OPAC3, Authority Control, Prototype Statistical Reporting

Evergreen development is chugging along, and we have some information and updates to pass along. As I mentioned in my previous entry, we have been spending a good deal of time moving the new server hardware into our new server hosting facility. First, allow me introduce you to three addresses:

  • dev.gapines.org — This is the development team’s group of development servers (aka “cluster”) . The Evergreen development team uses this system to develop and test the Evergreen software. If you connect to this location, you will find the bleeding edge of things we’re working on. Many things here will be broken.
  • demo.gapines.org — This is the demonstration cluster, and it will run the latest “stable” version of the Evergreen software. Our goal is to keep this cluster running as a testing and training system. You’ll be able to connect to the OPAC or use the staff client at your leisure to test the software.
  • www.gapines.org — This is the eventual home to the PINES production cluster. Right now, there is nothing there, but eventually this will be the production environment for PINES.

You could think of these three addresses as separate “sandboxes”. We are still working hard on setting them up fully, particularly the demonstration cluster. Once we get the demo cluster running, we’ll post a permanent download link for the staff client, so staff can download and test whenever they have time. I expect the demo cluster to be running soon.

In other news, we are very excited to announce that LibLime has been awarded a contract to assist the Evergreen team in Quality Assurance and software testing. LibLime currently assists in the development and support of the Koha ILS. They also have a great deal of experience in library practices and standards, and we’re looking forward to LibLime’s involvement with the Evergreen project.

Now to some more interesting things. We have another cut of the Evergreen OPAC we’re releasing today. Below, Bill Erickson will introduce and describe it.

Bill Erickson:

This mini-release includes the formal introduction of OPAC3, the latest version of the Evergreen OPAC. OPAC1 was a “proof of concept” OPAC designed to test various aspects of how we want to move forward with web development. OPAC2 was our first attempt at a real OPAC. We learned a lot during the development of OPAC2 and it was functioning well as an OPAC, however due to various browser limitations and design constraints we decided to scrap OPAC2 and write OPAC 3 more or less from scratch. OPAC3 takes us back to the basics: HTML and Javascript, which should prove to be a much easier OPAC to enhance and maintain.

    What’s new in OPAC3

  • New look and feel – Cleaner design, better organization of search results
  • Search tips at the bottoms of the search pages.
  • Authority “see from” and “see also” lookups on relevant subjects, authors, and series. These items may be found as sub-folders to the subject, author, and series items listed on the left sidebar.
  • Ability to contract/expand the sidebar item lists.
  • Zero/Low Hits search suggestions. These include “Did you mean…?” for misspelled words and suggestions for searching alternate formats, alternate terms based on authority lookups on the original search term, alternate location range (all libraries, this system, etc.) , and alternate search types like title, author, etc.
  • Initial “Web Preferences” in the My Account section. This is the future home of all user related web preferences.
  • More information in the My Account summary page.
  • More added content. We’ve added reviews and table of contents listings to the the item details page. When reviews or TOC are available for a given item, a link will appear beside the “Copy Information” link below the item summary.
  • TODO List

  • Advanced search page
  • More consistent color palate
  • Some new icons
  • Stability and scalability testing
  • Re-visit some aspects of the look and feel of My Account
  • Meta-record based holds
  • Known Issues

  • Occasionally a title or author’s name may appeared garbled. This is an encoding issue that we are working on.
  • Occasionally a page will fail to load all the way. Often, simply refreshing the page with the browser’s “refresh” button will cause the page to load correctly. This is a QA issue which will be resolved in time.

You can take a look at the latest incarnation of the Evergreen OPAC at: http://demo.gapines.org.

If you wish to login to the “My Account” area, here are some logins to use:


Mike Rylander:

Also included in this mini-release is the first version of the Evergreen Reporter. The interface is fairly complex at the moment and requires that you plan out your report before hand, but it provides all the flexibility we want and can be extended very easily when we need to. Some technical points about this Reporter release:

  • Uses a simple XML file to extend access to database table and columns
  • Filter picking is done using plugin “widgets” for a customizable templating interface
  • Can create Pivot (or “crosstab”) output for side-by-side comparison
  • Reports can be scheduled to run in the future, and can be made recurring
  • Can apply common transformations, such as counts, case normalization and time/date formatting to applicable output columns
  • Output transformations can be extended to domain-specific issues, such as extracting the Dewey number from a Call Number Label
  • Can provide output in HTML with charts and tables, Excel spreadsheets and CSV
  • For HTML output, the Reporter can create Bar and Pie charts from output, as many as are needed to cover all output aggregate columns

Where’s the fun start?

You can try out the current demo release of the Evergreen Reporter at http://demo.gapines.org/reporter/. This Reporter demo is sitting on top of the same data as the OPAC demo and uses the same authentication scheme. In the same way that the OPAC is used from within the Staff Client, this will allow us to integrate the Reporter with the Staff Client in a future release so that you will be able to run reports directly from within your logged in Staff Client session.

What’s it doing?

This Reporter demo is set up to use a subset of the available copy attributes, as well as some call number and bibliographic attributes. Here are some example reports run using the current demo code and data:

What’s left to do

We have a pretty long wish list for the Evergreen Reporter. The interface is quite rough at the moment and there are some security features we want to add soon, but here is a list of some of the features we’ll be working on in the near future:

  • “Wizard” interface to template and report building
  • Runtime replaceable parameters for reports
  • Default values in templates
  • Default values based on the current user
  • Copying and editing of templates and reports
  • Email notification for report completion
  • TrueType Fonts for charts
  • Time series reporting for circulations and data modifications
  • Pivoting on multiple output columns
  • “Executive Summary” reports that can combine many smaller reports

Login for the reporting system:


Brad LaJeunesse:

We will post more information when the demonstration cluster is fully up, and the staff client is ready for download and further testing. On a similar note, we are also on-track to add SIP2 support to Evergreen in the first quarter of 2006. We will need your assistance if you currently use any 3rd party software that connects to the PINES system. Much more on that soon. Our next major milestone will be the Pre-Beta release due February.