Sierra/Encore Duet Implementation Update

With thanks to all for their efforts, here’s an overview of recent progress toward the implementation of our next-generation integrated library system (ILS)





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As was announced March 31, we have delayed the implementation of the new ILS for a year to allow vendor Innovative Interfaces time to develop a fully functional system that addresses the needs of our consortium. The system is now scheduled to “Go Live” in July 2018, but don’t be fooled by the longer timeline. Work needs to proceed full speed ahead. The project requires continued effort and input from everyone involved, and we sincerely appreciate your investment of energy and time into helping shape the new ILS. Hang in there!



>> In-person training and webinars will continue as scheduled, and it’s important that those who are registered for classes attend.

>> A revised project timeline will be released in late May.

>> We will continue to keep stakeholders informed as the project moves forward, sharing information through multiple outlets.



Leadership and Collaboration

It seems appropriate to take a moment to note that the collaborative process driving the implementation has worked exactly as it should to ensure that this project produces a fully functional system for our member libraries. The agreement to delay Go Live came after many meetings and consultations among the extensive list of committees involved in the ILS project. Those meetings, in turn, followed on extensive communication with Innovative and between the Working Groups, FALSC, and FLVC IT.

Even though the date for completion of the project has been extended, all active groups will continue to meet regularly.

Beyond the library staff undergoing training on the new system, participants during this phase of the project include library and technology professionals from the Florida Academic Library Services Cooperative (FALSC), the Division of Information Technology of the Florida Virtual Campus (FLVC IT), public colleges and universities, and vendor Innovative Interfaces Inc., the software company providing the Sierra/Encore Duet integrated library system.

Here’s an update on key groups:

  • The nine ILS Working Groups, made up of staff from the universities and colleges and focused on various areas of the new system, meet regularly and post minutes to corresponding Listservs. For summaries of their recent work, see “News from the Working Groups” below.
  • The ILS Implementation Team meets every other Monday, and is meeting today. The Implementation Team is made up of the Working Group chairs, multiple liaisons from FALSC, two project leads, and two representatives from the Members Council on Library Services.
  • The ILS Coordinators representing each of the 40 colleges and universities are meeting monthly with the implementation project co-leads, Ellen Bishop and Dave Whisenant. The Coordinators met on March 23 and meet next on April 27. ILS Coordinators are responsible for putting together local implementation teams at their institutions. Find a list of Coordinators on

Check the Sierra/Encore Duet Implementation Wiki for details on each group’s activities, including meeting notes, agendas, and documentation.

Visit the project wiki



Beyond our ongoing regular meetings, a dozen FALSC and FLVC staffers attended the Innovative Users Group 2017 Conference, April 2-5 in National Harbor, Md., to network with fellow Innovative Interfaces customers and learn more about working with Sierra and Encore Duet. 

Coming up: FALSC will be at the Florida Library Association (FLA) Annual Conference, May 10-12 in Orlando, and the new ILS will be one topic covered during our FALSC Forum. We hope to see many of our colleagues at the forum, scheduled for 4:15 p.m. Thursday, May 11, in Curacao Nos. 3 and 4. FALSC also will be in the Exhibit Hall at Booth No. 218. Innovative will be in Booth No. 204.



Implementation and Migration

FALSC and FLVC IT staff are working with Innovative Interfaces to develop a new project timeline, which will be released in late May. This high-level timeline will cover: the development issues that will be addressed in each Sierra release; the scheduling of a refresh of the database and subsequent testing; and the timing of a revised Go Live schedule.

Meanwhile, work proceeds as planned, with FALSC and FLVC IT staff and the Working Groups addressing Sierra and Encore system configuration, data review, authentication, development issues, electronic resource management (ERM) development, acquisitions migration, a Curriculum Builder pilot, patron loads, duplicate patron IDs, joint use, and application program interfaces (APIs). Below are some details on the work in progress.

SERVER STATUS AND DATA LOADING: Innovative has completed the setup and is currently loading data for our new Test server for Sierra. The new Encore instance for the Test server also has been set up and is operational. FALSC now has two complete server environments with both Encore and Sierra for Production and Test, and a Training server for Sierra. Check server status at any time on the project wiki

ENCORE DUET: Institutions continue to customize the look and feel of their local interface as well as settings in the EDS mega-index. For institutions trying to choose between Encore Duet and EBSCO EDS, a recent webinar offered the opportunity to compare the two discovery tools. “Encore Duet and EBSCO EDS Interface Comparison” was offered on April 11 and April 12. Visit the project wiki’s main page for a session recording.

SIERRA WEB: The Sierra Web client, intended to function as the back-end of the system for library staff at many institutions, continues to experience slow response times despite efforts to correct the problem. Innovative is recommending that everyone use the Sierra Desktop Application (SDA) Java client instead of Sierra Web. Instructions for downloading the SDA client can be found on the wiki here. If anyone has problems downloading the client, please contact the Help Desk. The training sites have been asked to install the SDA client in all training workstations.  

GO LIVE STEPS: It should be noted that the Go Live Steps document, which was released in February by Innovative and was referenced in the last Update, is no longer valid. Please scrap any copies you have. A fresh version will be released well in advance of the new Go Live date, July 2018. 



Ongoing Topics

We’ve heard sighs of relief from several quarters involved in the implementation since the postponement was announced, as the extra time allows more opportunity to develop and test solutions for ongoing issues. Topics to be addressed include:

  • Managing multiple time zones
  • Authentication
  • APIs
  • PDA/DDA solution
  • OAI-PMH harvesting data format limitations and availability of the self-harvesting tool
  • Mobile Encore sites for full suites
  • Mapping problem affecting Encore display of material type and statuses
  • SIP2 encryption
  • ERM full functionality with the Open Knowledgebase
  • Full Encore Duet/EDS API from EBSCO
  • Browse Searching in Encore
  • Sierra Web application
  • Paging in Sierra
  • Local field display in Encore
  • Timeout page in Encore
  • Audit trail for record edits
  • Support for multiple roles for patrons
  • Log tracking of all activities
  • Restricting access to course reserve materials

Expect a progress report on the status of each topic as details are available.

TECHNOLOGY: FALSC and FLVC began individual meetings with each institution’s IT staff on SSO functionality and authentication in January, and those meetings were completed in early March. The FALSC and FLVC development team is exploring options for patron authentication and for access to electronic resources. Where available, our goal is for students and faculty to use each institution’s native Single Sign-On/Identity Provider (SSO/IdP) solution. We have received responses from all 40 colleges and universities about each institution’s current authentication functionality, and testing has begun at several institutions. Within the next month, our authentication team will be contacting the remaining institutions to begin testing authentication integration with Sierra.

As part of the Sierra project, a new process for uploading student and personnel patron files was implemented in February. About half of the institutions already have migrated to the new process, and we’d like to migrate the remaining institutions by June 1. If your institution needs assistance with the new process, please contact the Help Desk




The in-person training and webinar schedule will continue as planned, and it’s important that staffers who are registered for in-person training attend. Classroom sessions provide the foundation for supplemental training activities.   

The delay in implementation allows library staff greater opportunity to review data, test and customize local loan policies, and customize templates. Library staff who have completed their training should now focus on reviewing their records and loan polices in Sierra and sending feedback to with any issues they find. They can also begin customizing templates and other functions within Sierra. 

Webinars will be offered throughout the coming year to increase knowledge on specific aspects of the system. Please take a look at the webinar schedule online and follow the instructions to register for the sessions relevant to you. Note that many of these webinars, such as customizing your notices and spine labels, require in-person training to be completed beforehand.

Go to the webinar schedule



All webinars will be recorded and made available to all library staff. Check the Training Tracks wiki for recorded webinars and new documentation.

In addition, FALSC plans to begin the configuration of individual staff user accounts soon. Library staff will need to be comfortable navigating Sierra in order to test their functions and permissions and make sure they can perform their daily work.

A year may seem like a long time, but it will fly by!

If you are scheduled for in-person training: Please note there are online prerequisites for anyone attending the sessions. The Training Tracks wiki offers step-by-step details on how to prepare for classroom training, and organizes the materials into topic categories. Links to relevant sites are included.

Go to Training Tracks






After much discussion, we have a name for the new ILS! It will be called OAK, Online Access to Knowledge. Expect to hear and see more soon – an OAK logo is under development. As a reminder: The decision on whether or not to use FALSC’s branding for the system is up to each college and university. We will provide the name, but institutions are not required to use it. 




There are many paths for staying informed about the ILS project, including this newsletter and:




News from the Working Groups

Below is a brief update from each of the nine Working Groups. For more information, please visit the project wiki. For log-in information, please contact the Help Desk.



Chair: Ernestine Holmes, FAMU 

Two members of the Acquisitions/Serials Working Group and one university staffer from outside the group will help test the Sierra Gobi API. All parties will have a conference call with Yankee Book Peddler to iron out the details. The Working Group has learned that only the Sierra half of the API costs are covered in the Innovative Interfaces contract. The YBP (third-party vendor) side costs are not included. We are putting together a survey for the schools to get a sense of the YBP products currently in use. This information may be helpful in negotiating better terms, either as an organization or school. We also plan to send a survey to determine which schools are interested in setting up multiple accounting units. The group continues to review data and test workflows. We will be adding receiving and billing locations data to the order records in the near future. We are also looking at order records in Aleph and comparing those to the ones in Sierra to determine if anything is missing in Sierra.



Chair: Annie Glerum, FSU

The Cataloging/Authorities Working Group (CAWG) continues to examine data in Sierra to find and suggest solutions for issues that might affect the migration. CAWG has examined the functionalities of SkyRiver as an alternative bibliographic utility, gathered information on data-loading practices throughout the consortium to assist with developing load templates, and written instructions on how individual institutions can handle the migration of temporary location data. The Data Remediation Subgroup is in the process of standardizing data to facilitate the bibliographic record deduplication process, and one of its members has developed an Aleph-OCLC comparison program to limit the review set for identifying local data in general notes fields to a manageable number of records. Other issues include archiving information found in Aleph TKR fields and how to handle the migration of suppressed Aleph holdings records with or without attached item records.


Circulation/Resource Sharing

Chair: LeEtta Schmidt, USF 

The Circulation/Resource Sharing Working Group is finishing a document explaining the process for UBorrow and other requesting scenarios.  They are also finalizing documents to communicate the need to stop UBorrow in advance of the Go Live date to library staff, and are working on the language for a banner in Mango to communicate the UBorrow stop to patrons. The Working group is continuing ongoing testing of course reserves.


Discovery Configuration

Chair: Laura Gayle Green, FSU

FLVC programmers are writing JavaScript recommended by the Discovery Configuration Working Group. The JavaScript that generates a permalink which appears on the record detail page is finished and in place in all Encore suites. The Working Group discussed the Encore logout/timeout issue and recommended that FALSC create a new landing page that all suites can default to instead of defaulting to the statewide suite upon a logout/timeout. The new page is in place and is being tested for a  variety of scenarios. FALSC worked with EBSCO and Innovative to incorporate articles in the statewide interface. The articles are from the same Gale databases as are in the current statewide Mango interface and are those available to all residents in Florida through the Florida Electronic Library. Testing is underway to determine if this is a feasible configuration (e.g., if patrons can log in, etc.). The Working Group approved the custom headers created by FLVC as headers that can be used by any library desiring to use them. Five institutions have the FLVC headers. Institutions need to let FLVC know if they want the header or if they want to write their own. The Working Group has been working with FALSC to identify digital collections to harvest into Encore. Collections for FIU and FAU have been harvested, and Innovative is working on harvesting UF’s collection. The Working Group is providing feedback to FALSC and Innovative.


Discovery Interface

Chair: Alexis Carlson, IRSC

The Discovery Interface Working Group (DIWG) reviewed the list of reports needed for Encore and recommended replicating the existing statistics to the extent possible using Google Analytics, the tool Innovative recommends using with Encore. The Working Group recommended that the Request icons in the statewide interface be relabeled to read UBorrow. Until a brand for the system has been developed, the link above the search results that was labeled FALSC Full Catalog and the link in the footer labeled Encore Home have been relabeled Search Statewide. It is anticipated that these links will be relabeled to match the new brand. The Working Group determined that the facet labeled EBSCO EDS too ambiguous for users and recommended that the facet be relabeled to match what each institution has named their articles search tab (e.g., Articles & More, Articles, etc.). They also recommended that the limits and expanders on the Advanced Search page that are similarly labeled EBSCO EDS be changed to match the articles search tab label at each institution. The Working Group recommended removing the limiter on the Advanced Search page under the EBSCO EDS section labeled “Available in Library Collection” because this limiter isn’t relevant to Encore.


E-Resource Management

Chair: Tina Buck, UCF

The ERM Working Group has been working on recommendations for fixed and variable length field definitions for resource, contact, and license records in the ERM.  The recommendations have also been published to the ERM discussion list for feedback, which was then reviewed.  The group also has been reviewing the data loads and making recommendations on the display inside the ERM records. The group is currently working on training and support documents to help schools prepare for resource data export and loading into the new system, and a webinar for a broader audience to provide clarity and understanding of e-resource management in the new environment.


Joint Use

Chair: Janice Henderson, NFSC

The Joint Use Working Group has surveyed the ILS Coordinators about the joint-use arrangements in which their libraries participate. Information requested includes the participants in the joint-use arrangements, library privileges for the host and partner patrons and other services provided.  The information will be used to configure Sierra/Encore to support the joint-use facilities and patrons.  As an initial test, Sierra has been configured for the joint-use facility in Daytona between Daytona State College-Daytona and University of Central Florida-Daytona.  Anyone involved with college or university joint-use facilities or with an interest in them should join the Joint Use Discussion Group list (ILS-JOINT-USE-DISCUSSION) and visit the Joint Use wiki to review the information for local accuracy.



Chair: Nancy Kellett, FSU 

The Systems Working Group continues working on the Best Practices for Naming of files and on the Report Inventory spreadsheet.  



Chair: Sara Alegria, MDC 

The Training Working Group helped create a Training Tracks guide that is available to library staff as an easy-to-use wiki. Training Tracks offers step-by-step details on how to prepare for classroom training, and organizes the materials into topic categories. The Training Tracks wiki is continuously updated with webinar recordings and new documentation, so be sure to check back regularly. The group also is working on practice exercises and other methods to keep the training fresh and keep library staff engaged and continuously learning during the time period between the in-person training and Go Live.



ABOUT FALSC: The Florida Academic Library Services Cooperative provides services and information to the libraries of the state's 40 public colleges and universities. FALSC has offices in Tallahassee and Gainesville, and is part of the Florida Virtual Campus (FLVC), which is administered by the University of West Florida's Innovation Institute. FALSC is headquartered at 1753 W. Paul Dirac Drive, Tallahassee, FL 32310. 






Questions? Contact the FLVC Help Desk, or (877) 506-2210 (toll free).