The Open Source Experts
full-service open source library services provider

Evergreen 2010 : Sine Qua Non

This is the fifth in our series of posts leading up to Evergreen’s Tenth birthday.  

I often tell people I hire that when you start a new job the first month is the honeymoon period. At month three you are panicking and possibly wondering why you thought you could do this. At six months you realize you’ve actually got the answers and at twelve months it’s like you never worked anywhere else. For me, 2010 represented months six through eighteen of my employment with Equinox and it was one of the most difficult, rewarding, and transformative years of my career. Coincidentally, it was also an incredibly transforming year for Evergreen.

In early 2010, Evergreen 1.6 was planned and released on schedule thanks to contributing efforts from the usual suspects back at that time. Bug fixes and new development were being funded or contributed by PINES, Conifer, Mohawk College, Evergreen Indiana, Calvin College, SAGE, and many others in the community. Somewhere in the midst of the ferocious adoption rate and and evolution of 2010, Evergreen quietly and without fanfare faced (and passed) its crucible. Instead of being thrown off stride, this amazingly determined community not only met the challenge, but deftly handled the inevitable friction that was bound to arise as the community grew.

In late August of 2010 KCLS went live on a beta version of Evergreen 2.0 after just over a year of intense and exhilarating development. It marked the beginning of another major growth spurt for Evergreen, including full support for Acquisitions, Serials, as well as the introduction of the template toolkit OPAC (or TPAC). I have nothing but positive things to say about the teams that worked to make that go-live a reality. KCLS and Equinox did amazing things together and, while not everything we did was as successful as we had envisioned, we were able to move Evergreen forward in a huge leap. More importantly, everyone involved learned a lot about ourselves and our organizations – including the community itself.

The community learned that we were moving from a small group of “insiders” and enthusiasts into a more robust and diverse community of users. This is, of course, natural and desirable for an open source project but the thing that sticks out in my mind is how quickly and easily the community adapted to rapid change. At the Evergreen Conference in 2010 a dedicated group met and began the process of creating an official governance structure for the Evergreen project. This meeting led to the eventual formation of the Evergreen Oversight Board and our current status as a member project of the Software Freedom Conservancy.

In the day-to-day of the Evergreen project I witnessed how the core principles of open source projects could shape a community of librarians. And I was proud to see how this community of librarians could contribute their core principles to strengthen the project and its broader community. We complement one another even as we share the most basic truths:
*The celebration of community
*The merit of the individual
*The empowerment of collaboration
*The belief that information should be free

Evergreen is special. More importantly, our community is special. And it’s special because behind each line of code there are dozens of people who contributed their time to create it. Each of those people brought with them their passion, their counter-argument, their insight, their thoughtfulness, and their sheer determination. And together, this community created something amazing. They made great things. They made mistakes. They learned. They adapted. They persevered. And those people behind those lines of code? They’re not abstractions. They are people I know and respect; people who have made indelible marks on our community. It’s Mike, Jason, Elizabeth, Galen, Kathy, Bill, Amy, Dan, Angela, Matt, Elaine, Ben, Tim, Sharon, Lise, Jane, Lebbeous, Rose, Karen, Lew, Joan, and too many others to name. They’re my community and when I think back on how much amazing transformation we’ve achieved in just one year, or ten years, I can’t wait to see what we do in the next ten.

– Grace Dunbar, Vice President

Development contributions for Evergreen 2.7

Well, it’s time for another Evergreen release, delivered this time by ace release manager Ben Shum, which means it’s time for vociferous thanks to our partners!

Equinox would like to thank NOBLE for funding the following improvements:

Equinox would like to thank MassLNC for funding the following improvements:

Equinox would like to thank C/W Mars for funding the following improvements:

Equinox would also like to thank the following funders of critical bug fixes:

Cumberland, NC (NC Cardinal) for the Fund Transfer bug fix

NOBLE for the Located URI scoping bug fix

Additionally, Equinox contributed the following improvements:

  • Support holds targeting and fullfillment of precats for ILL
  • Display “Imported As” in Vandelay Queue
  • Additional record overlay options for MARC stream importer

Cheers to the Evergreen community for another successful round of Evergreen development!


Support the Ada Initiative

I’d like to take a moment to tell you a little story, if you would indulge me.

A few weeks ago I was having a professional discussion with a much admired colleague and she commended me on my technical skills.  Without conscious thought the words that flowed out of my mouth were, “Oh, I’m not really technical, I just talk a good game.”  I wondered, briefly, why she looked so surprised (and maybe a little perplexed) but I honestly didn’t give it another thought until last Friday when I was reading this article on the Ada Initiative’s website. My first thought upon reading through that post was one of dismay for these people who felt (or were made to feel) like impostors in the tech world.

I managed to force myself away from the Ada site and I went back to work on some software mock-ups and parsing feedback on technical specifications.  Unbidden, my brain chose to replay the conversation from a few weeks ago – “Oh, I’m not really technical, I just talk a good game.” The penny dropped.  I *am* one of those people.  And I need to stop.

I will be utilizing Ada’s Impostor Syndrome Training. I’m going to stop downplaying my skills and contributions in my field not only for myself but also for my employees, my colleagues, and the next wave of librarians and open source enthusiasts. While my skills and career path likely mean I will never be a wage-earning software developer, that doesn’t mean that my knowledge in my area of open source and my technical skills are not important or valuable.  Those skills were hard won and I am harming more than just myself by pretending otherwise – I’m perpetuating a problem in our culture.

I’m proud that the Evergreen community adopted a strong Code of Conduct policy (driven by the Ada Initiative’s work) and takes harassment seriously. And I feel fortunate to be a part of open source communities which are very welcoming places for people of all skill levels and backgrounds. But that is not everyone’s experience and that is another crucial reason why we need Ada. To drive this point home, for donations made before Tuesday, September 16,  Andromeda Yelton, Chris Bourg, Mark Matienzo, and Bess Sadler have pledged to match up to $5120 of donations to the Ada Initiative made through this link.

It’s important to note that despite a community’s or organization’s kindness and desire to be diverse, most are not. In order to change that reality we’re going to have to actively work on supporting the organizations and initiatives that can ensure our communities continue to grow in diversity and inclusiveness. I’m grateful that the Ada Initiative exists for myself and my colleagues. I hope you agree that their work adds immeasurable value to our open source communities and I invite you to join me and librarians everywhere in supporting the Ada Initiative’s mission.

–Grace Dunbar, Equinox Vice President


Onward and Sprintward

We are pleased to report that Sprint 1 of the “browserfication” of the Evergreen staff client is complete – on time and in budget, natch!

Sprint 2 is up next and that sprint is… Cataloging!

Mike Rylander and Galen Charlton will be starting that development next month and should be finishing up around the end of the year.  We are happy that we are able to spread the development, and the expertise of the Angular platform, between many core Evergreen developers.  We feel confident that by the end of the re-write most, if not all, of the core committers will be comfortable with the new platform and will find it easy and intuitive.

Galen had this to say about the development, “As Evergreen evolves, so do the components we use to build it.  The AngularJS, web-based cataloging module will lay the groundwork for innovation in Evergreen’s metadata management tools, and this library data-slinger is excited to be working on this project.”

We will, of course, keep you posted on the progress of Sprint 2 as 2014 progresses.  And we’ll also continue making up lots of new words for our blog posts.

A sincere thank you to all the amazing library partners who made this sprint possible!

BC Libraries Cooperative
Central Western Massachusetts Automated Resource Sharing
Georgia Public Library Service
Howe Library
Massachusetts Library Network Cooperative
Pennsylvania Integrated Library System
Pioneer Library System
South Carolina Library Evergreen Network Delivery System

I’ve been administering, designing and building software systems for nearly two decades, and half of that has been with libraries.