Evergreen Newsletter Debuts

Over on the Evergreen project blog you can find Volume 1, Number 1 of the Evergreen newsletter, a new monthly publication for all things Evergreen. This month’s issue updates you on the 1.4 release candidate, acquisitions, save the dates” for Evergreen events, the most recent libraries to “go Evergreen,” URLs for recent webinars, and more. (Except — d’oh — any mention of the Evergreen Conference next May, in Athens, Georgia. My dumb omission!)

You can blame John Fink and Dan Scott for suggesting this newsletter way last spring, even before I began working at Equinox. I held back for a little while before launching the newsletter so I could get to know the community better.

This turned out to be wise, because through the part of my job that can roughly be described as “external relations” I am learning that the seemingly monolithic open source “community” is really a series of communities with their own distinct needs, interests, goals, habits, and special contributions.

Jim Cooper at West Georgia Regional Library System The Evergreen community includes some very dedicated developers, but it also includes people such as Robert Soullier of Mohawk College, who took the time to gussy up the recording of the most recent Evergreen webinar, and the librarians who on- and off-list, in webinars, and in small-group discussions, and in opening their libraries to Equinox, have offered many thoughtful and important ideas about the direction of Evergreen’s development and documentation, and training. In this picture you can see Jim Cooper of West Georgia Regional Library System, who recently opened his library and set aside plenteous time to help Equinox and PINES staff better understand his library’s observations about Evergreen.

Out in the field, I hear some refreshing twists on some of the hallowed assumptions about OSS development — or for that matter, development at large.

For example, in a variety of jobs in my past I’ve heard developers complain that nobody participates in testing software.

But in talking to librarians, it’s clear that call is often too fuzzy and open-ended. Narrow the request to specific features-for example, “ensure the new Frobbinator displays the Doomaflatchies in the staff client”-and at least a few willing victims will gladly step up to the plate. I’m hoping with the next release of 1.4 we can put out a laundry-list of things to test and ask people to commit to bits and pieces they have the most at stake in.

Because it does take a village — and that village has many interesting neighborhoods.

— Karen, Equinox Community Librarian