User Tools

Sitka FAQ (Dec 2010)


How do I find out more about Evergreen?

Where is Evergreen currently installed?

Map of North American installations:

List of Evergreen sites

How do I find out more about the BC Libraries Cooperative?

How do I find out more about Sitka?

How is it that the choice of a new ILS product and the participation in a consortium are tied into the same discussion?

We know King County improved the Evergreen software. How is that software being brought to BC, and what will the implementation schedule look like. How will the migrations work?

KCLS is just one of many libraries participating in the development of Evergreen. KCLS is currently in production on a beta release of Evergreen version 2.x, and as soon as that version becomes a stable release, Sitka will upgrade to it (planned for late Q1, 2011). Here's a great, short (16 minute) video in which the KCLS Director outlines some of the decisions driving their decision to go with Evergreen.

Sitka Governance

How are issues of non-cooperation resolved to satisfaction of multiple parties and interests?

Among Sitka's member libraries? Issues like this are resolved through regular meetings of the Sitka Business Function Group where moderated discussions are based on respectful debate, collaboration and shared vision. The cooperative and open-source models successfully combine self and mutual interest so accommodations can almost always be found.

In the unlikely event issues cannot be resolved in this way, there are formal dispute resolution processes that can be called upon within the Service Management Agreement, developed by the BC Library community.

Governance/Voice/How different than a user group

This piece is critical: Evergreen is an open source initiative, meaning its code is not developed by a vendor. Sitka and the BC Libraries Cooperative are not vendors either. Worldwide, librarians and developers are improving the software in the interests of their end users and their institutions. Unlike a vendor software user group, the Evergreen community is empowered.

What is the communication model for Evergreen, and for Sitka?

The Evergreen global community has numerous communication channels as does Sitka, which makes makes heavy use of its listservs and website. The Sitka BFG meets monthly as do its Working Groups; minutes are posted to the Sitka Website.

Development and prioritization; how does it happen? Who does it? How?

Within Sitka, feature requests drive development. Continuous automated polling of the membership yields the most popular ideas and the Sitka Team actions the development at the top of the list if they are able. If not, Sitka partners with its jurisdictional partners or takes the development out to the community or to 3rd parties on behalf of the membership. But that's not all: members and future members can also sponsor development - again, Sitka coordinates this effort in part to ensure their is no duplication of effort and that the request is developed as soon as possible.

Sitka's In-house Development and Development Partnerships bld_dev_final.pdf

Who decides which development needs are outsourced and which ones library institutions should contribute to? What is the current plan to cultivate and support an open source community (i.e. training) for participating institutions? What is the expectation of larger library systems?

See above. Additionally, all Sitka sites receive training as part of their migration project. In terms of cultivating community, that's what Sitka and the Co-op are all about!

Is there an annual process to vote on ILS enhancements?

Continuous polling - see above


For many smaller libraries, procurement decisions relating to Sitka will not be a major hurdle, largely because of the relatively small investment it represents for them. For other libraries, especially libraries in which ILS investmentis are significant and may involve municipal purchasing departments, there will be requirements for more rigour and transparency in the decision-making process and a greater need to show value for money.

While familiar Request for Proposal processes depend on a traditional vendor paradigm and like-to-like comparitors, the Sitka open-source solution and the Cooperative business model is something of a departure from that process and requires new approaches. Rather than asking outside vendors/organizations to provide quotes on established service delivery parameters, libraries considering Sitka are contemplating joining the BC Libraries Cooperative and becoming part of a collaborative solution, owned and operated by the members. Organizationally, this means that decision-making processes and the business model itself is local and under the members' control. This and the non-proprietary nature of open-source software differentiates Sitka from the vendor paradigm, but while much of this is new to BC libraries, it is not without precedent here and it is becoming increasingly common elsewhere in the world. Many jurisdictions, notably Great Britain and the European Union, New Zealand, Australia and others have embraced both open-source solutions and consortial, enterprise environments very much like that of the BC Libraries Cooperative. Purchasing departments in local governments are also becoming increasingly familiar with evalutation tools for open-source products and services and open-source products are gaining momentum.

Transparency demands a defensible process, but it certainly does not preclude fair evaluation of open-source solutions in cooperative consortium environments. The Cooperative will work with its members to develop a common procurement evaluation tool to assist libraries in showing due dilligence and empirical analysis of Sitka.

Fees and potential for long term savings - what are they?

Libraries coming on to Sitka pay a single, first-year fee that includes a relatively modest migration cost and the first year of recurring fees (sometimes referred to as maintenance fees). In the year after implementing Sitka, a new library will pay only the pro-rated recurring fee determined by their go-live date relative to the Cooperative's fiscal year which ends March 31st. This means a library coming on to Sitka will not pay a full recurring fee until their third year on Sitka.

Fees are based on the costs of providing services, including captial and operating costs, allowing prudent allocations for hardware replacement, business continuity and contingency. Since the Cooperative is a not-for-profit organization, profit does not factor into fees. Sitka fees are determined by libraries using Sitka in consultation with Cooperative management and staff and approved by Members Council. Libraries comparing Sitka recurring fees to their current vendor maitenance costs should carefully consider the total cost of their ILS, including harware, maintenance and replacement, ongoing network, technical and support costs as well as human resource and soft (process) costs related to older, legacy-type systems. Libraries should also factor into this analysis the value of participating in a standards-based enterprise IT platform from which cost-effective, value-added solutions can be leveraged, including third-party solutions such as BiblioCommons.

Long-term savings for participants derive mainly from Sitka's cloud computing/thin-client model which enables libraries to divest themselves of costly servers, software upgrades, etc. The shared service model allows libraries to share (spread) technical, network and support costs, while reducing duplication of fixed costs. Potential exists also for fees to normalize downward in response to economies of scale as Sitka approaches broader uptake throughout the various library sectors. Finally, because Sitka is member owned and operated, there will always be downward pressure on fees. These last two points underline the dynamic at work in a Cooperative business model: they exist not to maximize their own profits, but to promote the economic success of their members. This economic linkage creates reciprocal incentives for the Cooperative to serve its members and for the members to patronize the Cooperative.

BC Libraries Cooperative members have access to the Sitka fee schedule through their secure member login on the BC Libraries Cooperative web site. If a prospective Sitka library is not already a member, it can obtain information about what their fees will be by contacting the Cooperative.

Consortial benefits - what are they?

Like all consortia, Sitka has the advantage of economies of scale, shared resources and risk. Simply put, Sitka, through the BC Libraries Cooperative, allows participating libraries greater buying power, enhanced services and reduced risk. Just as importantly, Sitka provides an enterprise platform that allows authentication and communication between discrete integrated library systems. Realization of the Gateway vision (a single portal to all library products and services) articulated some time ago now by BC libraries, depends heavily on such a platform and a critical mass of participating libraries.

Most importantly of all, a consortial integrated library system means increased access to library servicves throughout the province. Indeed, the primary guiding principle of Sika is "…to benefit BC residents and visitors by providing equitable and seamless access to a rich and diverse range of library services and collections."

Other benefits of Sitka include:

  • Greater database consistency, quality assurance and improved retrieval
  • Better coordination and management of collections and resources and improved communication and cohesiveness amongst libraries
  • User services enjoy increased visibility and familiarity of experience
  • Insurance against volatile vendor market, even for those libraries that do not join
  • Sitka is self-sustaining and in control of its own destiny and development prioritization; libraries have more control within the consortium, not less
  • Software users have direct access to developers and the world-wide development community
  • Frees IT staff to respond to other patron technology service demands

Sitka Team Services and Management

What exactly is being offered in terms of services and support?

Migration of bibliographic, patron and transactional data to Evergreen; Project Management; Training and Support; Annual Fee includes…

  • Hosting
  • System backup and power redundancy
  • Scheduled hardware replacement
  • 24×7 system uptime outside of scheduled off-hour maintenance windows
  • Highly qualified, dedicated support/development staff - Sitka Team
  • Documentation and Training
  • System Administration
  • 7×5 HELP Desk
  • Feature development
  • Central uploads to Outlook Online
  • Unlimited Access to shared Bibliographic Database as a Cataloguing Resource
  • Access to external, approved bibliographic databases via Z39.50
  • Unlimited SIP 2.0 license (integrates with PC Reservation, Self Check)
  • ContentCafe enhanced content (cover art, reviews, table of contents, etc.)
  • Real-time authentication for OverDrive subscribers
  • Central, automated PLSB annual statistics reporting
  • Regular Sitka BFG conference calls
  • Co-ordinated development efforts with global Evergreen community
  • Data conversions

How do Sitka staff priorize fixes and problem resolution? Do you use a ticket process for follow up?

Sitka uses a ticketing system to receive and track all support requests. Regular support is currently available 9×4; emergency after hours support is available 24x7x365.

What documentation is available for Evergreen?

Many of the Evergreen sites have developed excellent documentation including Sitka.

What level of data conversion services are provided?

The Sitka team contains several data conversion experts with data experience from all the major library vendors. Test loads are done to discover and fix any data conversion problems.

When do they perform system maintenance? Data backup?

Maintenance windows are scheduled biweekly in off-hours; data backup is scheduled on a daily routine

How do they beta test new software? Is there a test server? Or do we test as a group?

Upgrades, patches, new releases etc are all tested on non-production server environments by the Team. Some development work may be beta-tested by sites on test servers, depending on test requirements.

How are software updates handled (testing phase, installing the updates at our end, are we forced to on their schedule, etc)?

Centrally managed, tested in non-production environments first. Sites are notified about planned off-hours service- impacting upgrades well in advance

What is the service level agreement for uptime? The backup frequency? The disaster recovery plan?

Sitka strives for 99.999% uptime outside of planned off-hours service windows. Since January 2010, Sitka has had a total of 3 hours of unplanned system-wide outages, reflecting an average of 99.2% system-wide uptime based on typical open hours across the majority of Sitka sites.

Technological Infrastructure; what is it/where is it/how good is it/is it scalable/what is the backup environment?

See above. Scalability was a key piece to Sitka “going Evergreen” - GPLS demonstrated scalability very clearly, and we've further proven it (from 0 to 41 sites in 3 years). All servers are Dell - a Hardware renewal is being planned now for implementation in 2011. A network diagram of Sitka's hardware infrastructure is available.

What kind of service support is offered? Particularly for Disaster Recovery?

See above. Sitka's infrastructure is located in a highly secure commercial data centre with redundant power supplies. Offsite storage routines are well developed and comprehensive.

How do libraries connect to the data center specifically (VPN, connection speed, connection type, etc), and what (if any) are the hardware considerations on our end (aka dedicated VPN router, dedicated ISP connection, options, etc)?

Libraries connect to the servers via an SSL connection. The better your broadband, the better your mileage. Having said that, the vast majority of Sitka's sites are using lo-grade business connections (Shaw/Telus business). The staff client is <7mb installed; standard PC hardware is recommended. For data migration, we normally provide FTP access, however if you wish a more secure alternative, we can provide SFTP access and accomodate any major checksum or encryption method you wish to use.

Are there plans to mirror the source/or the site around the province to avoid system failures? Are there plans for redundancy?

None currently, though it is conceivable. Our infrastructure includes various redundancies on various physical servers and virtual servers. Our database is replicated onto a secondary server and backed up to a third server regularly. Aside from the database, we are also able to quickly provision a Sitka production-ready system from 3rd party source code repositories.

Services/Support; what exactly is the service that's offered? What other services are being considered?

See above. The BC Libraries Cooperative recently established a Licensing Business Function Group to support the implementation of BiblioCommons in BC and to explore consortial purchasing of other products. Countless service offerings exist.

Tell us about the Sitka Team

We'll be happy to on the 9th! In the meantime, here's a Team Organizational Chart org_chart.pdf


What are the privacy issues in a single patron database? Particularly for library's with strong policies on patron privacy?

As a consortial ILS, Sitka's Privacy policy is necessarily very extensive and has been carefully considered. Main concerns revolve around ensuring that users have only authroized access to patron and staff information. Sitka conforms to the privacy protection provisions of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and BC's Privacy Guidelines for Public Libraries. Access to staff and patron information is partitioned and role-based, conforming to the Need to Know principle. Libraries coming on to Sitka will not relinquish local access and privacy controls and we welcome input into the formation of consortium-wide privacy and security guidelines and policies.

What are the dangers of a single patron database and what are the standards for such information collection if any (for example, in our library by contract with vendors, we do not allow data to be transported in the US due to Patriot Act ; we do not allow commercial advertising on the system ; we do not do any marketing with the patron database, some exceptions for local environment require Board approval, etc

We look forward to this conversation, and offer here just a few points:

  • There are no dangers specifically related to a single-patron database that are not also shared by any database.
  • As above, the database is partitioned and access is restricted according to library and role.
  • Access to the system is protected by unique user ids and logins and transimissions are encrypted.
  • Sitka employs industry standards for security controls and is fully compliant with the privacy protection provisions of the FOIPPA, especially as they relate to the collection, use and disclosure of personal information.
  • A full Privacy Impact Assessment, including a review of security controls has been conducted.
  • Sitka is hosted in a secure co-location facitility here in BC (your bank information may be stored in this same building). Likewise, support is provided by Sitka staff located here in BC - the Patriot Act is not a factor.
  • The Cooperative is member-owned and operated. Members (and their boards) make their own decisions about such things as advertising and marketing - the open-source community is not built upon or supported by for-profit advertising.

We know that privacy and security concerns must be addressed before we can focus the converstation on the numerous benefits of a seamless library patron experience made possible only through a shared ILS like Sitka's.

Local Autonomy

It appears there are some areas (such as statuses displayed in the staff and public OPAC) where the decision is global and will apply to every Sitka library. Is there a full list of parameters and or policies that we are not able to set locally?

You will find that Evergreen offers a great deal of local autonomy, and Sitka is always working to make sure libraries' needs are met. Concerns of local autonomy are usually the first thing we look for when assessing software upgrades. Its also important to consider the benefits of all Sitka sites having more uniform statuses, particularly in the OPAC display. For an OPAC-using patron, the terms "mending" or "bindery" or "damaged" on an item status are vague and aren't really meaningful. Similarly, library staff doing ILLs may also benefit from knowing what that statuses of other libraries mean.

  • Currently non-configurable (same settings apply globally, although the settings themselves are adjustable at the global level):
    • patron type labels (how you use these types is up to you, however)
    • circ modifiers (but how you use them is up to you)
    • item statuses
    • Z39.50 servers
    • MARC templates
    • patron identification types (birth certificate, status card, etc)
  • Globally-configurable settings that we plan on making locally-customizable:
    • grace period
    • email notification templates
    • billing types (this is currently possible but a GUI is added in 2.0, we need to migrate our settings)
  • Locally customizable:
    • Circulation settings
      • loan periods and loan policies
      • fine amounts and fine limits
      • lost item and overdue charges
      • damaged item charges
      • lost/damaged item processing fee
      • default item price for lost items
      • generic "grocery" billing types
      • circ policies are completely local (but managed server-side, we are moving away from this in the future)
    • Patron management
      • patron standing penalties/blocks
      • patron notes and alerts
      • surveys
      • freeform "statistical category" fields
    • OPAC
      • OPAC logo and colours
      • Custom OPAC detail display (BibTemplate)
      • Custom OPAC results display (BibTemplate)
      • appearance and branding of your HTML-only SlimPAC
    • Cataloguing
      • non-catalogued item types
      • item shelving locations
      • shelving location display order
      • item setting templates
      • freeform "statistical category" fields
      • spine label styles
    • Misc
      • your library's closed dates and hours of operation
      • library's email reply-to address and phone number
      • juvenile age threshold
      • receipt templates
      • self-serve password reset timeouts
      • credit card transaction settings
    • Staff Client
      • font size
      • sound on/off
      • optional toolbar with buttons for common functions
      • most screens are highly customizable via "column pickers"
      • many screens have the option to remember your display settings

In a consortial arrangement where a certain level of standard needs to be agreed on by all participating institutions, how is local autonomy affected?” What are some examples of loss of autonomy that library systems have traded off for consortium benefits? How do library systems negotiate for what they need? Who determines which local practice/feature a library system can retain and based on what criteria?

Evergreen was explicitly designed to be consortia friendly - to strike a balance between local autonomy and maximized system performance. This is but one reason why we're using Evergreen! Sitka's membership determines policy for the system. In fact, ultimately, Sitka will provide much more autonomy in the sense that the member libraries will be in complete control of their ILS, including feature development, bug fixes, support and maintenance.

How 'custom' can we make Evergreen for us? Eg, request fee charges? Local indexes?

With each consecutive release of the software, there is a clear trend towards more local control. In general, there is more local control and customization over patron billing and circulation functions, less control over search configuration – local indexes are not supported as the system tends to encourage a more uniform search experience. As of 2.0, Evergreen has the beginning of support for locally 'owned' bibliographic records, which will lead to more local control over cataloguing and search in the future. We also expect that OPAC development trends, both within Evergreen and in elsewhere in the market will drive an increasingly custom catalogue and search experience.

How adaptable is the system to the local environment, ie tags / item statuses / operational or technical adaptations?

Evergreen is extremely adaptable in terms of circulation policy and patron management.

Does the software have to be the same for each library in Sitka?

Under the hood, Sitka runs a shared instance of Evergreen. However, each site has control over their opac skins (local branding etc), loan periods, fines, various billing settings, third party integration, localized cataloguing control and more. Evergreen is enterprise-class consortial ILS software.

Circulation: How flexible are Circulation policies or do all libraries need to have the same policy? What would be involved if you wanted to change an existing policy?

Evergreen offers complete control over circulation policies, currently using custom JavaScript objects for each site which are maintained by the Sitka team. The team is happy to make any modifications you wish, and we are able to support direct patch submissions for sites with developer talent who wish to modify the JavaScript directly. After Sitka upgrades to Evergreen 2.0, we plan to migrate to Evergreen's in-db circulation system which provides a policy editing GUI directly to library staff.

How adaptable to customization and does such customization happen through the cooperative or can it happen at local level (depending on technical competence)?

This is a nuanced question and requires a dynamic conversation - we hope to unpack this more on December 9th but a simple answer looks like this: customization can be initiated locally or globally, but it it is coordinated collaboratively. Cooperation and collaboration is the cornerstone of the open-source model. Sitka is running an Enterprise instance of Evergreen for Sitka's 40+ libraries, making it one of the largest ILS's in the province - soon to be the largest. The membership enjoys a great deal of localized customization currently, and we look forward to bringing the talents of more developers into our community as we go forward.

Evergreen Features


Evergreen version 2.0 brief feature list:

Evergreen version 2.0 Checklist by module:

Can evergreen software provide all the basic module of an ILS? (our definition of a basic module might be different from the list of a smaller library).

The second largest library system on the continent is using Evergreen (KCLS) - would they settle for '…a limited set of base features…”?

What we want is good value for the money. There is no use having an inexpensive system, if it doesn't work well.

We couldn't agree more - and how about an intuitive, seamless interface for patrons too!

How secure is the system? As an open-source system, what has been the track record with attacks?

As you know, open-source software has an excellent security record with open-source applications such as Linux, Apache and Firefox all having superior security records to their closed-source counterparts. Evergreen has only ever had one reported vulnerability in over 3 years, and no site has ever reported any active attacks on the Evergreen system. Evergreen uses SSL encryption to encrypt patron data over HTTP . Our servers are maintained with a strict access policy, and are located in locked racks in a physically secure facility which is heavily monitored and requires keycard access.

How does search work?

Results are relevancy ranked, but can be sorted by title, author or publication date and filtered by available copies. Evergreen supports multi-index searching, and has sub-indexes (ie: subject|geographic) which can also be searched. Evergreen uses a stemming algorithm to capture similar terms (ie: golf, golfing, golfer). If no results are found, Evergreen offers a spell-check result, and offers the "see also" references from the authority file if available. Evergreen supports simple NOT operations, and in 2.0 will support OR operations as well.

In the event of downtime (whether it be at their end or ours, as in if we have an ISP outage here), is offline circulation possible? How does it work, how do we upload data when we're back up and running?

Offline circulation is available - the offline system offers circulation and patron registration. It has a handy uploader which allows you to upload multiple sessions from different workstations.

Is there telephone renewal/notification

TNRD is piloting outbound Telephony for Sitka now (notification); inbound telephony (renewals) is theoretically possible but not yet in development. Anyone interested in sponsoring this development? Evergreen's telephony functionality ulitizes asterisk:

Can it do E-Commerce/Pay fees online

Evergreen supports online payments, but Sitka has not yet entered into an agreement with a brokerage like Moneris:

Mobile catalogue; mobile catalogue with staff function for roaming

Yes - Sitka developed a full-featured mobile OPAC for KCLS and ourselves; we're currently working on prettying it up, but its swell and works on any modern device:

Are there different levels of staff passwords/authorization?

Sitka is running an Enterprise instance of the Evergreen consortial ILS - permissions structures reflect the scale.

How efficient is each module? For instance, if self checkout or checkin doesn't work well, we would not want the system. If the telephony system can't report the stats we want, or the voices used are not good, we don't want it. If the hold's system or the way we pull unfilled holds does not work efficiently, we don't want it. Efficiency and use of staff time is very important to us. If it does not work well, it means we will have to add staff positions in our organization, for no particular gain in service to our customers.

This goes without saying; we look forward to the conversation.

Is the system envisioned as a generic system with a limited set of base features, and more functionality comes later?

The second largest library system on the continent is using it - would they settle for '…a limited set of base features…”? The vision is for a very strong, patron-focussed core foundation upon which localized, distinguished, patron-focussed services are offered

Can the software accommodate a floating collection?

Yes, on a batch or per copy level, with version 2.0

RSS Feeds

Evergreen allows you to create bookbags which are essentially your own custom RSS feed of selected books. Evergreen can also provide an RSS feed of recently created records or recently added items for any library. Evergreen also supports RSS feeds of search results. Evergreen has a dynamic catalogue interface called SuperCat which can provide any search results, bookbag or new item list in RSS, atom feeds, MARCXML, MODS, Dublin Core, OAI and some basic HTML formats. New formats are relatively easy for us to develop based on XSLT templates.

Home Service

There is no home service module yet; we are looking into development options.

Reserve charge - Customize to charge only adult and not youth cards

This is supported.

Reading History - patron can choose to enable/disable

Release 2.0 provides partial functionality of this kind.

SSL certificates - Do we continue to buy our own certificates? Or is this part of the fee structure?

We use a shared wildcard certificate for the ILS is included as part of the fee structure. You may still need to buy a certificate if you offer other services through your library's website.

Does the system keep patron number of last patron at checkin?


Could a test instance of the Sitka implementation of Evergreen be made available so we could do a formal comparison of this ILS with commercial offerings?

We are looking into this, pending available hardware. If you are an interested library in BC, we are also willing to do a test load of your existing data into Evergreen, please contact us for more details.


Acquisitions functionality will be included in version 2.0. Acquisitions is being developed and beta-tested by KCLS and the Sitka team will begin testing all 2.0 functionality in December and early in the first quarter of 2011. We will provide an update with answers to the questions below as our testing progresses.

Is the acquisitions module in use in a public library setting?

Sitka is very excited about the new Acquisitions functionality being rolled out with Evergreen version 2.0. It goes without saying that this functionality is essential for many of you. We anticipate launching Acquistions in Q2 2011. Several libraries in the global Evergreen community are testing Acquisitions (and Serials) now.

When in 2011 do you expect the Acquisitions module to be available (I thought I heard fall) - this is a critical piece for the large libraries.

We anticipate launching Acquisitions in Q2 2011 after the module is more fully documented and tested, and we have safely upgraded to Evergreen 2.0

Does the Acq and Cat software support 970 tag importing of stub records (from vendors like CVS and Whitehots), which not only add a vendor MARC record to the catalogue but also generate a PO and debit the budget?

see above

Edifact ordering?

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) support for EDIFAC, Tradacoms, ANSI X12

Limit to number of fund codes?

There is no limit to the number of fund codes

Foreign currency rates supported?

Foreign currency rates are supported as global settings. Sitka has also requested development of the ability to support local taxes (e.g. HST).

Can we connect to vendor websites and import their data seamlessly into our purchase order records?

Acquisitions is currently in beta. Ordering through Baker and Taylor and Ingram are currently supported. We have requested development of ordering through vendors used by many libraries in B.C., including: ULS, Coutts, Library Bound, S&B Books and Raincoast.

Organize fund codes by department

Sitka has requested development of fund management at all levels of the hierarchy.

=== Responses to questions below pending Sitka team's testing of new Acquisitions and Serials functionality ===

How are on order records integrated into the database? Are bib records created when we release an order? If we cancel an order, will it delete the bib record?

Can we upload vendor records?

What about brief on order records? Who overlays brief records in single bib. database?

Ability to upload brief bib. records from vendors as well as order information in 9XX fields

Fund Accounting

real-time fund updates

output invoice/fund info. to JD Edwards

encumbrance/expenditure totals

charge orders to multiple fund codes

electronic invoicing

Vendor performance statistics (ship time, average discount, on order/cancelled totals)


Serials functionality will be included in version 2.0. The Sitka team will begin testing all 2.0 functionality in December and early in the first quarter of 2011. We will provide an update with answers to the questions below as our testing progresses.

multiple invoice paid lines for serial orders (e.g. compare prices from year to year)

Easy to claim order and serial records?

Routing lists

Serials - regular/irregular serials


Cataloguing: what about RDA? What about my subject headings? How does a single bibliographic database work? The most radical change about RDA from AACR2 is FRBR. What efforts have been made to support this new way of relating bibliographic and authority data? The other major change will be the disuse of abbreviated terms. What efforts have been made to plan for this change so that cataloguing units can code efficiently? How will consortial participation affect local needs (not just in subject headings) as well as local expectations of a library system's catalogue? Whose bibliographic record will we use as the “master” record for the single bibliographic database? Will participating libraries get to maintain their own local database?

Cataloguing standards: are you planning to implement RDA once the testing phase is passed? What about libraries that will not be using RDA or will be using RDA, how will you reconcile the two types of records?

The Cataloguing Working Group has been keeping abreast of developments with RDA so that we can plan accordingly. Support for evolving standards such as Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) and Resource Description and Access (RDA) were included in KCLS's requirements, although these may not be integrated initially in 2.x. Evergreen has provided an updated version of the tag and subfield tooltips for the Evergreen MARC editor which includes the Library of Congress's MARC2 Update 11, which in turn includes the RDA tags.

Single database: Is there a standards committee? Who gets to make changes, e.g., upgrade the MARC record? Is it similar to the OCLC structure?

Do the bibliographic records have to be the same in each library?

Sitka's Cataloguing Working Group includes representatives from many of BC's libraries - both public and post secondary. This group developed a cataloguing policy for Sitka.

How well does Evergreen handle batch import and export of records? Are we able to export bibs , e.g. to WorldCat, Agent Outlook Online?

Evergreen has a flexible bibliographic record import/export tool which can be used for exports to Amicus and WorldCat. In addition, the Sitka support team exports records to Outlook online on behalf of Sitka libraries on a scheduled basis, according to member libraries' criteria.

Can we save bibliographic records to email or reserve as batch

Bibliographic records can be added to Buckets (in the staff client) or Bookbags (in the OPAC). Bookbags can be shared as RSS feeds, and holds can be placed from bookbag lists.

Load Profiles - can we load records and use system templates to load bib. and item records? Or bib. and order records? Can we customize the load profiles?

In the Evergreen 2.0 batch upload MARC interface there are customizable Holdings Import Profiles & Merge/Overlay Profiles. In the MARC order records interface, there are checkboxes: Create Purchase Order & Activate Purchase Order. Tina Nov 30

Horizon allows cataloguers to efficiently toggle between the bib record and authority index to check for duplicate headings and perform authority cleanup. How does the Evergreen product compare?

A 'Validate' button checks the bibliographic record for consistency with authority records with a single click. Relevant authority records are also accessible by hovering over their corresponding MARC fields in the bibliographic record.

Global update

Bib record and Copy record buckets can group titles and copies for batch processing purposes. For large groups of records the Sitka support team may be able to update records with SQL scripts. Tina Nov 30

Can we create lists of items?

Selection lists? Reading lists? Yes to both. In addition to selection lists in Acquisitions, Evergreen's bucket and bookbag features allow for public and staff-only lists. Public lists can be shared by RSS or as links to the catalogue

If there's a single database, who will load Library to Go, Ebsco database records?

We are currently developing a process for loading these records. It will be an automated process done between the vendors and the Sitka support team and will ensure that records are only visible to patrons whose libraries subscribe to the service.

URL checker

This is currently in development, pending some related cataloguing policy. Sitka is adapting a URL checker script originally developed by NRCan.

Load records via Z39.50?

Import via Z39.50 is supported out of the box. The interface is simple to use and supports simultaneous searching of multiple Z39.50 targets.

Who will complete the Authority work?

The Cataloguing Working Group is investigating a third-party solution to add and maintain authorities.

Delete records with barcode?

In addition to deletiItem records can be deleted by cataloguing staff in several ways, either individually or in batches. To avoid orphaned records, empty call number and Bib records will be automatically deleted when the last attached copy is deleted.

Brief paperback, board book, Quick Flick records

Brief bib records can be used for generic catalogued items. Alternatively, Evergreen can circulate uncatalogued items using the quick 'pre-catalogued' function, which creates minimal records linked to temporary barcodes at check out.

System short-cuts to check MARC code info., verify heading, etc.

A Link to the MARC record (View & Edit mode) is available on all screens where an item record is displayed.

Customizable record templates

Sitka has a set of MARC templates for various media types. Sites create their own item record templates.

Suppression - Suppress bib. and/or item from public display?

OPAC visibility is controlled by item status, item shelving location & the "OPAC visibile?" attribute in item record. Each library controls the visibility of their own shelving locations and items.

Bibliographic utilities - Can we purchase as a group (e.g. Bookwhere, etc.,)?

Yes, this is one of the benefits of the Cooperative - purchasing power! The Cooperative has established a Licensing Business Function Group to explore these kinds of group purchases.


We have been developing a set of comprehensive benchmarks and trend reports using complex SQL statements to extract and combine data from our current ILS. From the “Reports” documentation it doesn't appear possible to combine data from separate database tables, is this correct? For how many years is statistical data kept?

Evergreen has very powerful reporting functionality. It is possible to report on almost every field in every table in the database. The native Graphical User Interface (GUI ) reporting interface tries to make navigating the database structure easier by pointing at the main database tables. It is possible to join on any number of tables, crosstab queries are also possible.

Can staff run MTD or YTD circ. stats. on specific call number or media type? Age of collection reports? Last checkin date?

In short – yes. Evergreen's report builder is capable of generating almost any report you could need in XLS, HTML or plain-text format. It essentially builds an SQL query behind the scenes and is quite powerful. Reports are pre-scheduled to minimize system load.

Will we have the ability to run sql directly on our database?

Read-only SQL database access is planned for Q2 2011; Evergreen's native powerful Reports GUI provides real-time access now. Note that Sitka runs a shared instance of Evergreen, with a single shared database. For obvious reasons we cannot allow direct write SQL access, however the Sitka support team is happy to accomodate your data services needs.

Export reports to Excel, text, email,

Excel, CSV, and HTML output

What reports (e.g. to library boards) by participating library systems exist on the migration experience and overall adoption of Evergreen?

The Sitka support team has had an evaluation process in place for Training for the past 2 years and the survey results have been largely positive. We've also received very constructive feedback from sites and have integrated these suggestions into our training procedures wherever possible. Feedback from sites on the migration piece has been more anecdotal, but suggestions for improvement have also been incorporated into our procedures. By obtaining legacy system data and detailed survey results well in advance of the launch date, we are able to provide sites with ample time to review their data in a test environment so that most major data conversion issues are addressed in advance of the launch.

Tell me about my statistics…

PLSB annual stats are run as a courtesy by the Sitka Team; all other stats are accessible through the reports GUI .

Title paging list - List of available titles patrons have reserved. How often can we run these lists?

Pull List for Hold Requests is generated on the fly when you access it. You can access & print anytime you like. Overnight un-captured holds may be re-targeted if a more suitable copy is available.

Notices: pre-overdue?; email, print, sms?; format of notices flexible?

Evergreen supports email pre-overdue notices, print and email overdue notices, and email hold notices. The email notices are currently a standard shared template which loads in some localized details; the overdue notices are based on Python scripts which we custom-build for you.


CJK. Search and display of non-roman scripts.

Evergreen is fully UTF-8, so it supports a lot of diversity. The most complete translations are for French, Czech, Armenian and Russian, and there are less complete translations for Portugeuse, Spanish and German. With respect to CJK, there is a partial Chinese (simplified) translation, but the community could use some volunteers for other languages. A proof-of-concept project has been completed which enabled searching, indexing and Pinyin sorting in Chinese, so it would certainly be possible to bootstrap that functionality.

Integrate local collection or historical photographs with search results?

You could catalogue your local collection with 856 tags, so yes.

Can we suppress the Google Book Search option?

Ye, the OPAC is quite flexible and is more configurable with each upgrade.

Federated search - Article integration in search results

Great idea! Hasn't been discussed yet, but let's have that conversation.

Chat reference widget

We have not recieved requests for this, but this would definitely be possible to integrate - UPEI library has done so.

Bib. and/or Item level holds

Evergreen supports metabib (combined format and edition), title, volume and item level holds.

Suggest a Purchase

Coming with release 2.0; will integrate with Acquisitions

Get a Library Card - patron self-registration

This is definitely planned for a future release but not available yet. In 2.0 patrons can update their own address which is then 'approved' by library staff.

Preferred searches - system will email when new item added to collection

This is definitely possible; the infrastructure for this kind of feature is already in place in 2.0.

3rd Party Integration


What happens with 3rd party software desired by one library and not another?

This is already well supported within Sitka, as it needs to be; while their are obvious consortial savings and opportunities around 3rd party products, differentiation is well understood.

Do all the third party products have to be approved? What happens if we need a third party product that no one else wants?

There is no approval process and Sitka will never turn down a request for interaction with a third party product, however we ask that you just let us know so that we can record your vendors for firewall and load management purposes.

Third Party equipment/software - Tech Logic RFID self-check and sorting machine, wireless communication with Tech Logic's inventory wand, Envisionware, Alpha-G products such as hold slip printing and prenotifications, Bibliocommons, 3M self checkout. Are any Sitka libraries using them now? If not, do you have plans for the future to incorporate such 3rd party software?

Evergreen supports numerous products and adheres to major standards. Because Evergreen is open-source we can quickly adapt Evergreen to work with many kinds of equipment and software, and vendors such as Envisionware have been quite supportive of the community (Envisionware has been a sponsor of Evergreen conferences in the past). Several Sitka sites currently use Sentry, 3M (self check and RFID), EnvisionWare and Novelist Select. BiblioCommons is scheduled for Dec 2010. TNRD uses Asterisk telephony. The bottom line is Evergreen is open source - 3rd party integration is therefore not encumbered by vendor locks.

What kinds of patron authentication are supported and is there a charge to add more licenses/methods?

No charge, Evergreen API calls and SIP2 are supported.Amazing, hunh?!

We use an ODBC connection to validate patrons for a number of internal applications. Would these still be supported or would we need to migrate them to something like SIP?

Regardless of the production you migrate to, you'd need to re-engineer any homebrew internal applications anyway. We're happy to help you migrate your services to SIP or the Evergreen API .

What about additional content (e.g. book covers, reviews, tags, similar title recommendations)? LibraryThing, Syndetics, etc.,

Sitka site recurring fees INCLUDE Content Cafe. Wow!

public/sitka-faq-dec2010.txt · Last modified: 2018/08/16 22:06 (external edit)