The phrase "Evergreen 2.0" has appeared frequently of late: in HSLC Evergreen announcements; at the PaLA conference session on Evergreen; and in discussions of current open source library systems in journals such as Information Technology and Libraries. What is it, why is it, and what does it mean for the HSLC Evergreen system?
When Evergreen was first developed, it was designed to the specifications of the Georgia Public Library System and the source code was made free and available to anyone. Since then, an Evergreen community of users (see HSLC Evergreen News, Dec. 21, 2010) has grown and many of these users want new or different features or functionality. Code has been written and tweaked by various developers to accommodate these wishes. Thats good and the way open-source software can work to benefit all users. The Evergreen Development Roadmap provides the highlights of each version, from the 2006 GPLS-only 1.0 version to the current stable version, 1.6, which was released in November 2009. HSLC has been trained on and the HSLC Evergreen System libraries will migrate to the newest version, 2.0, which is still in the beta testing phase. Evergreen 2.0 includes some major developments that warrant the leap from being simply another 1.x version of the software to the 2.x tier.
Version 2.0 was developed for two reasons. A large library system wanted to move to an open source library system (OSLS) but didnt find exactly what they wanted in any of the OSLSs currently available and that library had a lot of money to develop what they wanted. The King County Library System (KCLS) includes 42 libraries surrounding the greater Seattle area and is consistently ranked as one of the busiest library systems in the country. The money is from an almost-$1 million dollar federal grant ($998,556) awarded from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (ILMS) in 2009. The award is to create and develop the critical infrastructure components that have traditionally been provided by ILS vendors and will establish a peer-to-peer support model for open source libraries. The project will stimulate a growing community of libraries moving to an OSLS that will benefit from and contribute to software applications as well as the support infrastructure. KCLS chose to use the grant money to further develop the Evergreen OSLS and to share that work with the Evergreen community as required in the grant. To do the latter, they created the Resource Sharing Cooperative for Evergreen Libraries (RSCEL). (Yes, they do call themselves rascals!)
The transition to Evergreen 2.0 has had an impact on the HSLC Evergreen System. One option would have been to migrate data and train library staff on a system that would soon be upgraded, and go through another learning curve when Evergreen 2.0 was ready. KCLS had a firm September 2010 date for all of its libraries to go live on Evergreen, so it was decided to wait for them to start with the earliest 2.0 version, get the bugs worked out (there are always bugs!) and wait for a stable version before beginning the HSLC Millennium-to-Evergreen transition. The new features and functionality in version 2.0, as listed in the development roadmap, warranted waiting. These include acquisitions, serials, a more user-friendly patron registration form, and several changes to the cataloging interface. This timing has allowed HSLC staff more time to prepare the major changes occurring on the server side and to work out any kinks before any libraries move to Evergreen.
Although Evergreen 2.0 is available to download, it is considered an early testing release and is not recommended for use by live sites (although KCLS is using it and fixing those bugs). It is expected that a stable version of Evergreen 2.0 (probably 2.1 by then) will be released in the first quarter of 2011.