Evergreen Acquisitions at VALE's Next Generation Academic Library System Symposium

Posted on Sat 15 March 2008 in Libraries

On Wednesday, I was fortunate enough to join a distinguished panel

of speakers and a crowded music hall at VALE's Next Generation Academic Library System Symposium at The College of New Jersey. I had been invited to

present an update on the state of acquisitions support in Evergreen, as well

as to provide a brief overview of Project Conifer (the collaboration

between Laurentian University, McMaster University, and the University of

Windsor to create a consortial implementation of Evergreen).

To summarize what I intended to be the main points of my

presentation (which may or may not have come through in real life):

  • Project Conifer is an existing effort to create a shared consortial implementation of Evergreen for academic institutions; we would be delighted to have others join forces with us

  • If acquisitions isn't as far along as we would have hoped by now, it's because

    • We (the Project Conifer institutions) haven't contributed enough

      development resource to the effort thus far - although we are planning to

      correct this problem in the near term by hiring one or more developers to

      work on the requirements that we, as academic institutions, need for a

      successful Evergreen experience. If you're interested in a position as an

      Evergreen developer for Project Conifer,

      let's talk.

    • Creating an enterprise-grade acquisitions system demands much more

      effort and attention to detail than creating a simplistic acquisitions

      system that would be acceptable for a small library. If it took two years

      to build Evergreen's circulation, cataloging, reporting, and OPAC functionality

      from scratch, it's not unreasonable that it should take a year or more to

      build an acquisitions system to the same standards as the rest of Evergreen

  • Evergreen acquisitions has made significant progress since December 2007,

    and at this pace we expect a complete set of basic functionality to be in

    place by the end of April. By "basic functionality" I mean that the manual

    acquisitions mode should be supported with a minimalist user interface. MARC

    order record batch loading, EDI send/receive support, and a more polished

    user interface will take some more time - probably September-ish 2008. You can see the in-development, regularly updated bare-bones interface at http://acq.open-ils.org/oils/acq/base/index.

I have to say that Equinox is making incredible progress considering that

they're still doing the bulk of the work with the same amount of development

resource that they had before Georgia PINES went live on Evergreen, and

they started their own company, and they started bringing BC PINES on line,

and they began receiving an onslaught of requests for visits and presentations

and conference calls... imagine what we could do with Evergreen, together,

if a few more sites or consortiums were able to devote human or

financial resources to enhancing Evergreen.

Here are my slides in OpenOffice and PowerPoint format. If you're going to

look at my slides, I highly recommend reading the presenter notes that I wrote;

I've recently realized that presenter notes are as much for the benefit of a

disconnected audience as they are useful preparation material for the presenter. In the absence of a full paper on the subject matter at hand, presenter notes should help flesh out the brevity forced by slideware.

A huge thanks to Ed Corrado, Anne Hoang, and Kurt Wagner for making the overall experience

so enjoyable. I was honoured to be part of such a high-quality panel of


Oh, and as an aside - the entire symposium was videotaped, and the

presentations and question and answer sessions will be made available

from the VALE Web site. I will update this post when those become available. I

wonder if Ed got this idea from code4lib... in any case, I certainly applaud

the initiative.

Update: Umm, more polished acquisitions will likely be available in Sept. 2008, not 2007... thanks to Brad Lajeunesse for pointing out that time travel would be required to make that happen