According to Linux.com, A few librarians working at the The Georgia Public Library have now created a new Linux-based system for content management and organization for large-scale library operations.
Evergreen is a type of Integrated Library System, or ILS, and is the backbone of the entire system. It keeps track of all loans and books. So the entire library depends on it.
The reason for the switch came because previously used Windows software was old and useless, and the librarians wanted to create a new system that would allow them to manage their huge volume of books better. The librarians went on to say that current ILSs are a frustrating mess for the intelligent staff and users that had to use the system.
Little "mini-releases" of the software allowed them to slowly evolve the system. By July 2005, a beta version of Evergreen was released, and recently in September, the full version has been released.
Switching has been relatively painless, on all 252 library systems. In about 4 days, the whole system had migrated to Evergreen, and was working well. Julie Walker, PINES program director said, "It has really been the easiest conversion I've ever been through in my 25 years of working in libraries."
The system has worked well so far.
Features that make this so sweet is the fact that Evergreen has ended up with a number of features that modern commercial ILS systems lack, such as type-as-you-go spell checking, search suggestions, and can retrieve additional information about a book, such as book reviews and exerpts - even a book cover image. It also includes features similar to modern-day shopping sites such as Amazon, allowing you to keep "bookbags", lists of items you would like to check out, your favorite books, etc..
Not only is this new system allowing librarians to be more productive, it's also quite cost-efficient. A recent study conducted in 2002 shows that buying new systems would cost around 15 million dollars. They also calculate that maitenance fees lower with this new system, too. A commercial system would likely cost around $5 million to maintain; Evergreen is only $1.6 million.