Evergreen Alpha Release

After approximately a year of software development, we are proud to announce the arrival of the Evergreen Alpha release! Programmers and other techies will probably want to go straight to the download area and grab a tarball. We’re very pleased with how this release turned out, and are looking forward to the comments and suggestions from the field.

WARNING. This is an ALPHA release. This means that this software is no where near production quality, and will have major bugs, incomplete functionality, and may have a cranky attitude.

The Evergreen OPAC

First, the OPAC, which is located at http://gapines.org. We’ve enhanced and tweaked a great deal of functionality in this area… too much to describe in this blog entry. I’ll just hit some of the high spots.

  • Improved spell-checking and search suggestions.
  • When appropriate (and when available from the MARC data), Series listings appear in the right sidebar on the search results screen.
  • Ability to select specific material formats from the OPAC’s front page.
  • The “MyOPAC” section is starting to take shape. Patrons can change their login name; change their PIN; place, cancel, and view holds; modify how they would like to be alerted of available holds; view fines; and view their address information. More functionality is planned in this area for future releases such as custom search criteria and more customization of the OPAC itself.
  • Patrons can place a single hold that can be filled with a copy from multiple titles or formats of a work
  • Added content from Content Cafe is being integrated into the OPAC and staff client. At this time, we have only have book jackets. Future releases will include reviews, table of contents, and other content.
  • Improved meta-title matching. Much work still needs to be done here in the area of PINES data cleanup and merging.
  • Ability to search by title, author, subject, keyword, or series.

If you would like to login to the secure “My OPAC” area, here are a couple test patron usernames and passwords:

Username – Password
user1 – user1
user2 – user2

The Evergreen Staff Client

The staff client has received an extensive overhaul since the previous release. The staff client is available for download at http://www.open-ils.org/downloads/evergreen-setup.exe. After downloading, simply run the setup program and follow the installation wizard’s steps.

When you run the program, you will be first prompted for a username and password. Here is a listing of some test staff accounts you can use:

Username – Password
staff1 – staff1 (circulator)
staff2 – staff2 (circulator)
staff3 – staff3 (cataloger)

Some new features:

  • Customizable receipt printing for checkout and checkin
  • Renewals are included in this release
  • Fines and Billing interface, including the ability to apply credits to the patron account
  • Z39.50 importing ability (note: there are no anti-duplicate title routines in place yet)
  • Ability to transit copies from one branch to another to fill holds

One feature we wanted to get into this release and didn’t is spine label printing. This is largely because we’ve been unsuccessful so far in commandeering a spine label printer.

We’ve decided not to go though the time-intensive effort of creating screenshots and specific directions for this release. We would really like for everyone to login, take a look around, try some things, and send us feedback. Understand, however, as this is an Alpha release, you should expect broken functionality and possibly severe bugs.

Hopefully, much of the functionality in the staff client will be intuitive. However, we realize that some parts of the staff client will be complex, so the development of end-user documentation is an immediate goal that we’re very cognizant of. Also, for the PINES libraries, we are looking forward to designing and teaching classes on the use of Evergreen.

Where do we go from here?

Our next target date is October for an initial release of statistical reporting functionality. Also, over the next few months, we are also going to focus heavily on improving and fleshing out existing functionality, and adding in other minor (but required) features, such as spine label printing and SIP2. We plan to have all of this relatively stable, bug-free, and ready for a “pre-beta” release this December.

Concurrently, we are also going to be putting together the production version of the server-side hardware, and expect to have it all running within a couple of months. After we have this hardware running, we will be able to leave an instance of Evergreen up and running constantly, because it will not interfere with our development efforts. Right now, we practically have to halt efforts while a public “demo” of the system is running.