Bibliomation, Inc., a consortium of over 60 libraries in Connecticut that includes public and K–12 school libraries, has launched a pilot project to implement the open source Evergreen ILS, with commercial support set to be provided by Equinox Software.
New automation projects based on open source ILS products have become increasingly common among North American libraries and consortia, though they continue to represent only a small minority of the total number of ILS transitions. New open source automation initiatives continue to be newsworthy since they represent a growing trend in the field, though this must be viewed in perspective—implementations of proprietary ILS systems happen far more frequently and often for much larger-scale projects.
Once the transition to Evergreen is completed, it will be the fourth automation system supporting this consortium. Bibliomation was founded in 1980, originally using the GLIS system from Geac to automate its member libraries. From 1994–2003 Bibliomation used Carl, which was replaced by Horizon in 2003. Bibliomation has launched a project to migrate its automation program from its current SirsiDynix Horizon platform to Evergreen. It has entered into a contract with Equinox Software for services related to migrating data, implementation, and ongoing support.
The migration to Evergreen will begin in four libraries identified as development partners. These include the Beacon Falls Public Library, the Slater Library in Griswold, CT, Windham Free Library association, and the Douglas Library Association in Hebron, CT. Bibliomation’s strategy has been to focus on open source options for replacing their current Horizon ILS. The stakeholders in Bibliomation, including its Board of Directors, User Council and a Planning Committee, arrived at a decision in July 2008 that favored an open source strategy for its shared automation system rather than a procuring another proprietary ILS. Once the decision was made to pursue only open source options, the next step involved identifying which of the two viable options was the best match for their needs. The consortium investigated both Koha and Evergreen, comparing their relative merits in functionality and in the ability to support a multi-type consortium. As part of their selection process, test implementations of both Koha and Evergreen were set up and evaluated using identical record sets. Bibliomation ultimately settled on Evergreen as the next automation system for its member libraries. They signed a contract with Equinox on November 7, 2009, following the approval of the Board of Directors in September.
Assuming a successful implementation and testing of Evergreen in the pilot libraries, it will be phased in as the consortium’s production system by 2012. Bibliomation has named their open source project BiblioOak, and has established a group on Facebook and a blog to publicize its progress.
Kate Sheehan was recently hired as Bibliomation’s open source implementation coordinator. She comes to Bibliomation from Darien Public Library, noted for its development of SOPAC, a next-generation library catalog based on Drupal. Sheehan was also involved in the implementation of LibrayThing for Libraries at the Danbury Public Library and writes for the TechSource blog.
Bibliomation plans to participate in the IMLS-funded project led by the King County Library System to develop training, documentation and other infrastructure to facilitate the implementation of open source ILS products in libraries.