This past week my library went live with Evergreen, hosted by the Sitka consortium, which is part of the BC Library Cooperative. It was really satisfying and exhausting to migrate our integrated library system (ILS).
It was such a pleasure to work with the Sitka team again. I adore my old teammates, and the new folks that have joined the team bring huge amounts of experience with ILSes (how do you pluralize that word without making it ugly?) and technology.
It was interesting to be on the client/site side of a migration. The Sitka team is made up of smart, creative, hardworking people who care about libraries. Sharon Herbert, the Project Manager, is organized, pragmatic, diplomatic and calm. I’m thrilled that Ben Hyman is back as the Executive Director of the Cooperative, as he was with Sitka before it was even called that.
I was so impressed by Mark Bucholtz understanding of how our legacy data was structured, his clear and friendly communication skills, and speed–he works extremely quickly. I don’t think I would’ve ever described a data migration as elegant before, but it was. He was part of the proprietary vendor team that initially automated our library over 10 years ago. I thought we automated 13 years ago, but Marshall Breeding’s site says it was 16 years ago.
James Fournie did a bunch of work to adapt the KCLS PAC for our library catalogue. At an art and design university how the library catalogue looks is as important as how it functions. The new catalogue is a big improvement in both areas. If you look at the catalogue in Chrome, you will see a tiny microphone icon in the search box. Click on the icon, and speak into your computer’s mic to enter search terms. This is something that Dan Scott added to the PAC that James also added to ours. While it didn’t seem to actually work it really impressed my boss and underscored how we would benefit from an active development community. This is a radically different model than most libraries have been used to.
On the training and support side, Tina Ji and Laurie were fantastic. They both have so much experience with ILSes and understand library workflows. Tina knows Evergreen so well, I’m always impressed on Sitka committee teleconferences at her detailed knowledge of various settings and permissions.
While go-live is past, there’s still a bunch of work to do: more staff training, setting up serials’ prediction patterns (which may be the bane of my existence–I’d really like to explore how we can standardize and share these between libraries, regardless of the ILS), streamlining our acquisitions workflows and setting up new ways to tracks funds that don’t involve extra spreadsheets, and setting up bookings, which used to be a manual process for us, and figuring out how we want to do reserves. Thankfully our summer semester is relatively quiet, so we have time to clean up, fix things up, and gear up for September.
I have some half formed thoughts on the migration process, the Evergreen community, and changing business models for library software and resource sharing. After some reflection I hope to post them here.