Issue 14, 2011-07-25
Editorial Introduction: Prioritizing the Future, Collaborating in the Present, and Archiving the Past
This is an exciting time for libraries and technology, and libraries have the opportunity now to build strong collaborations that both preserves our rich history and prioritizes our future. This issue shines a light on a unique blending of priorities old and new, detailed analysis of our past, and creative solutions that enhance the mission of libraries. Libraries big and small have the chance to impact our communities for the better. Come along, it’s going to be a great ride.
A Novel Method for Creating a Distributed, Collaborative Commenting Environment for Bibliographic Items
This paper discusses a novel approach to adding user comments to existing platforms for bibliographic information, such as library catalogs. The application is built using simple and free services that support advanced functionality at a low price without requiring high-level technical skills. The strength of the approach described here is that it increases the number of comments available for display in any local catalog by consolidating comments from multiple sites and by clustering comments at the FRBR Work level. To do this, a central store of comments from multiple sites is created. In addition, the application uses ISBNs and OCLC’s Work IDs to consolidate comments from different publications (FRBR manifestations) for the same work.
Paul Smith’s College provides library hours and workstation availability using SMS Text Messages. The service was implemented using an easy and affordable web-based API for SMS sending and receiving, from twilio.com. A new class of ‘cloud-based‘ SMS vendors make simple SMS-based services efficient and cost-effective to implement, and have many possible applications in the library environment. A simple PHP example is provided which supplies workstation availability over SMS based on a database of computer availability from a previous Code4Lib Journal Article.
Diva.js is a multi-page browser-based document viewer designed to present high-resolution digitized document images as a continuous, scrollable item. This article examines the current state of the art in online document display technologies, and presents a list of functional requirements the authors used to guide the creation of this new online document viewer. The authors then discuss the image processing infrastructure necessary for deploying the Diva.js viewer, and present a brief discussion of how the viewer is currently deployed in their organization.
The Law Library Digitization Project of the Rutgers University School of Law in Camden, New Jersey, developed a Perl script to use the open-source module PerlMagick to automatically adjust the brightness levels of digitized images from scanned microfiche. This script can be adapted by novice Perl programmers to manipulate large numbers of text and image files using commands available in PerlMagick and ImageMagick.
Three recently published books by A Book Apart, the book-publishing arm of the website A List Apart, offer concise, high-impact introductions to three tools that can be employed in facing this challenge: HTML5, CSS3, and content strategy. This article reviews the books “HTML5 For Web Designers” by Jeremy Keith; “CSS3 for Web Designers” by Dan Cederholm; and “The Elements of Content Strategy” by Erin Kissane.
The forty-five-year-old MARC format, currently at version MARC21, is an obvious barrier to the provision of library services in a web-based environment. There is a growing consensus that the time has come for libraries to move to a new format. We cannot, however, decide on a new data format until we at least have an inventory of the data elements that are carried in our current one. Listing those data elements is not simple: over the years this record format has undergone constant change that has pushed the limits of the record structure and introduced inconsistencies in the way that data is coded. This article describes one person’s attempt to decode the content of MARC21.
The use of keyword-oriented next-generation catalogs in libraries has diminished the perceived value of the structured authority data that played a more crucial role in earlier OPACs. However, authority data can still be combined with modern discovery in useful ways. This article examines several ways in which the open source VuFind environment provides information to its users, showing how these mechanisms can be combined with authority data to enhance discovery. Topics covered include autosuggestion, context-sensitive recommendations, use of APIs, and means of harvesting and locally indexing authority data.
When looking for information about a particular place, it is often useful to check surrounding locations as well. FAST geographic subjects provide clean access points to this material, and a Google Maps mashup allows users to see surrounding locations that are also FAST subjects. Moreover, the Web Service to the underlying data is also open and available for use. The map interface allows for simple selection of a location, with links to enter it directly as a search into either WorldCat.org or Google Books.
When the Pennsylvania Academic Library Consortium, Inc. (PALCI) decided to upgrade its resource sharing software (EZ-Borrow) all of the participating libraries – among them Lehigh University – were responsible to have in place an implementation of the NCIP protocol to provide communication between the new EZ-Borrow software developed by Relias International and their respective ILS. This article presents the process of Lehigh choosing to adopt the eXtensible Catalog NCIP Toolkit, and the technical details about building a connector with the SirsiDynix Symphony ILS.
Web-Based Software Integration For Dissemination Of Archival Images: The Frontiers Of Science Website
The Frontiers of Science illustrated comic strip of ‘science fact’ ran from 1961 to 1982, syndicated worldwide through over 600 newspapers. The Rare Books and Special Collections Library at the University of Sydney, in association with Sydney eScholarship, digitized all 939 strips. We aimed to create a website that could disseminate these comic strips to scholars, enthusiasts and the general public. We wanted to enable users to search and browse through the images simply and effectively, with an intuitive and novel viewing platform.
Time and resource constraints dictated the use of (mostly open source) code modules wherever possible and the integration and customisation of a range of web-based applications, code snippets and technologies (DSpace, eXtensible Text Framework (XTF), OmniFormat, JQuery Tools, Thickbox and Zoomify), stylistically pulled together using CSS. This approach allowed for a rapid development cycle (6 weeks) to deliver the site on time as well as provide us with a framework for similar projects.