Web-Based Staff Client for Evergreen


PINES, in cooperation with a group of other Evergreen systems throughout the country, is currently in negotiations with Equinox Software, Inc. to fund the complete development of a new, web-based version of the Evergreen Staff Client. As you may have heard us mention in previous discussions, the current staff client makes heavy use of Mozilla's xulrunner technology. Over the years since the Evergreen software was first developed, xulrunner has evolved in a different direction than what our needs require, and this has triggered multiple problems in the functionality and performance of our system.

This winter, PINES was involved in funding the creation of a proof-of-concept,  prototype of this new web client and participated (along with a small group of volunteers from PINES-member libraries) in comparison testing. Initial response to the prototype has been overwhelmingly positive. The functionality of the prototype was limited, but the performance speed of the individual transactions tested shows a marked improvement over the existing staff client, the staff computer requires less system resources since more of the work is being done by the server rather than the local machine, the user interface makes use of modern web standards so is attractive and user-friendly, and common web functionality (such as copy & paste) is possible.

A web-based client will also allow the staff client to be used on mobile devices, which will open up new possibilities for how library employees do their daily work. Imagine the convenience of being able to register new users at an outreach event with the use of a lightweight tablet, or to take a phone into the stacks to efficiently do roving reference or to work on a weeding or inventory project.

The development of the web client is broken down into the following stages, each of which will be tested thoroughly to be sure all existing functionality is retained before moving on to the next stage of development:

  1. Circulation and Common / Backend Components
  2. Cataloging
  3. Acquisitions and Serials
  4. Reports and Administration
  5. Booking and Offline Functionality
  6. Bug-Fixing and Integration

Work on the first stage is already underway and due to be completed by the end of September, 2014. Once that stage is complete and tested, work will commence on the second stage.

Until this new web client is complete, the existing staff client will continue to be maintained and improvements incorporated into it with each new upgrade.

We will be working with the OPAC Working Group and PINES Subcommittees to represent PINES' interests in this project.