HomeMigrationMigration PreparationConsider for Migration

2. Consider for Migration

Preparing new libraries to join an Evergreen consortium

Steps to a Successful Membership in PaILS, using our SPARK branded vendor hosted open source Evergreen Integrated Library System software:

Preview the current installation of Evergreen.  Read Evergreen advice about Preparing for Migration.

Online meetings/personal visits to demonstrate use can be scheduled.   

Interested libraries can view support site and learn about the SPARK Community and PaILS Membership or by asking a staff member.

Be aware of the time and skills that your staff team will need to invest in the migration process.

Be aware that this is an exciting time of change and an opportunity to consider NEW policies and workflows.

Confirm that your location has adequate connectivity and hardware to get full benefit.   Review your current Internet Provider and Connection and Technology setup and tell PaILS what it is:  Note: PaILS is working to establish minimum standards--bandwidth for transactions and searches is low. Larger monitors recommended.  Sound at workstations is recommended.  Consider regulation that a location MUST have at least one workstation in the location that offers ability to attend online meetings with sound, to talk and screenshare for best online support and for participation in SPARK Community and Committees.  Staff (and patrons) need access to remote view and talk technology to take full advantage of library technology.  Could a new workstation with headset/speakers/mic/soundcard be included with migration costs?  It could be used for staff training, a dedicated test server workstation, online meetings, and patrons.)

Learn about PaILS

Understand what the PaILS membership agreement means. 

Consider what roles you and your staff will play in the SPARK community.  

Make sure your library is a fit for the organization and its mission/vision.  We're more than just an ILS--we're the SPARK Community.

Outcomes of migration to the Evergreen open source ILS:

  • Staff persons employed in your organization will understand how the software will receive and store your bibliographic records, item records, patron data, and transactions.  
  • You will change the way you may have thought about policies and workflows in the past, in order to make best use of the software's design and capabilities and your human capital resources and collections.  
  • Community of PA Libraries who all use the same system will make an impact on statewide library card concepts and larger coalition resource sharing.

PaILS promotes access for patrons and empowerment for staff.  This means: Collections in people's homes instead of locked in the library, re-consideration of fines/fees/limiting loan periods as a cost of library service, patron privacy understanding, effective use of time--automate manual actions where you can.  We promote Resource Sharing.  Time, talent, physical, and digital resources can be shared so we all have more. 

We do provide on-site training, and host sessions in person from time to time, but a primary way to engage in the community is via online tools that allow screen viewing and conversation via internet connected technologies.  We're listening to feedback about how it is working.  Bite-sized videos and quick guides are a part of our training strategy.

Before Signing a Letter of Intent:

Note: Consider Who should sign?  Suggest commitment by Board of Trustees to endorse a resolution supporting Resource Sharing.  Require one committed person per ORG unit.  Require one person at each location to be trained on how to control access to staff accounts/workstation setups at each service location.  

The actual PaILS Membership Agreement signer will be the person(s)/organization who pays the invoice for Membership. 

Provide Information on a worksheet (to be created) including: Current ILS, Provider End Date, Barcode Ranges in Use for both patrons and items--include anomalies, Number of Bibliographic Records, Number of Items, Number of Patrons/types of patrons.   This data is used to get a cost estimate for your location(s)

Sign Commitment to Review Policies.  (Match to a preferred/recommended policy set, created by PaILS with 4 options for Best Practice Patron Serving Equity and Access based policies.  Need to clarify if libraries can continue to charge for DVDs under the regs.  )

Sign Commitment to analyze/clean/normalize data

Consider Resource Sharing Future ideas.

Understand costs of migration (staff time investment included) as well as what the annual cost will be.

Understand how your current staff job descriptions may change.  Examples: How will the role of the person who currently manages ILS software change?  Who will serve User Group and committee roles.  How do cataloging responsibilities change in a shared bibliographic database?   Consider the changes you will make and who will be responsible for the work of configuring the software and staying current on the software and its changes.  Designate which job descriptions/people will have roles in the SPARK Community.

Analyze Workflows and Make Sure your Written Policies Match:  Use list below (which we can break out into a new doc)

Deeply consider Patron data and what should migrate.  Be aware of (new idea here:) Expired patrons that can no longer be counted as active users by state reporting guidelines will NOT be migrated unless special circumstances are arranged.  Patrons should agree to have their data transferred into the new system--they need to be aware of the change to their account, its access, and its features.

Understand a threshold of acceptable data loss.  This system offers new options for hold notification preference, is it ok if your notification preferences don't migrate--it's good to ask people to update it now that you offer new options anyway...

We all want what is best, so recognize that if mistakes are made, we'll all spend more time fixing it.  We learn from mistakes.

Analyze Patron Registration Process:

Understand your current patron data collection practices and make changes as you see fit to new/different services.

Determine which are Required fields of data (only require those you use...) 

How do you want to handle municipal info / county info / statewide library card patrons? 

Determine if you will honor other SPARK library cards or plan to issue new accounts.

What Patron types will you offer?  (What are the levels of permissions and who gets them?)

What is your process for keeping patron records up to date?

Think about notes/alerts/messages and how/if they should migrate.

Analyze Incoming Library System Workflows in Technical Services including Cataloging of all material types and Acquisitions Workflows:

How many people currently create or add bibliographic records?  (What is their expertise?)

How many people can add copies to existing bibliographic records?

Do you add records for your e-resources?

Do you use a service like OCLC to get bibliographic records or use AccessPA or other z39.50 collections? Which sources do you use?

Look at your Fail File from past AccessPA uploads.  (Share the file you typically send to AccessPA and your Fail File for analysis: tell us your AccessPA code so we can communicate the need to remove your records when you join us.)

How do you catalog/circulate Magazines?

Do your DVDs circulate in sets as a series or in single discs?  (Consider this workflow--can't use Monographic Parts for series DVDs.)

Analyze Incoming Library System Workflows, Collections Mapping, and Circulation/Holds Policies and Notifications:

Workflows of Circulation or Front-Line staff : Describe any workflows that your front-line staff perform on a daily basis. Examples may include :

  1. Do you have a public holds shelf separate from behind the counter?
  2. Do you have a courier service/system for sharing materials between branches? Please describe the set up and schedule.
  3. Do you have a workflow for taking monies for services, ie. printing, faxes, holds pickup, etc., and please describe.  (This will help set up billing types)
  4. Do you have a separate check-in station for material returns?
  5. Self-check station(s)? (If not, can you consider adding one with Evergreen's self-check interface?  Privacy for patrons, especially in rural communities)
  6. Any unique or out of the ordinary duties that front-line staff perform for their patrons?
  7. Do you have special populations or collections that need special attention?

Circulation: Describe the way your patrons currently circulate your materials, including as much detail as possible. Share your written policy.

  1. Please tell us who can circulate which materials, for how long, how many items at a time or check out thresholds, and the amount of any fine billed to the patron in the event the items become overdue.   Is anything different for patrons outside of service area? 
  1. Utilization of grace period before overdue fees begin to accumulate?
  1. Do fees cap out at item price or another amount?
  1. What is the fine threshold before a patron is blocked from checking out materials, using public computers, etc.
  1. Which materials are renewable, how many times, and is that the same for every patron?
  1. Do you have patrons who cannot circulate certain materials (such as patrons with Internet only accounts)?
  1. Do you waive overdue fees if patron is paying for lost or damaged materials? Do you allow for replacement items for lost or damaged items?
  1. Are certain patrons/staff exempt from fines?
  1. Any Rental fees involved with any media/dvd or loan types? If so, how much?
  2. Are there materials that circulate for less time than others, such as new books? What is the circulation period for those materials, how many times can they renew, and how do you distinguish them from other (older) materials (e.g. different shelving location)?
  1.  If you have technology, such as e-readers or laptops, can patrons check them out? What are the rules?
  1. Do you check out things like headphones, games, etc.? What are the rules?
  1. Do you have any non barcoded (non-cataloged) items that you share with patrons like honor collections or paperback exchanges?
  1. Are there kits or other groups of items that circulate in a special way?
  2. Do you want to use Evergreen to count programs or program attendance?

Holds: Please describe the way your patrons can currently place holds on your materials, including as much detail as possible.

  1. Which types of materials are holdable/not holdable?  What can transit outside of locations?
  1. Are there certain patrons who are not allowed to place holds on any/specific materials?
  1. Please describe any hold limits currently in place? 
  1. Are there any materials (holdable for your patrons) that you would prefer to prevent from resource sharing with the consortium?
  1. Are any technology materials (e-readers, laptops, etc.) holdable?   Also consider special loans like Attraction Passes.  What are the rules?

ILL and Resource Sharing: Consider your plans for Resource Sharing. 

Share your current workflow for ILL.  Consider how it will change in this system.  (SPARK has a committee working on this.)

Are you adding resource sharing partners or do you plan to within 6 months?  Do you want to open your collection for patrons of other libraries so yours can have access to theirs?

What are the policies for items you loan to other libraries via ILL?

Notifications:  Determine the text and method of sending (email if avail, Print if no email) for all triggered notifications:

  1. Welcome Message:  When new patron is registered.
  2. Soon to Expire Message:  When patron is 30 days from expiration.
  3. Check-out Receipt: (via email?)
  4. Hold Ready Notice:
  5. Courtesy notice (2-3 days before due?):
  6. 1st Overdue: day after due date?
  7. 2nd Overdue: week later?
  8. 3rd Overdue: 2 weeks
  9. Items going to lost: Bill (is this mailed or emailed?)
  10. More... etc:  

After Signing Letter of Intent

After these steps above are completed and documentation is provided, your migration will be scheduled on a timeline that is mutually agreeable by PaILS Staff, our vendor provider, and member library locations.

Commit to a positive attitude towards change.  (Need to find more Change Management resources so libraries can prepare their staff to also embrace change.)

Migration Start Date Assigned:

Go Live Date Assigned:

Announcement to SPARK Community about your plan to Go Live.  Give Welcome Letter from User Group.

Timetable/Schedule sent out and time blocked by Local Library Staff, PaILS Staff, and Vendor.  PaILS staff and Equinox will set things up based on written policies. 

Send letters to neighbors of intended change to let them know of your plans. 

Internet Service Provider and bandwidth for each location:

Any static IPs:

Library Website:

E-Resource List and Authentication Methods: (also--do you add catalog records for the resources)

Start of Migration: 

Assign accountability for tasks to be completed by the Migration Team.  Understand the roles. (We need to clarify with Equinox and new members at tiered levels.  Each building gets a LibAdmin, Should each "county" get a sysadmin level login too? Strategy for Human Capital Management is an area PaILS is exploring.)

Again: Commit to a positive attitude towards change.

Determine your Name / SHORTCodes under best practices. 

Complete Organizational Unit Settings:  Fill in all information needed, such as hours, addresses, contact information, and all fields on the Library Information URL.  Names should be well considered in terms of conflict with others--less use of L for library and S for system when possible--focus on uniqueness of naming conventions. 

Complete PaILS Contact sheet:  Roles: Who can Make Decisions for the Org Unit?

  • Settings and policy adjustment: Who can request changes to circulation policies?
  • Bibliographic data or collection items: Who is responsible for reviewing Bibliographic Records for accuracy?  Who establishes the standards for Shelving Locations and who can request or make changes to them?
  • Patron data: Who can decide what fields are mandatory?  Who should be asked if data is entered in non-normalized ways?
  • Transaction Data (things that happen at a public desk):  Who runs reports for circulation?
  • Billing Contact:  Who should we mail the Bill to? 
  • User Group Representation for vote:
  • Who will to have a launchpad account to submit development interest? 
  • Technology Contact: Who is in charge of making decisions for network connectivity, web browser settings, and acquiring operating systems/hardware?
  • Are your trustees aware of your library's Membership Commitment with PaILS?  This is a new partnership, not just a software purchase.

Marketing to neighbors and community begins.

Review calendar.  Ensure marketing and closed days are planned.  Consider not having items due during a brief period of time to prevent busy days on Go Live.  Know that there will be a short period of time when no items will be able to be checked in during the transition, so make plans for an overload of materials.  Understand that no items will be added during a short Cataloging Freeze. 

Schedule training times for In-Person and Online Training.  (Custom training schedule based on your needs and amount of time available.)   Much early training is done via recorded video (bite-sized trainings) and live online session.

Complete Policy and Collection Mapping Sheets.  PaILS staff and Equinox will set things up based on written policies you previously submitted.

Library exports/or vendor exports or exit services are used:  "Test Load" of bilbiographic database, items, and patrons to vendor; Vendor moves Test Load to test server and library checks data integrity and policy setups on test server.    (All items will transfer, but it is prudent to determine (based on cataloging quality) if all library bibliographic records should enter or only unique bibliographic records.  Clarify which fields will not enter and what data will not migrate: Be sure libraries know circ history doesn't migrate, so your use reports won't be useful for weeding for a while... do dates of last use come over, no. etc.  )

Library gets test server for catalog and can customize OPAC look and feel on the test server.   Library does prescribed testing and reports problems with data that can help to make sure that data when moved to production is correct.

Library gets to preview and suggest customization to OPAC look and feel on the test server:

  • Colors
  • Logo file
  • Links on Top Nav bar
  • Links on Bottom Nav bar
  • Try out the Carousels
  • Make sure OPAC scope is what you want.

Library sets up and tests printers for labels and technical services workflows.

Library sets up and tests printers for receipts and circulation desk workflows.

All SIP2 connections for e-resources are set up and tested. 

Library stops all New item ordering (if using acquisitions in current system)

Existing database freeze for collection items:  Library stops all new item cataloging for a short period before Go Live. 

Circulation Freeze:  Library stops using existing ILS, and uses Offline Circulation in SPARK/Evergreen for "3" days before Go Live.  Libraries cannot "check-in" items during this period, so they will need to plan ahead for storage/carts for 3-5 days of returned items. 


Soft Go Live Day: 

Work into the plan that the library will have the afternoon of the day before new system in order to catch up on back-logged check-ins and holds.

All SIP2 connections are tested and verified. 

Offline transactions can be uploaded.

Go Live Day:

PaILS Staff and Community Member Mentors will be scheduled to be on site.

Some locations may choose to delay opening on the first day they have access to the Production system to spend additional time in testing.

Receive Welcome Letter from User Group with suggestions for your involvement in SPARK Community roles.

Complete steps in GoLive Checklist.

At end of day, get report of daily circulation, total bibliographic records, total items, total patrons for quick analysis.  (SPARK staff should run and send these.) Also get collections/items reports as list in spreadsheet format to identify outliers.  Get patron list export to identify outliers. 

Month of New:

Set up Reports:  PaILS Staff and Reports Committee works with Migrating Library to ensure that all report data that is needed is available.  Reports Committee is working on a set of templates for new migrating libraries to catch items that aren't at the right level or items that need to be adjusted.

Ensure that all Receipt Templates are what you want.  PaILS starts you with a set of templates, but local folks may want to customize.  

Ensure that all Notices are configured as you wish.  Set/establish a calendar/checklist so you can watch at specific intervals for notices you expect the system to send.  Pay careful attention to lost notices at the interval you set them for... 

Test and make any/all changes needed to the OPAC, including carousels, colors, links, features like "custom text to link to a Purchase Request or ILL form" if no results display, etc.

End of Migration:

Generally, libraries will report issues to the Migration Team and have active support from our data team and vendor for about a month after Go Live Day.   Aim for 2 months instead of just the 1 month--this will allow for more time to identify issues/errors/concerns. 

Sign Off Migration Period and Transition to SPARK Support.

Appendix created by EQ:

This is a checklist of things that a library joining an Evergreen consortium should verify. This is not meant to be comprehensive; instead, it focuses on areas that have caused difficulty in the past when the answers to these questions were not fully known prior to the library beginning the implementation.

General migration needs

  • ●  What is the library's current ILS?

  • ●  What date does the contract with the current provider end?

  • ●  What is the plan for extracting data? ​Note: this is heavily dependent details such as what the current ILS is, whether or not the library or the vendor hosts it, whether Equinox has experience extracting data from that ILS, and the completeness and price of exit services from the prior vendor.

  • ●  Does the library share their source ILS with other libraries? If so, are the other libraries participating in the migration?

  • Data matching considerations

● Are there any patron barcodes that are shared by records already in the consortium?

Note: Given a report of the incoming library's barcodes, Equinox can identify collisions. Depending on how much time passes between a library expressing interest in joining the consortium and actually starting their migration, it may be necessary to check for barcode collisions more than once prior to the kick-off.

○ If there are overlapping barcodes, do they represent patrons using the same cards at multiple libraries? Or do they represent cases where brief barcode numbers are being used?

  • ●  Are there any item barcodes that are shared by records already in the consortium? ​Note: as above, given a report, Equinox can identify collisions.

  • ●  Are patron cards shared by the incoming library and neighboring libraries that are already in the consortium? By neighboring libraries that are ​not​ already in the consortium but may join it?

    Policy considerations

  • ●  Does the incoming library plan to begin resource-sharing with the rest of the consortium upon go-live?

  • ●  Does the incoming library already do resource-sharing with one or more members of the consortium?

  • ●  Will the incoming library need to make significant changes to locations or circulation policy to match requirements set by the consortium?


Look to one of SPARK's fellow Evergreen Consortium for additional advice on Migration:  https://nccardinalsupport.org/index.php?pg=kb.printer.friendly&id=18

Knowledge Tags


This page was: Helpful | Not Helpful