Project Conifer Wins Two Awards at OLA!

On May 1, 2009, 23 library partners, including the Paul Martin Law Library at the University of Windsor went live with Evergreen – an Open Source integrated library system. With only 2 – 3 developers to take it out of the box (originally packaged for the public library world), development has literally happened on the fly for the past 10 months.

It has been hectic, but we have a project we can all be proud of. To top it off, yesterday we heard that OLA has awarded the Project Conifer partners with two Divisional Awards. All awards will be presented at the OLA Super Conference happening February 24-27, 2010.

Award for Special Achievement:
Winner: Project Conifer, a consortial implementation of the Evergreen Open Source library system by its project partners:

Leddy Library, J.N. Desmarais Library, Algoma University, Wishart Library, University of Sudbury, Hearst, Bibliothèque Maurice-Saulnier, Huntington College Library, Paul Martin Law Library, Northern Ontario School of Medicine (West), HRSRH Health Sciences Library, Northern Ontario School of Medicine (East), Xstrata Process Support Centre Library, NOHIN, Instructional Media Centre, Laboratoire de didactiques, E.S.E., Vale Inco, Mines Library, Willet Green Miller Centre, Art Gallery of Sudbury, Curriculum Resource Centre, Sault Area Hospital and Centre Franco-Ontarien de Folklore

OLITA Award for Technological Innovation:
Winner: Project Conifer, a consortial implementation of the Evergreen Open Source library system by its project partners:

Leddy Library, J.N. Desmarais Library, Algoma University, Wishart Library, University of Sudbury, Hearst, Bibliothèque Maurice-Saulnier, Huntington College Library, Paul Martin Law Library, Northern Ontario School of Medicine (West), HRSRH Health Sciences Library, Northern Ontario School of Medicine (East), Xstrata Process Support Centre Library, NOHIN, Instructional Media Centre, Laboratoire de didactiques, E.S.E., Vale Inco, Mines Library, Willet Green Miller Centre, Art Gallery of Sudbury, Curriculum Resource Centre, Sault Area Hospital and Centre Franco-Ontarien de Folklore

Click here for more information.

It’s great and welcome news for everyone who has worked so hard to make this project a success!

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Comments

  1. Congratulations, Annette.

    Will you be at OLA (Ontario Library Association) Super Conference? If so, I hope to see you there.

    Cheers,
    Connie

  2. Congratulations! I hope that having CALL 2010 in your backyard, May 9-12, allows for some opportunities for law library folks to see this innovation.

  3. More details on the project, please – I’d love to hear about the design and administration, especially with such a large group of players. Are you all required to adhere to the same set of standards (metadata, design, call nos., etc), or will the system allow you to reflect local choices?

  4. If you check out tthis episode of a podcast I do with two of the librarians at Algoma (Ken Hernden and Robin Isard) you can hear us talk about Evergreen some, along with Dan Scott from Laurentian and Art Rhyno from WIndsor. (There is other stuff on the ‘cast, and well, all of us drinking… )

  5. Hi there!
    I don’t think I will be at OLA, unfortunately…
    Thanks for the plug for the CALL Conference! For those of you who are eagerly anticipating registering for the conference – full details are being released on Monday!

    Project Conifer – where to begin!? Honestly, this project came about – not because anyone
    was trying to break new ground – but just out of pure necessity.

    Essentially, a number of libraries, who really did not have the resources to pay tens of thousands of dollars for their ILS any longer (for example, we were still using Voyager, which had nearly no system support left, despite paying thousands for a support contract, and which had brought down our campus servers on at least one occasion) — decided to team together to implement Conifer on our campuses.

    One of the institutions’ support contract was completely finished on May 1st, so we had a fairly short window to get this done. The primary development was done by two IT people from the two largest institutions, both of whom already had full-time jobs doing other things. Only one institution decided to hire someone to work on the project full-time.

    The crazy thing about all of this is that the original developers of Evergreen were also IT people from the Georgia public libraries system – again with full-time jobs already. They built it, but really did not have the time to meticulously document what they’d done from start to finish so that others could pick it up and know exactly what they were dealing with.

    So – before we could administer it – we had to teach ourselves every element of the system. For example, I found myself trying to read javascripts on a documentation page – to try to figure out what policy decisions needed to be made by our library to hand off to the developers. This was true of all kinds of things, from staff permissions, to borrowing periods, fines policies, renewals policies, etc.

    Most of the decisions, testing and troubleshooting have happened after we went live. The way it works today is that policies are still being hashed out – we are supposed to be sharing records, which does require some standardization – but these issues are still being worked on, and most of us do have the flexibility to make our own decisions, for better or worse in the long term!

    There’s much to tell – but I’m not the right one to tell it – I only tried to facilitate our library’s smooth transition to the system, by first teaching myself the pieces of the system so that I could train our managers on how to use it; figuring out what policies needed to be decided on and then getting decisions on them; and then most of the time, serving as a communications conduit between our library and the system developers.

    Quite the project – that’s for sure!