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

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.”

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

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

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