View the latest news and status updates about the implementation process, along with a summary, milestones, and key implementation features.
FALSC and Florida’s public postsecondary libraries are in the early stages of a transition to a next-generation integrated library system. This multi-year effort marks the largest transition to an integrated academic library catalog/discovery system in Florida’s history.
Implementation Status Update: March 2017
A NOTE ON WIKI ACCESS: Many items in this update refer readers to wikis for more information. Since there is proprietary information on the wikis, a generic password is required to view content. Access is available to staff at Florida’s public higher-education institutions. Please contact your local ILS Coordinator or the Help Desk, email@example.com or (877) 506-2210 (toll free), to request login information.
Leadership and Collaboration
All key groups involved in the implementation are meeting regularly to move the project forward.
Beyond all the library staff putting in time and effort on learning the new system, participants during this phase of our 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.
Innovative Interfaces continues to collaborate very closely with us to ensure the implementation’s success.
Innovative staffers Scott McCausland and Martha Gettys attended the Members Council on Library Services (MCLS) meeting in Ocala on Feb. 14 to hear members’ thoughts and offer insights on the implementation process.
On Feb. 16, Innovative CEO Jim Tallman and COO Roger Leitner met in Tallahassee with Michael Dieckmann, Chief IT Strategist of UWF’s Innovation Institute; FALSC Executive Director Elijah Scott; and implementation project co-leads Ellen Bishop and Dave Whisenant. The group had a productive discussion on technical issues.
Currently, FALSC and FLVC are setting up a virtual meeting in April for MCLS members to discuss the project’s progress. The meeting likely will be the week of April 10. Specifics will be announced as soon as they are available.
Meanwhile, here’s an update on three key groups active in the implementation now:
- 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 brief summaries of their recent work, see “News From the Working Groups” below.
- The ILS Implementation Team meets every other week, and meets next on March 6. 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 Feb. 23 and meet next on March 23. ILS Coordinators are responsible for putting together local implementation teams at their institutions. Find a list of Coordinators on this website.
Visit the Sierra / Encore Duet Implementation Wiki for details on each group’s activities, including meeting agendas, notes, and documentation.
Implementation and Migration
FALSC and FLVC IT staff and the Working Groups are tackling Sierra and Encore system configuration, data review, authentication, development issues, EBSCO profiles, electronic resource management (ERM), 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.
Go Live Steps: This document recently released by Innovative outlines the steps for final migration from Aleph to Sierra this summer and tentatively specifies important dates. It has been shared with the ILS Working Groups and ILS Coordinators, and is available for download on the project wiki. Library staff are advised to read through the document so that they are aware of dates relevant to their work.
Server status: FALSC now has three servers environments hosted by Innovative Interfaces. There is a Production, Training and a new Test environment that is being built this week. FALSC has also requested a new Encore instance for the Test server.
Data loading: In March, Innovative will use our new Test Sierra server to reload all data. This will be a “dress rehearsal” for the final load in the summer. The Go Live Steps document, detailed above, outlines Innovative’s procedures on how and when final data loads will happen.
Encore Duet: Institutions continue to design and tweak the look and feel of their local interface as well as settings in the EDS mega-index. For institutions trying to choose between the two discovery tools, EBSCO presented two webinars in January on the pros and cons of Encore Duet vs. EDS. Recordings are available on the project wiki. Plans are in the works for EBSCO and Innovative to collaborate on a new webinar that will offer a more comprehensive comparison of the two tools. Expect to hear more about that soon.
Sierra Web: All libraries were recently introduced to the site at https://ils.falsc.org/sierraweb, which will be the face of Sierra for library staff at many institutions, functioning as the back-end of the system. Compared to a desktop client, “this will be, in the future, a lot easier for your staff to manage,” ILS project co-lead Dave Whisenant told MCLS members on Feb. 14. We should note that there have been reports of slow response times on Sierra Web during training sessions. Innovative is addressing the issue, and a fix should be in place in early March.
Curriculum Builder: Our ILS installation is to provide each of the colleges and universities with the opportunity to use Curriculum Builder, a tool that allows instructors to access and add content from the libraries to course reading lists. Beta testing on the tool will be conducted for four institutions this spring: Florida Gulf Coast University, Tallahassee Community College, St. Petersburg College, and Indian River State College. Other institutions will be configured around the time of Go Live in July.
As is to be expected with a project of this scope and complexity, issues arise. FALSC and FLVC IT staff, the Working Groups, and Innovative Interfaces are working toward solutions for pending matters. During the Feb. 14 MCLS meeting, Ellen Bishop presented the list of the topics and issues that are currently being discussed and worked on with Innovative.
Also at the MCLS meeting, Innovative’s Scott McCausland offered a “hats off” to all of us, praising the libraries and FALSC for putting in place three ingredients crucial to this project’s success:
- Carefully planned organization
- Thorough data cleanup
- Extensive training.
Here are some topics of interest at this stage of the implementation:
Time Zones: The MCLS got good news Feb. 14 when Innovative announced that support for multiple time zones, as versus only Eastern, will be available in the new system by late spring. Previously, that functionality was not promised until September 2017, after the scheduled July Go Live. Given that six of our 40 institutions operate in the Central time zone, this is a welcome development that should help Go Live go more smoothly.
Audit trail for record edits: There is also good news on this front, as the functionality appears to be ready for release in June 2017.
Data harvesting: FALSC is dissatisfied with the data format limitations for OAI-PMH harvesting. Currently only unqualified Dublin Core is supported. In addition, once a collection is loaded into Encore, there is no way to scope the records to a particular Encore suite. Innovative will investigate the issues.
Mobile Encore sites for individual suites: The current setup for Encore does not include a mobile interface for each of the local instances, or suites. It only displays the union view. Innovative will address this issue by June.
Technology: FALSC and FLVC began individual meetings with each institution’s IT staff on SSO functionality and authentication in January, and those meetings should be 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 institutions to the message posted to the IT-Contacts list asking for information on each institution’s current authentication functionality. Testing will begin the week of Feb. 27 on our new Test server with CAS and LPAD libraries.
As part of the Sierra implementation, there is a new process for uploading student and personnel patron files that must be tested by each institution. An email went out to ILS IT Contacts on Feb. 2 asking that they contact the Help Desk by March 3 for login information that will allow them access to test the process. At this time, more than a third of institutions have responded to the request.
In-person training on the new ILS began Feb. 14 with classes in three cities and continues through mid-June, with more than 150 in-person training sessions at 31 sites throughout the state. FALSC staff plan to be at each location.
For details on the sessions scheduled at each site, please see the Training Calendar and Topics spreadsheet on Google. The ILS Coordinators at each of the 40 colleges and universities have been sent their institutions’ site schedules.
FALSC staff and local ILS Coordinators have handled individual registrations for the in-person sessions. Each attendee receives a registration confirmation by email from FALSC, as well as directions and parking information from the local ILS Coordinator.
At the sessions, each attendee will receive a USB flash drive loaded with topic training agendas, Quick Start Guides, additional files, and links to more information.
There are online prerequisites for anyone attending the in-person classes. Our Training Tracks guide offers step-by-step details on how to prepare for classroom training, and organizes the materials into topic categories. Previously available as a document, Training Tracks is now formatted as an easy-to-use and easily updated wiki. Links to relevant sites are included.
Find the Training Tracks wiki here:
In addition to this website, FALSC offers several ways for stakeholders to keep apprised of progress on the ILS project:
- The Sierra/Encore Duet Implementation Newsletter, which is sent via Listservs to all library staff and is accessible from the "ILS Newsletters" box at the left of this page.
- The Sierra/Encore Duet Implementation Wiki, where users can find agendas, minutes, recordings, and contact information for members of the Working Groups, Implementation Team, ILS Coordinators, and IT Contacts. The wiki also offers information on Working Group training sessions and links to training recordings. (Please see "A Note on Wiki Access" at top for access information.)
- The “Staying Informed” handout outlining communication and documentation resources.
July - August:
- Sierra and Encore servers set up
- Initial profiling complete
- Merged records loaded/indexed on the server
September - December:
- Functionality training for Working Groups and FALSC staff
- Data clean-up by Backstage Library Works (BSLW)
- Iterative review of data and parameters
- Data from BSLW reloaded to test server
February - July:
- Training for public college and university library staff statewide
- Begin final full data load
- Begin system acceptance testing
- Complete gap loads
- "Go Live"