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

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 (

--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.