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FUDBuster #6: A Million Little Pieces (of Evergreen FUD)

August 18th, 2008 by

The first five FUDBuster posts in this series focused on some of the biggest whoppers spread about open source software and Evergreen in particular… the Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt used to undermine an effort. Starting next week I’m moving on to discussing features in Evergreen, beginning with Release 1.2.3 and then moving on to other topics, so this is the last FUDBuster — for now.

FUD: We would have to run Evergreen on a locally-installed server!

Response: If your library system is providing Evergreen, all you will ever need to install locally is the Evergreen staff client (available for Windows, Mac, and Linux). If you want to see how this works, download the staff client and point it at the demo server.

Equinox also provides hosting for Evergreen for libraries that need or prefer to use an externally-hosted server and very-high-level external support. Equinox currently supports two hosted libraries, Kent County Public Library in Maryland and Marshall Public Library in Missouri.

FUD: All libraries in an Evergreen system have to use the same policy!

Response: On the contrary, Evergreen’s permissions behavior can free your library from software-driven staff and user policies. Some libraries in Evergreen networks have elected to share similar policies in some areas. 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.

There are two contradictory variations on this FUD: that all libraries in an Evergreen installation must share resources with one another, and that all libraries in an Evergreen installation can’t share resources with one another. Both are false. Evergreen is highly configurable; it will support a variety of needs, circumstances, and local policies.

FUD: Anyone on the same Evergreen system can edit a cataloging record!

Response: 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.

FUD: Evergreen is only for very large installations!

Response: If you remove the word “only,” this FUD is true. Evergreen was designed from the ground up to support the 270-plus libraries in the PINES network, so it can and does support large installations with millions of records, requirements for high indexing loads, deduping, high transactions, and so forth.

However, Evergreen scales down quite nicely. One Evergreen user installed Evergreen for his home library, and several known Evergreen installations (including Marshall and Kent), are if not tiny, certainly qualify as on the smaller side.

FUD: You can’t place holds on items in Evergreen!

Response: This FUD falls into the general category of “you can’t do X in Evergreen.” That list of FUD could go on forever. Of course you can place holds in Evergreen, unless your system has elected not to enable this functionality.

Last week, I placed a hold in PINES (after choosing a pickup location convenient to me), got a nice email notice in response (three cheers for email! I could have selected telephone notification, but prefer a notice I don’t have to write down in my illegible handwriting), and picked up my book two days later. Not that I ever doubted it… but like many Evergreen advocates, I dogfood whenever possible.

If you aren’t sure about a capability of Evergreen, turn to its community and ask — or even post a question or comment here — and you’ll get a fast response.

(Thanks to Flickr user ckelty for the great FUD image.)

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