Aspen Discovery Implementation Process

This week we wanted to dedicate our Aspen Weekly to our partners who are in the implementation process or for our future partners who will begin implementations soon!

We know that this process can seem very intimidating and overwhelming but we have tried very hard to make the implementation process smooth, easy to follow, and as painless as possible!

Aspen Discovery Goals

I really enjoy bringing back all aspects of the implementation process to the main goals of Aspen Discovery. Those are:

Admin Trainings

In order to accomplish setting up your site and having all of your resources integrated, eContent connected, and your discovery layer ready for your go live date we like to have meetings that we call ‘Admin Trainings’.

These meetings are entirely for you and your team to really get comfortable with the back end of Aspen Discovery. On these meetings, you will meet with your Aspen implementer so they can step you through all of the modules Aspen Discovery includes.

We will go over the configuration and can make decisions together on how you want to set up Aspen to make it work best for your patrons. We will also review all of the customization options you have, which sometimes will lead to some homework outside of the training.

We like to make sure to talk about all of the modules Aspen has so you are aware of what Aspen is capable of, so even if you aren’t going to be using the Web Builder functionality, for example, at go live you can always circle back and start using those features later!

Due to the amount of customization capabilities and features Aspen has we recommend expecting about 8 hours to meet with your implementor to cover these topics. The meeting schedule is up to you and depends on how quickly you plan on implementing Aspen Discovery. Those can be weekly hour sessions, multiple meetings in a week, or longer sessions.

Feel free to ask your implementor about your options and we will work with you to set up a schedule that works best for you, your team, and your library!


Aspen Discovery has many customization options, which is one of the amazing things about our product. All of those customization capabilities are super easy to use, which you will learn all about on your admin trainings.

The most important customization that will require some homework outside of training meetings are browse categories, collection spotlights, placards, themes, and customizing your facets. You may want to do further customization on some of the settings outside of these meetings but your implementor will give you action items to work on, a pre go live checklist, and a testing plan to help ensure we hit all of the necessary points before go live!

Koha and Aspen Implementations

If you are migrating to Koha with ByWater Solutions and Aspen Discovery with ByWater Solutions at the same time, we will work with you and your Koha team to ensure the process is smooth and painless. We are in constant communication with the Koha team to make certain that your project is going well for both products and so we are aware of any unique workflows or tasks your library has. We are very comfortable getting you live on both products simultaneously!

Staff Training

Following your admin trainings a member of the Aspen Discovery team will lead a staff training. The purpose of this training is to show off all of the hard work you and your team has put into Aspen Discovery and to show off the amazing patron experience in Aspen.

We recommend that we have this training following the completion of admin training and some level of customization to the site. We like to make sure we are showing your staff the Aspen Discovery layer that they will be using after go live. Customization does not need to be finalized at this point, however.

During this training we really focus on the patron experience, such as searching and going through the patron account. We also will review all of the integrations we have setup, for example eContent integration, Wikipedia integration, Open Archives or Genealogy searches, and so much more!

We want to make sure that your staff are comfortable using Aspen Discovery and how patrons will also be using your new discovery layer.


The testing phase may be the most important phase of your Aspen Discovery implementation. During this phase we want to make sure that all of your eContent integrations are functioning as expected, that your holds are working properly, and that overall the experience for your patrons is exactly what you want them to be. Your implementor will provide you with a testing plan to make sure you know all the boxes to check!

Soft Launch

If you are not going through an ILS migration at the time of your Aspen implementation you have the option to do a soft launch. We have many partners that have seen success with a soft launch as it allows your staff, board, and power users the time to get used to their new discovery layer and to potentially have some feedback that will be useful before your true go live. One of our partners who recently went live but did a soft launch prior utilized the custom forms feature of the Web Builder module to allow the public to submit their thoughts about the new catalog.


Ultimately the timeline is up to you and your team and how much time you can dedicate to getting your Aspen Discovery layer up and running. We recommend 7-8 hours of admin trainings to go through the configuration and options. At that point we would schedule your staff training which is typically a 1.5 hour session. We would also want to move into a testing phase at this point. While you are testing you can continue to meet with your implementor to discuss questions or issues you are having. Testing is super important so I wouldn’t recommend skipping over that step in the process. If you are migrating to Koha at the same time, this timeline will depend heavily on the migration timeline for Koha.

Go Live

Go live day is a breeze from an Aspen perspective - you just get to roll it out to your patrons! The whole time you are working with the Aspen team to get your site ready for go live- so you have a polished product to release to your patrons. The only tasks would be switching your DNS to Aspen if you chose to use a URL for Aspen that is already in use elsewhere and to promote your new shiny catalog to patrons!


Your implementation is just the beginning of your relationship with Aspen Discovery! One of the most unique (and amazing) things about Aspen is that it is more than a product or service- it is an entire community driven by librarians.

Professional Development

We have a number of ongoing training opportunities, such as our weekly magazine, Aspen Weekly. We have Aspen Lunch and Learns around releases, to keep partners informed on updates. We also have Aspen Discovery Workshops, which are on more in-depth Aspen topics.

Connecting Via Slack

A great way to connect with other Aspen libraries is using the Aspen-Discovery Slack Workspace, a chat space devoted to development, documentation, and general Aspen-related discussion. This is a place to reach out to other libraries to see what functions they are currently using, what issues they might be having, and to get to know others who use Aspen Discovery.. ByWater Solutions staff are also available to answer questions, brainstorm, and troubleshoot with you.

Aspen Gathering

Aspen Gathering is a monthly virtual community meeting to discuss Aspen features, upcoming releases, and how libraries are leveraging Aspen. It is open to everyone using or just interested in Aspen. As we’ve already seen at the Aspen Gatherings, partners drive development of Aspen in various ways.

Contributing to the Manual using GitHub

For those of you who are comfortable with using Aspen and feel like you would like to give back to the community, you are welcome to add to the documentation of Aspen! Check out the Aspen Discovery GitHub and edit, add, or create documentation on the various functions and tools available to users. You can check out this video which will give you a quick and basic overview of adding to the manual page by using GitHub.

If you have specific questions about what an implementation would look like for your library, please reach out to us!