Evergreen is open-source, consortial-quality library software to help library users find library materials and to help libraries manage, catalog, and circulate those materials.
Open source software is freely available—free to download, free to use, free to view, and free to adapt and improve. Also see our Frequently Asked Questions about Open Source.
Open-ILS was an early name for the Evergreen project, and is still used internally in the software. The project website now uses evergreen-ils.org.
No. While Evergreen was designed in a library to serve a very large consortium, it is also implemented in single libraries.
Evergreen is open-source software, licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL), version 2. Evergreen software is free in all senses of the word: free to download, free to use, free to view, free to modify, free to share.
With supported open source, just because you can touch the code doesn't mean you ever need to. Most of the libraries using Evergreen have never seen a line of its code. As with other library systems, much of the strength of Evergreen comes from its supportive community of fellow users on mailing lists and IRC.
The key is that it's your choice. Some libraries contract with a company that offers Evergreen support, development, migration, and other services for their Evergreen installations. Some libraries are fully hosted by commercial companies. Some libraries have implemented Evergreen entirely on their own and maintain their own installations. Some libraries perform their own data migrations and then contract with a company for support.
Evergreen also has a strong and growing developer community dedicated to its health and long-term sustainability. One Evergreen user even installed it to manage his home library!
In 2005, the library automation system for PINES, the lending network for Georgia Public Library Service (GPLS), was rapidly failing. GPLS and PINES approached other library software vendors, but every system evaluated, whether proprietary or open source, fell short in one way or another, usually due to fundamental design issues.
A few of the vendors GPLS met with admitted that they couldn't handle PINES' requirements, and didn't want to try.
GPLS decided that instead of pointing fingers at vendors or complaining about the limitations of legacy software, their developers would write the kind of system we want our users to experience.
Early on, Evergreen's developers and stakeholders made a strategic decision that the new system eventually to be known as Evergreen would be owned and developed by the library community.
As librarians and library advocates, we believe in the power of information-sharing and openness. We believe that just as books are for use, software should also be for use. We have watched our beliefs turn into reality as libraries from across the United States and Canada have contributed to the Evergreen project.
Open source software also helps protect libraries against some of the painful trigger events in the life-cycle of proprietary software such as capabilities and upgrades that are never delivered, or vendor buy-out and vendor abandonment. We have watched our library colleagues suffer through all these events and knew there was a better way.
The Evergreen community is strong and growing stronger every day. To learn more about the community, see Evergreen Committees.
For more about the open source advantage, see Frequently Asked Questions about Open Source.
Evergreen provides high-quality services (you can think of these as “modules”) for circulation, cataloging, and discovery (that is, the public catalog, or OPAC).
On the back end, Evergreen has a friendly staff client, a powerful reporting module, and fine-tuned, highly flexible policy configuration. For a longer list of Evergreen's capabilities, see Frequently Asked Questions about Evergreen's Features and Technical Infrastructure.
Acquisitions with EDI support and a more user-friendly serials system, along with continued usability, scalability, and performance enhancements, are on the Evergreen roadmap for 2010. We're taking the time to get this right to ensure that libraries can benefit from these new features.
To see other features, follow the Evergreen roadmap.
Evergreen is the open source, consortial-strength library software that provides services for circulation, cataloging, and reporting, and a front end, or catalog, for user discovery (finding library materials).
PINES is the statewide public library consortium managed by the Georgia Public Library Service (GPLS). PINES uses Evergreen software, and contracts for support and development through Equinox. The PINES union catalog lists about 2 million bibliographic items and about 9 million physical items.
There are now roughly as many non-PINES libraries using Evergreen, and more coming on board every day. But PINES is still our proud founding library!
Libraries on large, shared Evergreen systems find that resource-sharing can significantly increase. We speculate this is because Evergreen was designed around the resource-sharing needs of very large consortia, making resource-sharing easier and more visible for users and librarians alike.
We welcome these partnerships! We wrote Evergreen so it would easily interface with other products, including catalog front-ends. Since our code is open source, there are no non-disclosure agreements to sign and no mysteries to the functions driving our interoperability, making it feasible to harness Evergreen's formidable strength to a wide variety of interfaces.
We welcome relationships with book vendors, enrichment vendors, and other services. Because Evergreen is open source and our code is readily viewable, and because of our service-oriented architecture, vendors may find it easier to work with us than with proprietary vendors. In May 2010, Equinox Software, Inc. conducted a survey of the Evergreen community to identify the products that are compatible with Evergreen. Survey results are available here: evergreen-compatible_products.pdf or here: Evergreen Compatible Products Results Survey. The survey will remain open so that the community can continue to contribute.
Evergreen was designed from the ground up to meet the needs of a very large (more than 270-member) library lending consortium whose members collaborate but are not in lockstep on policies. Evergreen needed to be able to handle large indexing and transaction loads while supporting highly-configurable policies for each member library.
You can maintain it yourself (or more often, with a team of developers), but you do not have to. First of all, if you have installed Evergreen, you can turn to its development community for assistance. Second, you can also contract with an Evergreen support and development company.
If your consortium is providing Evergreen, all you will ever need to install locally is our friendly staff client (available for Windows, Mac, and Linux). Some companies also provide a hosted version of Evergreen for libraries that need or prefer to use an externally-hosted server and a very high level of external support.
On the contrary, Evergreen's elegantly rich permissions behavior can free your library from software-driven staff and user policies. Some libraries in Evergreen networks have elected to share similar policies for circulation, to make things easier for their users. However, you will find that the policy structure in Evergreen is flexible and powerful enough to handle almost any workflow configuration you could think up.
No, this is not true. While it would be possible to configure Evergreen this way, in practice, we don't know of any Evergreen system where “just anyone” can edit a cataloging record.