- Getting Started
Evergreen ILS was begun by the Georgia Public Library System in 2006 so that a library catalog could be shared by a consortium of over 270 libraries (the Public Information Network for Electronic Services or PINES) all over the state. It was built to provide scalability for large systems and has been adopted by libraries across the US, Canada, and the rest of the world. In 2007, Evergreen formed a commercial company called Equinox Software to provide support for migration and development. Some of Evergreen's main features include circulation, cataloging, acquisitions, and online public access catalogs (OPACs).
Evergreen's circulation features are customizable, allowing libraries to give privileges based on the library, patron, item, and bibliographic information. Major notable circulation features include the ability to send patrons courtesy notices of due items; to access all relevant patron information in a single window; to define arbitrary fields when entering patron information; to create an unlimited number of notes about a patron; to replace patrons' cards without needing to re-register or clone them; to link patron accounts into family groups; to circulate non-cataloged and pre-cataloged materials; to customize template-based receipt printing; to continue circulation when Internet access is down; to give front-desk staff access to billing and financial information; to show patrons their accrued late fines in real time; and to allow patrons to pay their fines in whole or in part.
Evergreen's cataloging features are useful in that they allow libraries to include any relevant information regardless of the level of the organization hierarchy. Major notable cataloging features include the ability to create unlimited notes; to group and share related items in "buckets"; to compare MARC records side-by-side before merging; to enter information about volumes and copies at one time and thus avoid errors among branches; to move volumes and copies across records; to print customized labels; to search and retrieve bibliographic information from third-party sources; to validate MARC records; and to monitor cataloging activities through RSS feeds.
One of the major reasons why Evergreen is favored by consortium or multi-branch libraries is that each library can set their own rules and policies within the system, such as length of material check out. This functionality allows each member library to maintain their individual preferences and makes it easier for multiple libraries to share an ILS.
Evergreen's OPAC is known for its clean interface and effective relevance ranking. Major notable OPAC features include sidebars for related subjects, authors, and series; integration with web browsers and search engines; support for cover images and book reviews; "bookbags" that allow patrons and librarians to share lists of books; metarecords that group different formats and editions together; and a user-friendly patron account feature.
Evergreen also offers a variety of statistical reporting features to construct databases and reports.
Features in serials are currently under development. Acquisitions became available with latest version.
Evergreen's architecture was built to provide easy scalability for consortia by offering high indexing and transaction capacity, a flexible organization hierarchy, permission systems for groups and users, and the elimination of unnecessary information.
The overall cost of migrating to, implementing, and maintaining Evergreen depends on the size of the library. For a library of between 25,000 and 50,000 items and between 1,000 and 10,000 patrons, the initial cost may be around $1,000, with the annual cost being around $1,500. This can save libraries around $10,000 as compared to proprietary ILS. See this dissertation for additional information.
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