January Executive Committee Report

Things have been moving along very well in the Evergreen development project since my last PINES Executive Committee Report. We are now actually ahead of schedule and the project is running more smoothly than we initially expected and planned for. We hope this bodes well for the rest of the project.

Many important things have occurred this week. First, we have released the “pre-alpha” OPAC to the PINES Subcommittees and Executive Committee for review. (We are also referring to this release as the “Demo OPAC”). The purpose of this OPAC release is to gather feedback from the PINES libraries, and to gauge if we’re heading in the correct direction. So far, the comments have been overwhelming positive. Note that this OPAC demo is only accessible from Georgia public libraries. The link for the PINES version of the OPAC demo is: http://spacely.georgialibraries.org/OPAC/ NOTE: the demo period for the OPAC is complete.

Secondly, on a parallel track, we have also released a public version of the OPAC demo that is accessible from anywhere. This OPAC is hosted on a much smaller server and has a small database, but the basic functionality is identical. Its purpose is to gather any feedback that may come from non-PINES folks. The address for this public version of the OPAC is: http://spacely.georgialibraries.org:8080 NOTE: the demo period for the OPAC is complete.

On a third front, we have released our first batch of source code. This first batch of source code contains some of our core transport and foundation code. More technical folks may wish to download it from our download section.

There are some specific OPAC functionalities that I’d like to point out. Note that we designed this OPAC using the focus group notes as guidelines, and the vast majority of this functionality comes directly from those notes:

  • Ability to see call numbers and information for local copies as soon as possible.
  • Grouping of various editions, formats, and versions of a title together under a single “meta-title”. This functionality, as you may imagine, is particularly difficult to manage, and it isn’t working as well as we would like. It does work most of the time, but it fails in some cases. Typically, this is because of incorrect or incomplete MARC data. With more database cleanup and further refinement of our matching algorithm, this will get better.
  • Forgiving misspellings. This functionality is available in a rudimentary form now, and we plan to further tweak and enhance it.
  • Ability to use the browser back and forward buttons.
  • Added content such as cover art. We are examining 3rd party offerings of cover art and book reviews. In this demo, there is cover art available.
  • The libraries are listed in alphabetical order.
  • The OPAC is browser independent.
  • There are no session timeouts. However, we are considering adding session timeouts in the future to sensitive areas such as the “My Account” area.
  • The OPAC ignores Boolean operators by default to avoid patron confusion.

As you can tell, things have been very busy around here, but we’re enthusiastic about our progress and the feedback and support we’ve been getting from the PINES community.

Our next target date is March 18th for a demo release of the Evergreen staff client with basic cataloging functionality.