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)


ABOUT WIKI ACCESS: Many items here refer readers to wikis. Since there is proprietary information on the wikis, a password is required to view content. For generic, view-only credentials, contact the Help Desk, or (877) 506-2210 (toll free). Access is open to staff at Florida's public colleges and universities.
The reloading of millions of records onto our Sierra Production server will wrap up Sept. 30, opening the way for extensive system testing with fresh data in October. Right now, work continues on the Test and Training servers, and system provider Innovative Interfaces is making progress on outstanding issues.
Leadership and Collaboration
Library and technology staff from the Florida Academic Library Services Cooperative (FALSC), the Florida Virtual Campus (FLVC), system vendor Innovative Interfaces, and the colleges and universities continue development and testing for the implementation, which is scheduled for Go Live in July 2018.
Here’s an update on key groups:
  • The eight ILS Working Groups, made up of staff from the universities and colleges and focused on various areas of the new system, meet regularly, posting updates on the ILS wiki. For summaries of their recent work, see “News from the Working Groups” below.
  • The Working Groups have eight corresponding Discussion Groups open to all college and university library staff who would like to help test and shape the new ILS. Learn more on’s Discussion Groups page, or go directly to the FLVC Discussion Lists to find a group and subscribe. Look for list names such as ILS-DISCOVERY-DISCUSSION.
  • The ILS Implementation Team meets every other week, most recently on Aug. 21. Due to Labor Day, the Team’s next meeting will be Sept. 18. 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 meet monthly with the implementation project co-leads, Ellen Bishop and Dave Whisenant. The Coordinators meet today, and then on Sept. 28. Find a list of Coordinators on
Check the Sierra / Encore Duet Implementation Wiki for details on each group’s activities, including meeting agendas, notes, and documentation.
Visit the Sierra/Encore Duet Wiki
Implementation and Migration
Data manipulation and workflow testing are underway on the Test and Training servers. We are currently using version 3.2 of the Sierra software and version 4.6.2 of the discovery tool, Encore Duet. A new version of the Sierra software, 3.3 Beta, will be installed on the Test server on Aug. 30.
The Production server is unavailable through Sept. 30 as it is reloaded with fresh data from the colleges and universities. Check service status and availability at any time on the project wiki.
For this reload, system provider Innovative Interfaces reports that it has found a way to mitigate an issue that crops up when loading exceptionally long bibliographic records. Bibs with thousands of items were creating multiple duplicate bib records. Innovative is now using a “match/attach” approach for loading, which appears to significantly reduce the creation of multiple bibs.
In October, testing by FALSC, FLVC, and the Working Groups will kick into high gear after the massive data reload on the Production server is complete. A detailed Testing Plan, with a checklist and workflow structure test scripts, will be emailed in mid-September to project participants. The testing program is expected to require a substantial time investment over several weeks, and we thank Working Group members for their participation and commitment to the process. October opens the final stretch for system testing before the new ILS undergoes an executive review and approval process in December.
All library staff are invited to pitch in! After Sept. 30, staff who have been trained on Sierra can access the Production server to review, test, and customize local loan policies, review records, and customize templates and other functions in the new system. To learn what others are finding and report what you see, please join one of the eight ILS Discussion Groups focused on various areas of the new system. A dedicated mechanism for reporting issues may be established later this fall.
Other recent activities
  • Ongoing creation of staff user accounts by FALSC, pending the return of user-information spreadsheets from the institutions
  • Continued discussions with Innovative and the libraries for Authentication setup
  • Patron data migration and ongoing patron loads meetings with Innovative
  • Continued discussions with Innovative on necessary requirements for OAI-PMH Harvesting
Ongoing Topics
FALSC, FLVC, and library staff have been working with Innovative to address a list of 21 system development issues by mid-December, when the implementation project will be assessed to determine readiness for Go Live in July 2018. As of now, most of those issues have been resolved.
Progress on issues still on the “open” list was discussed during an Aug. 15 meeting in Tallahassee with Innovative staff:
  • Authentication: Functionality will be in place for testing by October, when all 40 institutions should be able to log in and authenticate. We are supporting SSO integration (SAML, Shibboleth, and CAS), LDAP integration for three schools, and LWAUTH for many of the colleges. Setup has been completed for most institutions using SSO.
  • OAI-PMH Harvesting: We have specified nine requirements for harvesting, and Innovative is working through them. Development and testing also continue on a self-harvesting tool.
  • Sierra Web Application: Innovative has contracted with a third party to rework the Sierra Web Application, which performed poorly in FALSC testing earlier this year. We expect to get a revamped Sierra Web Application in November, and it will be available to libraries for performance testing statewide in December.
  • Paging in Sierra: Innovative has demonstrated an option that would allow institutions to turn local paging off or on. Expect to hear details on paging options later in September.
As a reminder, Sierra 3.3, to be installed Aug. 30 on the Test server, will address:
  • API Functionality
    Patron Authentication against u field
    Fines Output or Cash Transactions (batch mode)

  • Audit Trails for Record Edits (front-end functionality)
    Report available in Sierra

  • ERM and Knowledge Base
    Auto Updates from the Knowledge Base to Sierra
    SUSHI (Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative) and Counter Fix
For an issue-by-issue list with feature release dates, please download our updated Project Timeline Overview, which is current as of Aug. 24.
Get the Updated Project Timeline Overview
There are many paths for staying informed about the ILS project:
LOG IN TO THE WIKIS: Since there is proprietary information on the wikis, a password is required to view content. Users can log in with generic, view-only credentials. Please contact the Help Desk, or (877) 506-2210 (toll free), for assistance.
News from the Working Groups
Below is a brief update from each of the eight Working Groups. For more information, please visit the project wiki. For log-in information, see the note above.


Chair: Ernestine Holmes, FAMU
All our energies are placed in preparation for the October/November functionality testing. We are creating instruction scripts for general use in testing Acquisitions processes. A subgroup is creating record templates for any acquisitions record type that is shared across the 40 institutions. We will have an open group meeting on Aug. 29, 1-2 p.m., to review the profiles used to extract Acquisitions data from Aleph to load into Sierra. This explanation will help the libraries understand what FALSC needs in order to provide the best data for the final extract.


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 with the emphasis on preventing lost data and adverse impacts to user experience. Subgroups continue to work on various focused issues to insure a successful implementation. On August 1, 2017, nearly fifty people attended the Working Group’s first open session with the broader Cataloging/Authorities community. Open sessions will continue to be held on the first Tuesday of the month. The session on September 5th will present a checklist for pre-implementation catalog cleanup projects. The October session will present a checklist of workflow functionalities for the October testing of Sierra and Encore. These open sessions will be announced broadly to FALSC, CSUL, and LINCC technical services and cataloging listservs.

Circulation/Resource Sharing

Chair: LeEtta Schmidt, USF
The Circulation/Resource Sharing Working Group gave a webinar on UBorrow and hold functions in Sierra/Encore Duet on June 14. The recording of this webinar is available on the project wiki. In advance of this webinar, the committee created an FAQ on the wiki to address circulation, reserves and resource-sharing questions regarding the new system. The FAQ will be updated with questions received from the webinar and other communications with library staff.

Discovery Interface

Co-Chairs: Alexis Carlson, IRSC, and Laura Gayle Green, FSU
The Discovery Interface Working Group held an open meeting on July 20 featuring a presentation by Athena Hoeppner on EBSCOAdmin configuration. The group provided feedback to FALSC on usage of two legacy purl sites. One of them (, which is used by the universities, does not require any changes. The other (linking to linccweb), used by the colleges, will be retrofitted to provide links to Encore, Publication Finder, etc. The group continued to provide feedback on Google Analytics by recommending that the reports be as detailed as possible at first, for example, by identifying in the reports the name that displays on the customlinks in Encore. The names in Google Analytics will come from the normalized list on the Working Group’s wiki. The group discussed an issue brought to them by FALSC (by Polk State College) in which the Full Text Finder menu that displayed was that of another institution. FALSC discussed with the group the changes that EBSCO recommended be made to the Full Text Finder query string. FALSC will make the changes for those institutions that do not want to make the change themselves. The group has been working on normalizing wording for links and messages that appear in Encore Duet, and also provided feedback on several draft versions of the banner for the statewide Encore interface.

E-Resource Management

Chair: Tina Buck, UCF
The E-Resource Management (ERM) Working Group and our FALSC liaisons have finalized the data load information for all ERM record types for the final test load. We held a training session on completing the data load spreadsheets for all who were interested across all institutions. The ERM data is unique in that it is the only migration data which will not be pulled from ALEPH. All institutions who wanted to participate have submitted their data for the last test load. We examined the Sierra WebPac database A-Z pages and, unfortunately, found them to be very outdated and inflexible. We have ceased work on that function as we don’t think it’s viable. We are currently testing and learning about coverage load, a function which can bring in holdings data for libraries’ serials based on III or EBSCO knowledge base settings. This has implications for ERM, public and staff display of serials holdings, serials cataloging, and work in the knowledge bases, which in the case of EBSCO means the Full Text Finder link resolver.

Joint Use

Chair: Janice Henderson, NFSC
The Working Group continues work on a webinar about Joint Use Facilities that will be scheduled for late September. The target audience is FCS and SUS staff who want to learn more about Joint Use. The group is starting discussions about workflows for testing. Meanwhile, 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.


Chair: Nancy Kellett, FSU
The Systems Working Group has finalized Sierra user account policies and analyzed the list of reports needed for Day One after Go Live. Individual user accounts are now being created by FALSC, with 16 institutions complete as of this writing. The Day One Reports analysis showed that fewer than half a dozen would require custom programming, as the rest can be replicated in Sierra using the Create Lists function. The Working Group’s next activities will include meeting with III to discuss best practices for creating reports in a shared environment, and then planning and presenting webinars on this topic and how to create reports of various types (Create Lists, Statistics, and Web Management).


Chair: Sara Alegria, MDC
The Training Working Group is in the process of creating exercises that all staff may find useful for testing their individual Sierra User Accounts and as practice in preparation for Go Live. The group has also created a draft list of webinar topics for the coming year. In addition, the group has revised the Training Needs Survey for the coming year. The Survey will be sent to the ILS Coordinators by the beginning of September. We welcome your input. Please “drop” your questions, comments, and ideas in the Training Working Group’s Questions/Suggestions Box.
Open the Suggestions Box
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 is part of the Florida Virtual Campus (FLVC), which is administered by the University of West Florida's Division of Research and Strategic Innovation. To learn more, please visit Find FALSC and FLVC's offices in Tallahassee and Gainesville:
1753 W. Paul Dirac Drive, Tallahassee, FL 32310
5830 N.W. 39th Ave., Gainesville, FL 32606