1. Edward M. Corrado

    I think Bob is on to something, the whole “it is developed by a bunch of people in a garage wearign Duran Duran T-shirts” type of complaints is not heard that much anymore. I think what Georgia PINES did with Evergreen was amazing considering the short time they had to work on it. Not only did they come up with a very usable product at low cost, but I think what might even be more important is the proved that with the proper infrastructure and leadership, Open Source can be, and is, viable for libraries.

    BTW: To be fair, some of the proprietary ILSs out there can accommodate separate circulation policies. Like Open Source products, proprietary ones vary greatly in there ability to deal with different tasks. While I am a big supporter of Open Source, I think that we do my harm then good when we say proprietary ILSs can’t do this or that, when we mean Proprietary ILS X can’t do this or that. We don’t want FUD against Open Source, so we shouldn’t spread it about non-Open Source offerings.

  2. Ed, thanks for clarifying for me – like I said I was just making an assumption based on the way things were being said, no one actually said that proprietary systems can’t do that.

  3. Nicole,
    Thanks for the nice report. Three corrections, please:

    1) The word “superconsortium” was independently created by Mike Rylander and me and at about the same time. We found this out as we so often do in boarding a plane when we each said to the other: “I have something to tell you.” And we both said the word “Superconsortium” about the same time. This was February 2009. We had both seen the beginnings of what is now a functioning thing: cooperation within the community at the consortial level. I think the Kids’ OPAC story with Amy’s post to the list asking for folks who would join in supporting development was a signal event.

    2) Re FUD. The term “educated” is Nicole’s and it may be correct. I think that what happened with each piece of FUD, it went away when it was no longer true or when it had been discounted. Dope smoking hippies? The code worked so impugning the developers wouldn’t work any more. Only in Georgia? Prince Rupert PL goes live in British Columbia and end of that. Only public libraries…there is the U of Prince Edward Island and end of that. Etc. Now the current FUD has to do with acquisitions and in a bit that will not be heard any more. If FUD is still in the air, we will see what it is. The shifting FUD has been amusing.

    3) I do not believe I said anything about the capabilities of other ILSs except to observe that Evergreen was the first system designed to be a consortial library system (another term Mike and I independently arrived at). There are other systems that handle consortia. The example I cited–without naming it–it seems to me to be an historical fact that the network split because of limitations in software and folks there essentially confirmed it to me. Limitations in software led to a similar choice for PINES: split and have limitations in software force a change in a longstanding information policy pursued with Georgia public libraries–or do something else. They did something else: Evergreen. Another signal decision in the history of library software. The information policy word was made flesh in Evergreen–if I may paraphrase Scripture.

    Incidentally, that ILS today is used in systems that reportedly circulate more items than PINES so it is more than circulation transactions. I understand it was a database limitation but don’t know enough about it to do more than report what I was told.

    I do want to add to something Ed said. There are many fine ILSs that are supported by excellent companies. And before we get too frisky, it is worth remembering a few numbers. (rough numbers from memory and before the second cup of coffee!) There are in the US 9,200 public library systems running in 17,000 “outlets.” In the US, there are fewer than 200 public library systems with fewer than 500 outlets running Evergreen. We are just at the beginning of this thing and we have a ways to go before we can swagger.

    It is clear, though, particularly after that excellent meeting in Grand Rapids–what a gem of a town–that we have some pretty good resources to build on. And, I think we all believe, a better model for most libraries.

    Bob Molyneux

  4. Thanks for the clarifications Bob, there is only so much I can catch while trying to write up everything that’s being said and keep my spelling and grammar in check :)

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