[OPEN-ILS-GENERAL] 226 subscribers

Dan Scott denials at gmail.com
Thu Mar 22 23:48:55 EDT 2007

On 22/03/07, LaJeunesse, Brad <bradl at georgialibraries.org> wrote:
> Hi folks,
> You know, there are 226 subscribers to this list. That's really amazing.
> So, anyone care to break the ice and introduce themselves? It's awfully
> quiet in here. I'm sure someone has something more interesting to say
> than I do. :)
> Well, ok, fine, twist my arm... I'll go first and introduce myself. I'm
> Brad LaJeunesse, one of the instigators behind the Evergreen project
> here at the Georgia Public Library Service. I'm not a software
> developer, but rather a systems administrator type, and I am primarily
> responsible for the servers that support the PINES consortium's
> installation of Evergreen. I'm also a degree-toting professional librarian.
> In addition to my sys-admin duties, I also act as a project manager for
> the Evergreen software development project, yet I will readily admit
> that kind of work is not exactly my forte. There's just some sort of
> similarity between being a 'project manager' and a 'cruise coordinator'
> that I just can't get my head around. (Trust me, you never want to be on
> a cruise that I've coordinated.) Thankfully I have a great team to work
> with.
> So, with my introduction out of the way, why are we all here? Well, ok,
> you're all here because you've heard of Evergreen, are interested in
> Evergreen, something like that... or you're just in the wrong place. :)
> I'm here because this was my crazy idea, so I'm stuck. But the rest of
> you-- what do you want to talk about? What questions do you have? What
> do you want to see on this mailing list?
> If you wish to remain anonymous and send questions/comments directly to
> me, I'd be happy to post them back to this list for you.
> Look forward to hearing from ya'll. If no one speaks up, I'll be forced
> to resort to more devious measures, such as singing karaoke.
> --Brad

I have a great fear of Brad singing karaoke, so rather than digging
into the MARC importer script for Evergreen I figured I would give you
a quick self-introduction.

I'm an accredited librarian, but for the first 8 years of my
post-library-school career I worked for IBM as a tech writer,
information architect, developer, and product manager for DB2 database
for Linux, UNIX, and Windows. I was introduced to Linux when I tested
the first beta pre-release of DB2 on Linux back in 1999, and quickly
became enmeshed in the world of open source. For a number of years I
lived with one foot in the open source world and one foot in the
proprietary software world, doing things like writing the DB2 for
Linux HOWTO for the Linux Documentation Project, leading the DB2 PECL
extension project for PHP, and giving a tutorial at OSCON on writing
applications in Perl, Python, and PHP for Apache Derby.

Last year I left IBM to take on the systems librarian position at my
alma mater. During my interview I had reassured the interviewers that
although I had no experience with the proprietary ILS in use at our
university, based on my database knowledge and programming experience
I would be able to quickly wrestle it into shape. I also mentioned the
existence of projects like Koha that offered an open-source
alternative library systems. I was a bit naive, I suppose, because
when I accepted the position I was horrified at how closed and
difficult to use our library software actually is. It kills me
everytime I have to say to one of our staff "No, I know that it makes
no sense that you have to do X, but I'm sorry, there is no way for me
to modify the staff client to avoid that problem." or spend hours
working on scripts that use the under-documented API for our ILS. I
find it truly bewildering that the ILS in use at our institution is
generally considered the best-of-breed, at least in terms of openness
for a proprietary product. Yeesh.

I considered building a nice set of Perl modules to act as an
abstraction layer for the API for our current ILS, but given that I
wouldn't be allowed to share that work in public and that I would
effectively be doing volunteer work for a for-profit vendor, I opted
instead to invest my energies in helping an open system succeed. I
consider it a long-term investment. At the moment, I've documented the
compile steps for Gentoo on the Open-ILS.org wiki and have created a
VMWare image based on those steps. I recognize that there are many
people interested in Evergreen who might not have the technical
background that's currently required to get Evergreen compiled and
configured, so I'm hoping that a VMWare image will enable them to get
some hands-on experience with an Evergreen system without having to
invest all of the initial energy in getting it running.

Beyond making one (or more) VMWare images available, I hope to be able
to help in a number of areas:

  * documentation
    * adding task-oriented documentation to the wiki beyond install
and config, such as "Importing MARC bibliographic records and holdings
into Evergreen" and
    * contributing patches to add POD to the Perl scripts
    * long-term: once the documentation starts stabilizing, setting up
a nice documentation build system along the lines of
http://www.postgresql.org/docs/, http://php.net/docs, or
  * support for localization / globalization / internationalization -
our university is bilingual, so any thought of adopting Evergreen in
the future is dependent on it offering bilingual support as good as or
better than our current system; and that support is critical for
Evergreen's possibilities in the rest of the world
  * development - I have a broad technical background including Perl,
C, SQL, XML, etc; given enough time to sink my teeth into a problem I
can generally wrestle it to the ground, and I enjoy a good coding
session every now and then.

I would really like to know from the other members on the list:
1) if you actually are interested in a VMWare image -- if not, I
shouldn't be wasting my time on it!
1a) if so, what is the expectation of what that image should offer:
Completely empty, but ready for you to start figuring out what to do
next? Preloaded with fake data, institutions, and patrons so you can
play with a test system? Or completely empty, but with instructions
for loading bibliographic data and patron data from "insert ILS name
here"? Or both of these as options (yeah, I know, it's going to be
both -- heh)
2) assuming that you have a successful Evergreen install, what are the
"how-to" instructions that you need to get going? Instructions for
migrating data from ILS XXX, of course, but if you can identify gaps
in http://open-ils.org/dokuwiki/doku.php?id=evergreen-user:evergreen_end-user_documentation,
for example, that would be really useful. I think :)

Anyways, that's me, or more than enough of me for now.


More information about the Open-ils-general mailing list