[Eg-oversight-board] Koha going Next Gen

Elfstrand, Stephen F stephen.elfstrand at mnsu.edu
Tue Dec 3 17:11:32 EST 2013

I saw this announcement in the Library Technology Guides published by Marshal Breeding.

<< 2013-11-09. US Federal Government awards multi-million dollar, multi-year contract to LibLime and PTFS for Koha.  [PTFS] LibLime, a Division of PTFS, has been awarded a multi-year, multi-million dollar prime government contract for the implementation, software development, and support of Academic Koha. Under this project, LibLime and PTFS will deploy a completely web-based next generation ILS platform that manages bibliographic and digital collections from a single dashboard. The discovery layer for this platform can search and retrieve on: metadata in a variety of formats; full-text documents (electronic content and OCR-generated content); geospatial coordinates; and unstructured data files. The presentation layer brings resources of various material formats from disparate collections quickly to the researcher's desktop. LibLime and PTFS specialists will work closely with government staff to replace their legacy commercial bibliographic cataloging system. LibLime has extensive experience in implementing, supporting, and developing on the Academic Koha platform. LibLime will implement Academic  Koha and enhance functionality based upon specific requirements identified by the government. LibLime will then support the system over the five year period of performance of the contract and provide additional functional enhancements in future increments.
Full Announcement:

  http://www.librarytechnology.org/ltg-displaytext.pl?RC=18587  >>

Evergreen competes with not only Koha but commercial systems as well. I have been advocating for some time that we need a product management strategy to develop Evergreen into a "Next Gen" system. A development agenda that goes beyond the needs of the existing user base and appeals to libraries of all types and sizes. One that integrates next gen features such as a Knowledge Base for OpenURL linking and ERM, a Discovery layer, etc.

I have suggest that we work with OLE to incorporate their Open Knowledge Base, and Villanova to use VuFind as the Discovery Layer rather than create our own new OPAC. (It's fast, using SOLR, it integrates well with Summon or other Web-scale discovery services though APIs, and it's mobile friendly too!) Other suggestions include an NCIP gateway, a patron API and updating system for college libraries, and better Authority control.

To accomplish this we need product strategy.  My suggestion is that the Oversight Board is the body that should make this happen. To do so it will need funds to sponsor strategic development. I have suggested that a membership fee could be a source of these funds and that voting on community business should be tied to membership. As a public entity, I can pay a membership fee but I cannot just donate to worthy causes.

The announcement shows that LibLime Koha is going  "next gen". I think that Evergreen needs to as well. Most of the discussion on this has been on the EOB list so far. The response I've received to my ideas has been rather tepid, most seem to think that Evergreen is doing just  fine. I think that the alternative to a forward-looking product management strategy is to have Evergreen stay in the "last gen" library system category, and be known as a good system for smaller and mostly public libraries that don't think they need all the bells and whistles of a next gen system. Eventually Evergreen could be eclipsed by OLE, Alma, Intota, and other next gen systems, and soon even by Koha.

Stephen F. Elfstrand
PALS Executive Director

Mn. St. Univ. - Mankato
Mankato MN 56001


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