Evergreen at 4 9

Evergreen’s fourth birthday was on September 5 over the U.S. Labor Day weekend. It has taken a bit of time to assemble data on the libraries running Evergreen. We are all aware of the growth of Evergreen use in libraries and in the community and the numbers I have assembled help demonstrate that fact.

There is interest in Evergreen outside of North America but so far few reports of libraries running Evergreen and none of the reported ones has a catalog visible on the Web. This fact seems likely to change next year but for now Evergreen libraries are concentrated in the US and Canada.

Table 1 shows the number of library systems and outlets. To clarify terminology a bit: outlets are not the same as Evergreen “org units” they are, rather, a measure of the separate buildings and one often hears them referred to in the community as “libraries.” Outlets = the central library + branches + bookmobiles. The table starts with a column labeled “EG@0″—the go live date of Evergreen with PINES. The EG@1 column presents cumulative totals of Evergreen systems and outlets at the first anniversary of the PINES go-live, the EG@2 column gives the cumulative total for systems and outlets at the second anniversary…and so on.

Table 1: Cumulative Totals for Evergreen Systems by Year
  EG@0 EG@1 EG@2 EG@3 EG@4
Systems 45 48 64 159 247
Outlets 239 253 285 427 609

There were 45 systems and 239 outlets running Evergreen on the first day. The EG@1 anniversary totals show an increase in a few libraries. The libraries were all still in Georgia—but take a peek ahead to Table 3.

During the second year, Evergreen was adopted in British Columbia when Prince Rupert Library became the first library system outside of Georgia and the first system in the Sitka network in November of 2007. Today, Sitka has 38 library systems using Evergreen.

Another consortium showing rapid growth has been Evergreen Indiana which now has 75 library systems—I think…they move so fast it is hard to keep up! Their first library was the Hussey-Mayfield Memorial Library in Zionsville, Indiana which migrated in late August, 2008 so 75 libraries in a bit over two calendar years is an impressive achievement.

Evergreen also saw its first academic library in this Evergreen year when the folks at the Robertson Library at the University of Prince Edward Island did their lightening migration in June of 2008. As the numbers in this table show, each year since then more systems and more outlets have joined the community.

The totals suggest that the character of Evergreen’s growth is changing—it appears to be gaining momentum. Moreover, these totals do not include data from King County or the five other libraries which migrated after the anniversary date through this writing. By my estimate, current publicly announced plans for Evergreen migrations will bring the totals to 680 systems, 1,225 outlets, and 21 consortia.

Let me add now that some numbers—such as the system count—are more accurate than other numbers such as the outlet count. Why is complicated and I will be happy to discuss the data separately. I believe that if there is any bias in these numbers, it will show in slight underestimates of the true numbers.

The second table (below) shows the expansion by type of library. Evergreen is still found primarily in public libraries but is increasingly found in other types of libraries. The classification by type is a bit ambiguous—Conifer, for instance, has what could be considered academic special libraries. I did my best with these categories. With the addition of these new types, development of Evergreen’s capabilities is enriched. The count of academic libraries is small but their contributions to Evergreen’s capabilities have been out of proportion to their numbers. This group is punching above its weight.

In the next few months, the number of K12 libraries is going to increase substantially and work has already begun on a “Kids’ Catalog Project OPAC with three consortia (Bibliomation, PINES, SITKA) and King County pooling resources to add this capability to Evergreen and to share it with the community. This pooling of development resources was discussed by Mike Rylander and me in a post: The Evergreen Superconsortium. This development path is proving to be a rich one.

Table 2: Cumulative Totals for Evergreen Systems by Year, by Type
  EG@0 EG@1 EG@2 EG@3 EG@4
Public 44 47 62 126 202
Academic 0 0 1 10 13
K12 0 0 0 1 3
State Libraries 1 1 1 2 3
Special Libraries 0 0 0 20 26
Systems 45 48 64 159 247

The third table gives totals for the number of consortia running Evergreen. Evergreen is the first library system designed from the ground up to be a consortial library system and, as the reader can see, Evergreen has been adopted by consortia in increasing numbers with more on the way as I have mentioned. As indicated Evergreen is also being used by libraries independent of a consortium but the consortial design of Evergreen has proven to be an important development particularly in an era when information seekers are have alternatives without information silos.

Table 3: Other Cumulative Totals for Evergreen Systems by Year
  EG@0 EG@1 EG@2 EG@3 EG@4
Consortia 1 1 4 9 12
Independent systems 0 0 3 9 17
with Evergreen
1 1 7 17 23

The last line in this table is a count by state or province of the number which have at least one library running Evergreen. These numbers, like the others presented here, show a story of growth.

There are other such signs in addition to more libraries and that is more people and more vendors supporting aspects of Evergreen-migration, support, and such. Every year I have said next year will be busier and…well, next year will be busier.

Bob Molyneux

9 thoughts on “Evergreen at 4

  • Jonathan Rochkind

    Interesting stuff. “Systems” is not the same as “installations” or “production instances” of Evergreen, right? I think all 45 of those EG@0 “systems” were actually sharing a single Evergreen production installation, the PINES one, correct?

    Can you give us charts of number of actual production installations?

  • drdata Post author

    Sorry but WordPress is being picky this morning so this reply may be out of order. This is my first reply and I could not see your whole question when I was responding.

    Correct. Although you may be sorry in a few minutes that you asked. Let me talk terminology a bit and get that out of the way but I think you have the answer but I wend my way to it at the last paragraph.

    Part of the problem is that the various terms come from different domains and joining them in a coherent way that does not involve pages of footnotes isn’t easy.

    Systems and outlets are concepts and terms from the public library data series published first by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and more recently by the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS). It is the premiere public library data series.

    To complicate things a bit, I did work at the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS) which took the annual series and combined the data into a longitudinal file. “Outlets” is my invention to compress the data on various buildings and service points. The updated file lives http://drdata.lrs.org/pldf3/index.php. I went through all that so you can look at the various definitions of the variables (linked on the upper right on that page.)

    So, I can get a count of systems and outlets for U.S. public libraries and summary data by state from U.S. States and also get other data–like population served and total circulations. I can get data from the three Canadian provinces with public libraries although how closely they map U.S. data is an open question. I think the count of systems is accurate for the various years reported (US=FY2008, the provincial data are all currently for 2007) but outlets are more iffy. Things change and outlets are more volatile than systems. But with these data, we have the best shot at a comparable data series for public libraries in North America.

    The Uncle Remus Regional Library System (URRL) (http://www.uncleremus.org/), reported 1 central library (CENTLIB), 7 branches (BRANLIB), and 0 bookmobiles (BKMOB) in the FY2008 IMLS data. These (see the “Libraries” on the right of the Web page) outlets in NCLIS/NCES/IMLS speak are libraries in normal parlance in the Evergreen world. Happily, PINES has 8 org units so the two numbers in this case are equivalent but it is not always so. But–I can get reasonably comparable data on all PLs in the US and some of Canada.

    The count of PINES “libraries” in normal parlance is usually org units and a physical library building may have more than one. Say the central library has a local history room named after someone…that kind of thing. An example of a discrepancy between the two series is in the Athens Regional Library System (ARLS) (http://www.clarke.public.lib.ga.us/) which, in the FY2008 data had 1 central library, 10 branch libraries, and one bookmobile or 12 outlets. On its Web page, it lists those 12 under “Libraries and Centers.” It has 14 org units–assuming I understand the term correctly.

    Installations? Instances? As we say, a whole nuther thing. Of course, URRL and ARLS are part of PINES.

    My guess is the count of consortia + the number of independent libraries will give the installations. At least those who phone home. It’s open source so one never really knows.

  • drdata Post author

    The data you see in that report are a small subset of all the data I have on the Evergreen libraries. Why don’t you write me directly at Equinox and let’s see if I have some data that might be more like what you are looking for. If not, maybe I can ask around.

    Bob Molyneux

  • Jonathan Rochkind

    Thanks, it sounds like the “Consortia” plus “Independent Systems” is basically what I was interested in. I just wanted, from a techie’s perspective, a count of how many production installations of Evergreen there are — like all of PINES/GPLS being ‘1’. From an IT perspective, that gives some sense of how well adopted or mature it is, caring less about how many patrons are served, and more about how many different installations. In general, at least in my mind as a heuristic, the more installations, the more software has to generalize and abstract itself to make sure it meets general needs, not just one or two customers needs; and the more likely edge-case bugs that only effect certain environments will be found.

    So the EG@4 count of “29” consortia+independent is more interesting to me than “247 Systems”, and if I had accidentally thought that the 247 actually corresponded to production installations, I’d be way over-estimating the actual install base!

  • Jonathan Rochkind

    (29 is still perfectly respectable, though, and a LOT better than 1, or 2, or 5. 29 is not bad, and indicates to me that it is reasonably mature/generalized software. 250, for the library market, would be very VERY mature/generalized software )

  • Jonathan Rochkind

    (Oh, and this number of production installations is ALSO interesting to see number of potential customers for Evergreen support vendors, the current size of the market. The larger the market, the more stability there will be for vendors.)

  • drdata Post author

    I understand and that is one reason I have kept track of those two numbers among others.

    There is a growing body of vendors supporting Evergreen and the community is adjusting to it. We also have a fair number of libraries which have migrated on their own (the DIY libraries.) Strategically, this is healthy for the community but there have been growing pains. If you do one migration in your life, there is a lot of project management OJT. If you do 12 a year, you develop knowledge and skills about how to do a migration with less drama.

    We have been chatting about this aspect of Evergreen growth and there are two revisions I am considering to my Things to Think about post: governance and project management. These two areas are on our minds right now as a result of recent experience.

    For the current count of installations—as of today, October 13—there are 14 consortia running Evergreen and 18 independent installations. There have been two new consortia and 1 independent library that have migrated since Evergreen’s 4th birthday on September 7. There are now 297 (up from 247) systems and 710 (609) outlets using Evergreen. The increase in the last few weeks is all in public libraries.

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