On May 26th, 2006 the Georgia Public Library Service released a beta of an open source Integrated Library System (ILS), named Evergreen. The software is being developed and maintained by for use by the Georgia Library PINES Program, a consortium of 252 public libraries. The project is partially funded by the Library Services & Technology Act through the Institute for Museums and Library Services.
Anyone can download the staff client and connect to their demo system at http://demo.gapines.org or one can grab the source code from their CVS repository.
This was an exciting announcement to read since I have been advocating the creation of open source consortiums for some time now. My arguement has been that libraries have been creating consortiums for a hundred years in order to gain an economic advantage of one type or another. However, for some reason, libraries have not created consortiums to create library systems.
Instead, in 2005 libraries spent $535 million on ILS systems alone!! Add in other systems we licence and we are talking near $1 billion. In essence, library administrators may be creating our own budgetary crisises by failing to look at open source as a way to release some budgetary pressure. It is also a way to address the state of the ILS.
The project team consists of four individuals lead by Brad LaJeunesse, a fellow "rebel" from the Library Journal Mover and Shakers class of 2005. Think about it. They have four people building a system for 252 public libraries. That is extremely economical.
Kudos to Georgia PINES!!!!
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