All entries for Monday 16 June 2008

June 16, 2008

IslandPines: the Evergreen Open Source Library Management System at UPEI Robertson Library

Writing about web page

The University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) Robertson Library has adopted Evergreen as their Library Management System (LMS). It took a small team of enthusiastic developers one month to move from Unicorn, a commercial product by Sirsi, to Evergreen, an Open Source LMS.

UPEI obviously have the capacity to benefit from Open Source, since they have been using DSpace for the library’s digital repository and they now in intend to use Fedora for a Repository and Virtual Research Environment. They are also hosting a Fedora summer school this August, the Red Island Repository Institute 1st Fedora Summer Institute.

Other current Open Source LMS developments I am aware of are Koha, PMB, BiblioteQ, OpenBiblio, and there are a few more listed on the web. There are also archives management systems, which are Open Source, like Archon.

Clearly there is quite a range of Open Source systems being installed at present in universities worldwide. Among other things, this wide-ranging experimentation is serving to develop the Open Source systems development and procurement model for universities.

On the long term, however, one might expect progressive consolidation of the Open Source market around fewer applications within each fuctional niche. Will Evergreen gradually become the system of choice for large LMS instalations?

(By the way, I would venture to suggest this is what is going to happen with Sakai for the large VLE/VRE niche. On the other hand, it will be interesting to see whether the repository niche will eventually consolidate around any of EPrints, D-Space, or Fedora.)

Nevertheless, a trend recognised (Adamson 2008) in the LMS sector seems to point at the increasing decoupling of the different components of the LMS. This could facilitate Open Source penetration of the LMS market, but it would also make consolidation around any particular Open Source LMS a more distant prospect.

Thus, it may well be that the market of Open Source large LMS will ultimately go through a natural process of consolidation, but such consolidation might then happen at module level. In such a context the leading Open Source system for say, the acquisitions module, may be a different one from the leading system for, say, the OPAC.

In fact a number of Open Source LMS layer components are already being developed, which correspond to the tiered or layered LMS model, the top layer of which is similar to an instutional portal. VuFind seems to fit in this category.

Although Fac-Back-OPAC was intended as a back-up, stand-alone OPAC system, it is nonetheless an interesting development. Quite enlightening is the story of its development based on a demonstration of how a programmer can write in not so many lines of code a lean programme to do the same a commercial product does.


Adamson, V., et al. (2008). JISC & SCONUL Library Management Systems Study. Sero Consulting Ltd with Glenaffric Ltd and Ken Chad Consulting Ltd <>

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