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)

MARCH 2017





ABOUT WIKI ACCESS: Many items here refer readers to wikis. Because there is proprietary information on the wikis, a password is required to view them. Access is available to staff at Florida’s public higher-education institutions. Please contact your local ILS Coordinator or the Help Desk, or (877) 506-2210 (toll free), to request login information. 



If you haven’t seen them already, Innovative Interfaces trainers and FALSC staff will be coming soon to a location near you. The rolling training roadshow kicked off Feb. 14 and is now well under way, with in-person classes on Sierra/Encore Duet scheduled at locations across the state through June. At the same time, all the work needed to complete the implementation continues behind the scenes.




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 to learn 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.

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. ILS Coordinators met on Feb. 23 and meet next on March 23. They 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.




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 details on the work.

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, which will be the face of Sierra for library staff at many institutions, functioning as the back-end of the system. To get a look now, visit the site and enter the word “preview” for both username and password. 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.



Ongoing Topics

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: There is also good news on getting an audit trail for record edits, as the functionality appears to be ready for release in June. 

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: 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.

Authentication was discussed at the MCLS meeting Feb. 14. “We’re committed to getting this done,” Scott McCausland of Innovative told the group. 






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, shown above, 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. 

Click here to access the Training Tracks wiki. If you need log-in information, please contact the Help Desk, or (877) 506-2210 (toll free).

Training on the new ILS will be accomplished through a variety of formats: documentation, eLearning modules, recorded webinars, and in-person classes. Prerequisites for the classroom sessions are to be completed online, with about four hours required for general introductory materials. Additional time may be needed for materials within areas of specialization.

OF SPECIAL NOTE:  The new Sierra Serials eLearning module has just been released by Innovative Interfaces. This four-hour interactive course covers the serials functions you’ll use to manage your serials subscriptions, including how to create and edit holdings records, check-in cards, and serials holdings statements. Access the Sierra Serials eLearning module at (credentials required).



UBorrow Under the New ILS

FALSC’s Wendy Ellis gave a presentation on how UBorrow will work under Sierra/Encore at the MCLS meeting on Feb. 14. She first defined then term, and then detailed procedures and rules.

UBorrow is defined as: Statewide request service for regular loan items, Sierra itype 0, with the following standard policy:

  • 45-day loan
  • One 30-day renewal
  • Two business days before the request transferred to the next supplier in the string
  • Requests will be randomly sent to locations to be filled based on geographical proximity.
  • At end of the request lifecycle, if the request cannot be filled at any location, the patron will receive a cancellation notice informing them that the request could not be filled.
    (In development: Notice will have OpenURL link out to ILLiad for SUS libraries with bib information embedded. Post-Go Live development for FCS libraries, if desired.)

Requesting in Encore with Sierra Backend:

  • All types of requests can start at the local catalog.
  • If the “Uborrowable” item is not available locally, the request will automatically go to other (FALSC-supported) participating locations.
  • For SUS libraries: If the Uborrowable item is held locally, it can be requested via UBorrow. No separate intra-campus request needed.

Loan rules, fines circulation policy, example:

  • FAMU patron pulls itype 0 item held at FAMU, from shelves or via Encore = FAMU loan rules and fines
  • FAMU patron requests itype 0 item from Encore, held at Valencia = UBorrow Loan Rules, FAMU fines, regardless of pickup location
  • FAMU patron walks into Valencia and pulls itype 0 item
    from shelves (Reciprocal Borrowing) = UBorrow Loan Rules, Valencia fines

Basic request workflow in Sierra:

  • Staff at owning location receive Title or Item paging list/slip to pull material from shelves.
  • Check-in to begin process: Staff can either Fulfill hold or Cancel the hold and supply reason for cancellation, e.g. Missing, Damaged, so that it can be moved on to the next supplier.
  • To Fulfill: scan in item barcode which puts item in-transit to Pickup location. In-transit slip will print, and status of item will be “in transit.”
  • At Pickup Location: Item is checked in to fulfill hold. The in-transit status is cleared and HoldShelf status is assigned. Pickup Notice to the patron is generated, and Print Slip can be printed to put with book on HoldShelf.




Branding can help establish and “sell” the new ILS – to library staff, students, faculty, and the decision-makers who determine funding for colleges and universities, libraries, FLVC, and FALSC. Ideally, a good brand would be a word or term memorable enough to be picked up and commonly used – our own “Galileo.” In a perfect world, students and faculty might even adopt the name as a verb – think “Google.”

With those considerations in mind, marketing and communications company BowStern has begun work on finding a name for the ILS. The branding would be available to colleges and universities, but its use is optional. Seven candidates were presented to the MCLS in Ocala:

  1. Juice
  2. Fetch It
  3. Beacon
  4. FIN (Find It Now or Florida Information Network)
  5. Flagship
  6. Swift
  7. Grove

The names were discussed, but no decision has been made, and work continues. Stay tuned!




There are several 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.


Acquisitions & Serials

Chair: Ernestine Holmes, FAMU 

The Acquisitions/Serials Working Group meets weekly, and continues to review acquisitions data as it is loaded into Sierra. As data is loaded, a spreadsheet is being created to show open orders for each institution for cleanup. The group also is working to set up Sierra Output Vouchers for transmission of financial data to the finance departments. Three institutions that use a similar product in Aleph will be set up first. An API that will replace the voucher application interface is being developed by Innovative. The WG has recommended against migrating new orders, discussed and approved acquisitions type values, and prepared a list of acquisitions codes. 


Cataloging & Authorities

Chair: Annie Glerum, FSU

The Cataloging/Authorities Working Group (CAWG) has liaisons to the Acquisitions/Serials, Training, and Discovery Configuration Working Groups; the Systems Working Group’s Batchloading Subgroup; and a liaison from the Circ/Resource Sharing Working Group. The Cataloging/Authorities Working Group continues to examine data in Sierra to find and suggest solutions for issues that might affect the migration. CAWG has formed subgroups to gather information on data loading practices throughout the consortia, develop data remediation instructions to facilitate the bibliographic record deduplication process, examine the functionalities of SkyRiver as an alternative bibliographic utility, and determine how to handle the migration of temporary location data. 


Circulation & Resource Sharing

Chair: LeEtta Schmidt, USF 

The Circulation/Resource Sharing Working Group is finalizing a document outlining the differing request scenarios in Sierra, their related loan policies and fines, and FAQs. The group also is reviewing course reserves and looking at a list of existing reports to identify continuing needs in the new system. In addition to training and weekly meetings, the Circulation/Resource Sharing Working Group had a joint meeting with the Discovery Interface Working Group to discuss replacing request links the Union catalog with a UBorrow button, the criteria for determining when the request/UBorrow button displays, and modifying the text of the link from the local catalog to the Union catalog. 


Discovery Configuration

Chair: Laura Gayle Green, FSU

The Discovery Configuration Working Group has been meeting in conjunction with the Discovery Interface Working Group and the E-Resource Management Working Group to make profiling recommendations for the Encore Discovery layer and the Sierra WebPac. The institutions represented by members on these three working groups have also been profiling their particular Encore suites, so options can be tested to assist the other FALSC institutions when they complete their Encore suite profiles. The profile options examined include community tags, patron page functions, custom JavaScript, and CSS for custom headers or banners. Forthcoming profile topics include matching the EBSCO EDS material types and icons with local icons, and facet text for optimal patron use. One of the challenges with profiling has been determining which options are system-wide and which apply only to a specific suite. Another challenge has been examining which functions will transfer or have a corollary from Mango to Encore, and which ones may need FALSC or library staff intervention. FALSC staff will be working with individual institutions as these issues are identified.


Discovery Interface

Chair: Alexis Carlson, IRSC

The Discovery Interface Working Group (DIWG) has recommended the following naming convention for each of the three available search tabs in Encore Duet: Library Catalog, Articles & More, and CatalogPlus. Innovative has asked that all the institutions have the same tab names at first, and they will change them before and after Go Live as desired. The DIWG has agreed that the standard icon set in Encore Duet is too detailed, and a member has found/created two-toned icons that are much simpler. The DIWG has also condensed some of the material types to simplify for users. In addition, some of the material types might use the same icon or no icon at all. We have heard from several representatives of other schools who wish to have control over using their own icon set. That possibility has been discussed, but local icon sets would be impractical given our shared bibliographic catalog – whose icon would display where? Going forward, the User Interface Standing Committee has been informed of items that will need follow-up after DIWG has finished its work.


E-Resource Management

Chair: Tina Buck, UCF

The ERM Working Group has trained on the Sierra ERM, the Innovative Interfaces knowledge base, related discovery tools, and areas of intersection with EBSCO functionality. We are working on data dictionaries for different types of e-resource data (including resource, license, and contact records), as well as defining options for fixed and variable-length field values for those record types. The group has also proposed suggestions for the in-person training agenda, in hopes that the session will provide users with the best understanding of functionality and workflows.


Joint Use

Chair: Janice Henderson, NFSC

The Joint Use Working Group has given the go-ahead for setting up a joint-use test scenario in Sierra and Encore using Daytona State College-Daytona and the University of Central Florida-Daytona. At this point in time, we expect that there will be clean-up activities related to items and bibliographic records based on the fact that some joint use partnerships have cataloged the same item twice and some have done it once. We are still reviewing the Backstage Library Works deduping that may make the impact minimal. The Working Group continues to look at patrons and circulation policies for joint-use facilities. Soon ILS Coordinators will be asked for information on the policies and procedures currently in place, as well as any memorandum of understanding (MOU) requirements that might affect item, staff, and patron policy at existing joint-use facilities. 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 has added two new members, Guy Cicinelli of FGCU and Angel Hernandez of MDC, to replace members who resigned. The group is currently reviewing the report inventory spreadsheet created by FALSC to determine which reports need to be re-created in Sierra and whether such reports should be available on day one after Go Live. The Systems Working Group also is working on a report and review file-naming-convention proposal, which was recently presented to the Implementation Team and is undergoing revision. The group has been asked to formulate retention policies and best practices for statistical and ad hoc reports, given the hard limit on the number of such files that can exist at a given time.



Chair: Sara Alegria, MDC 

The Training Working Group helped create a Training Tracks guide that is now 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. Work continues on a Glossary that presents new terms in Sierra. In addition, the WG has created a Training Tips document to provide recommendations for providing effective institutional level training. The tips may be used by trained staff in combination with the Quick Start Guides provided by Innovative when preparing to train other staff in Sierra. 



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. To learn more, please visit







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