Evergreen in Scotland event 19/10/11
This event was funded by PTFS, a support company for Open Source Library Management systems Evergreen and Koha. It was organised in conjunction with the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) and introduced the SEDAR consortium from Stirling and East Dumbartonshire public libraries.
After frustration with their existing Library Management system vendor, several Scottish libraries were looking for more control but also the back-up of external hosting, training and support. Another advantage was control over developing code to solve problems, then being able to share that freely with other libraries, rather than the vendor charging each local authority to develop the same piece of useful code. They intend to feed back new developments back into the Evergreen open source community for other libraries to use without cost.
The process of specifications then tenders began in October 2010, with the contract awarded to PTFS in January 2011. Overall it should provide 30% revenue savings. The system is due to go live on the 1st of December and it will be the first Evergreen installation in the UK.
I’m a huge believer in Open Source software generally, especially in libraries with lower budgets, and I have always resented paying the annual licensing fee for our library management software for a system that doesn’t really fulfil our needs. We are constantly using workarounds because we cannot change the system and I don’t feel I have real access to the database behind the software. This became even more apparent when we started looking at data migration and moving our library data into a new system.
Evergreen started in 2004 with 4 people employed to provide a better LMS for the state of Georgia in the USA. The system went live in 2006 then the original developers went on to form Equinox – now the main support company in the USA. The LMS is now used by 521 systems in 1,106 outlets, still primarily in the USA and public libraries. From my point of view, I was interested to hear this included 36 special libraries and I would like to contact some of those in the future. The increased number of organisations using Evergreen has increased the number of developers and also the pace of change. Version 2.0 of Evergreen was released on January 26th 2011, and 2.1 has now been released on October 4th with some significant new changes. New updates are now expected every six months.