Whenever I’ve talked to colleagues about our move to the Evergreen ILS, one of many “high level” overview criteria that gets discussed was our requirement for supporting vendor neutral discovery alternatives. Moving to a new ILS is one thing, but betting all the farm on a single discovery solution is a lesson we should have all learned: proprietary systems continue to significantly lock in customers either technically and/or via business model traps (e.g. witness the plethora of discussions on next gen catalogue listservs dealing with *basic* data access issues, or vendors hiding API’s behind costly add-on requirements, etc.).
So when we discuss a slide like the one above, we make note of all the exciting work happening at the discovery level for augmenting your OPAC. There are some compelling proprietary solutions and lots of exciting open source projects now gaining visibility and marketplace traction. But where do you place your bet on? One of our requirements was NOT having to place any one single bet.. We need to invest in a foundation that values keeping our options open, and protecting our ongoing investment in the ILS.
Evergreen’s OPAC search is very good and getting better all the time. And there’s lots of exciting work in the pipe from the innovators at ESI as well as community implementors. But for those libraries (especially academics) looking for integrating other digital content, providing complementary feature sets, or just integrating the ILS with a pre-existing search toolbox, Evergreen’s openness and flexible API provides a refreshing and solid foundation.
So This is What I’m Talking About: Evergreen 1.6 with Endeca at McMaster University. Kudos to Wiktor for getting that started.
But wait, maybe Endeca is not your flavour. My colleague Warren Layton began some proof of concept work on a connector to vuFind. But vuFind not your cup of tea (where’s that Andrew Nagy when you need him!)? How about an Evergreen connector for Blacklight available in next Spring?
Or how about…we just say that things are just getting started. Evergreen’s providing us with a a solid and authoritative indexing engine for our OPAC, and now we also see how a diverse community is beginning to lay out the options, all-you-can-eat buffet style…
NRCan Library Update: our department uses Autonomy for full-text search of all website contents. We’ve recently been asked about exposing our Evergreen content into the site wide search, and hope to have something completed next Spring or early Summer. Right now, our current focus is our second and last phase of migrations into our new Evergreen system.