Evergreen in Action

Overview of daily and ongoing operation

The Evergreen integrated library system is a large and complex set of interacting pieces of software. At its heart, though, it fulfills two main functions:

  • inventory management; keeping track of what the library owns, where it is, and even ordering new materials
  • patron management; controlling who has access to the materials and their current status

As someone responsible for the whole system, your tasks include reflecting library policies in the system and overseeing the welfare of the system's software and data. On any given day, you and members of your team may find yourselves implementing policies in Evergreen, importing data, tracking budgetary information, customizing interfaces, altering search functionality, setting up notifications, preparing for disaster recovery, updating the Evergreen software and keeping the system secure.

Any one of these tasks can be daunting to both new and experienced Evergreen administrators. The authors are also Evergreen administrators, and we also found a number of these tasks daunting individually. By working together, we were able to pool our experiences--so this manual is just as much for us as it is for you.

What this manual does for you

This manual is designed to take you through a number of critical tasks that will face you and to make your life easier while you do them. We assume that you have a working installation of Evergreen and that you are ready to tackle the next steps.

The sections are grouped broadly by function:

  • tasks you have to perform when your installation is up and running, before it is ready for patrons and staff to use;
  • controlling who has privileges to use your system, at which locations;
  • providing the optimal experience for your patrons, with a focus on your catalog and communication;
  • preparing for (and recovering from) disasters that may affect Evergreen's data;
  • keeping your installation of Evergreen up to date;
  • getting help when you need it, and participating in the Evergreen community.

The material is presented roughly in the ideal order in which you would address them. Decisions that you make when you initially load data into and configure your system can have significant consequences when you subsequently define the rules that control how patrons can borrow materials. As an administrator, however, life is not ideal, and you may find yourself called on to handle many different things at once. Consequently, you can use this book either as a straight-through read, or just jump to the sections that stand out most for you right now.