Issue 18, 2012-10-03

Editorial Introduction – Share Your Ideas

The Code4Lib Journal’s mission is to foster community and share information. It is my hope that reading the articles in this issue will help you develop your own ideas and solutions. And that you will share your ideas with the community.

by Ron Peterson

This December (2012) will mark the fifth anniversary of the publication of the first issue of the Code4Lib Journal. I have had the honor and pleasure of being involved with the Journal from the very beginning. It has been very rewarding to see the Journal survive, grow, and flourish. I feel a little pride whenever I see an article from the Journal cited in another article, especially if I was the one who worked with the author of the article to get it published. Similarly, when I see an article from the Journal referenced on an email list in answer to someone else’s question, I know that the hard work that goes into publishing each issue of the Journal is well worth it.

The most satisfying part of seeing people reference an article from the Code4Lib Journal is that I can see that the articles are making a difference and helping someone. They are helping people build and develop their own ideas and solutions to the problems facing libraries. They are then sharing their own ideas and solutions with other people who will build on them further. So I hope that as you read the articles in this issue you think about how you can apply the ideas presented in these articles in your own library. And I hope that when you find a solution to a problem your library is facing, you share your ideas with your colleagues.

This issue of the Code4Lib Journal has many articles that will get you thinking about things you can do at your library. If your library uses Drupal to manage its web site, maybe Matt Weaver’s “LibALERTS: An author-level subscription system” will spark an idea for engaging your users through a service that updates your users about new books from their favorite authors. Or it may be that you are looking to leverage content from your Drupal-driven web site into a new mobile site, like Junior Tidal describes in “Using PHP to Parse eBook Resources from Drupal 6 to Populate a Mobile Web Page.”

If you are looking to go beyond creating a mobile web site and start thinking of ways to develop mobile applications, hearing about “Modular Mobile Application Design” from Jim Hahn and Nathaniel Ryckman may inspire you to help out with their Minrva application for Android or create a mobile application of your own. Jim and Nathaniel also discuss their rapid prototyping process they used to gather user feedback, an idea that is expanded upon by Shaun Ellis and Maureen Callahan in “Prototyping as a Process for Improved User Experience with Library and Archives Websites.” Shaun and Maureen share how they used a subset of Agile practices, such as measurable goals and iterative prototypes, to inform the design and improve the user experience of their web site.

In “Hacking 360 Link: A hybrid approach,” John Durno takes us through his experiences using JavaScript to integrate functionality developed by the library into the Serials Solutions 360Link interface. The article talks about the challenges of moving locally-developed functionality from a locally-hosted service to a vendor-hosted one. Another example of using JavaScript to extend a vendor product is presented by Steven Jay Bernstein in “Patron-Driven Expedited Cataloging Enhancement to WebPAC Pro”. Steven applies the model of Patron-Driven Acquisitions to the cataloging backlog to create a process where patrons can request items in the cataloging backlog from the libraries’ OPAC and trigger expedited cataloging of the item.

Libraries working with Shibboleth for authentication may find some ideas for improving their single sign-on solution in Alexander Jerabek and Minh-Quang Nguyen’s “A Hybrid Solution for Improving Single Sign-On to a Proxy Service with Squid and EZproxy through Shibboleth and ExLibris’ Aleph X-Server.” The hybrid solution developed by the authors was designed to support existing workflows while preparing for using Shibboleth for authenticating users. James R.W. MacDonald and Daniel Yule describe how the Jarrow software that they developed supports the workflows of users submitting electronic theses and dissertations in the article, “Jarrow, Electronic Thesis, and Dissertation Software.” Jarrow provides customizable workflows for libraries managing the process of submitting electronic thesis and dissertations.

It is my sincere hope that the articles in this issue of the Code4Lib Journal will inspire you to think of ways to solve problems facing your library and when you have solved those problems, that you come back to the Code4Lib and share your experiences. Libraries need your creative input. They need to hear from you.

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