief Executive Officer

Bibliomation, Inc.

32 Crest Road

Middlebury, CT. 06762

203-577-4070 x106