Non-stop Evergreen, or "What I'm doing on my summer vacation"

Posted on Thu 26 August 2010 in Libraries

Last week, I started my summer vacation with a weekend at a friend's cottage. By Tuesday I was deeply engrossed in some Evergreen enhancement work for the International Institute of Social History. I'm building an authorities management user interface that properly exposes Evergreen's powerful authority support in the 2.0 release: browsing authority lists, editing authorities and having the updates ripple through to the bibliographic records with controlled fields, merging and deleting authorities... here's a screenshot of the interface in progress: |image0|. The numbers represent the number of bibliographic records linked to each authority record. These are still early days, but I think there are some cataloguers that are going to be pretty excited about this functionality when they get their hands on it.

This week, I'm on location in the Robertson Library at the University of Prince Edward Island doing some Evergreen consulting work for them. The good people at UPEI have put my family and I up in a nice cottage on the island, so I'm toiling away at improving Evergreen during the day while my family explores the island. Melissa Belvadi and Grant Johnson have put together a list of pain points that they would like me to address that happen to mesh nicely with general pain points that have come up over the years on the Evergreen mailing lists. My first priority has been to make working with spine labels a little less aggravating. I'm happy to say that after a day and a half, I've been able to teach the spine label editor how to (*gasp*) move up and down with the arrow keys and (*ooh-ahh*) insert and delete new lines and (*w00t*) have the spine label defaults come from library settings that only have to be set once instead of being individually set by each cataloguer. Oh, and I've added font size, font weight, and font family to those settings so that you can have 20 pt. bold Helvetica spine labels if you want them.

All of this code is being committed to Evergreen trunk as I hit functionality milestones; much of the authority work has made its way into the Evergreen 2.0 alpha release that was cut on Monday (although not yet announced officially). On Monday I also cut the OpenSRF 1.6.0-alpha release and uploaded a virtual image built on Debian Squeeze reflecting the OpenSRF/Evergreen alpha releases to (note that it's 500 MB, and does not come with X installed, so it's primarily aimed at users that are already familiar with Evergreen and just want to see the new stuff without having to go through the entire install process).

I did take some time off of Evergreen development this afternoon, as I was honoured to be one of the two guests on the FLOSS Weekly podcast. Mike Rylander and I were there to discuss Evergreen with the hosts, Randal Schwartz and Dan Lynch. Unfortunately for Mike, me, and the audience, Mike's Skype connection kept dropping and I had to do the bulk of the talking. Despite missing the contributions from Mike's massive brain, I'm told that the show went well. So if you're interested in hearing a bit about Evergreen and why I do what I do, keep an eye open for the interview at - it should be edited and online by Friday, August 27th at the latest. I tried not to swear too often so they wouldn't have to do much editing work - heh.

Finally, somewhere in there I celebrated another birthday. Oh yeah! Older? Yes! Wiser? Probably not.