SPAM: Re: [OPEN-ILS-GENERAL] Questions from a student

Don McMorris don.mcmorris at
Mon Jun 12 01:16:14 EDT 2006

Hi Linda! I am not directly involved in the development of the ILS,
but I've been "participating" in the project since just before the
Alpha release.  I will try to answer some of your questions to the
best of my ability, but the authoritive responses will come later from
the Pines development staffs.

I'm not sure of the location of any articles about the ILS.  I'm sure
that once Evergreen goes live in the Pines network, there will be
numerous third-party articles about the project and comparing it to
commercial ILS's.  However, at this time in development (Early Beta),
there are no "live" sites, and the software at this point still has
frequent and significant changes.

It is my understanding that the resources of all ~250 Pines libraries
can share resources among each other.  It doesn't matter if the
library is in the same county as the requesting patrons' library or
not; if it is in the Pines network, a patron at any Pines library can
get it* (of course, libraries do have the option of restricting who
they will loan items to.  This is a general guideline for the majority
of items in Pines libraries).

I believe the reason behind the choice of PostgreSQL over MySQL is
because of its well-established transaction support.  If you don't get
a definitive answer on this particular question within a couple days,
I would encourage you to e-mail the developers' listserv,
open-ils-dev at

The staff client (in online mode) does have a lot of its components on
the Internet.  It uses XUL, which can even be set up as a mozilla or
firefox plugin.  I believe the main reasons for the choice of a
standalone client (vs. a web site interface like other open-source ILS
configurations) are speed (faster), security (potentially higher), and
offline processing (if a site loses their connectivity, they can go
into "Offline" mode with the click of a button.  When connectivity
comes back they can go back "Online" and upload offline transactions
with the click of another button).  The Pines staff should elaborate
on this choice later this week, when they get to the office and have
time to check this list.

One of the main development criteria from the start of the Open-ILS
project is MARC compliance.  So yes, Evergreen is MARC compliant (if
not fully, at least mostly).  Currently, Evergreen has a Z39.50 client
capability to connect with OCLC.  I'm not sure if Z39.50 to the
Library of Congress is complete yet or not, or if the ability to add
custom Z39.50 targets is working.  As for Z39.50 server functionality,
I don't think this is a high priority, and probably isn't done/working
yet (although it is planned at least).  A person from Pines should
elaborate on this later in the week.

Currently, (it appears from the OPAC that) Pines currently uses Sirsi.
 I recall reading an article a while back explaining this choice, but
forget where it is.  One of the Pines staff members' should reply
later in the week, and explain this choice in detail.

Please do not apologize for asking questions! This is how one learns,
and we are more than happy to answer them!

For further research, I would encourage you to thoroughly browse the
Blog (, Documentation Wiki
(, and the Pines web site

If you have any more questions at all, please feel free to again
contact this list!

Hope this helps!

--Don McMorris

On 6/11/06, Linda R <lindamarcella at> wrote:
> Hi,
> I'm just passing through your website and
> email list.  I'm a student in library school doing a
> report on open source ILSs.  So far, your ILS seems it
> will be the largest open source ILS, which is quite
> remarkable!  I have a few questions.
> I've seen a few mentions of your project in articles.
> Are there any papers or articles about it?
> Will patrons be able to search for and reserve
> interlibrary loan books from other participating
> counties' libraries online through your OPAC?
> On your FAQ, it says you use postgreSQL.  I was
> wondering, why did you choose it instead of other
> databases, say, for example, MySQL?  Do you know how
> it compares to the scalability of other databases?
> I tried your OPAC demo, which seems to work well, but
> did not download your staff client.  The staff client
> seems not to be a web application, i.e., it does not
> run in the browser.  Just curious, why did you choose
> this design instead of a web application?
> Does Evergreen implement MARC compliance and the
> Z39.50 protocol?
> Your FAQ says the reason you developed this ILS
> in-house was for customizability:  "The major
> advantage of developing our own ILS is that we have
> complete control over the functionality of the system
> ... This cannot be said for any vendor-developed
> product currently on the marketplace."
> What was your commercial ILS that Evergreen will
> replace?  What desired features did commercial ILSs
> lack?
> Sorry for all the questions!
> Thank you very much in advance,
> Linda
> SJSU SLIS student
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