Issue 18, 2012-10-03

Editorial Introduction – Share Your Ideas

Ron Peterson

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.

Prototyping as a Process for Improved User Experience with Library and Archives Websites

Shaun Ellis and Maureen Callahan

Prototypes can be persuasive tools for proposing changes within an organization through “imagine if” scenarios. They not only show how to enhance the online experience, but can provide a way to improve the overall organizational environment as well. In redesigning the Princeton University Finding Aids site (, we used a flexible subset of Agile practices based around measurable goals, iterative prototypes, meetings with institutional stakeholders, and “discount usability testing” to deliver an innovative and much-improved user experience. This article discusses how integrating relatively untested, but promising new ideas for online finding aids required us to adopt a development process that would allow us to better understand the goals of both general and staff users and in turn foster an environment for innovation that thrives on collaboration, iteration, and managed risk.

Hacking 360 Link: A hybrid approach

John Durno

When the University of Victoria Libraries switched from a locally-hosted link resolver (SFX) to a vendor-hosted link resolver (360Link), new strategies were required to effectively integrate the vendor-hosted link resolver with the Libraries’ other systems and services. Custom javascript is used to add links to the 360Link page; these links then point at local PHP code running on UVic servers, which can then redirect to appropriate local service or display a form directly. An open source PHP OpenURL parser class is announced. Consideration is given to the importance of maintaining open protocols and standards in the transition to vendor-hosted services.

Jarrow, Electronic Thesis, and Dissertation Software

James MacDonald and Daniel Yule

Collecting and disseminating theses and dissertations electronically is not a new concept. Tools and platforms have emerged to handle various components of the submission and distribution process. However, there is not a tool that handles the entirety of the process from the moment the student begins work on their thesis to the dissemination of the final thesis. The authors have created such a tool which they have called Jarrow. After reviewing available open-source software for theses submission and open-source institutional repository software this paper discusses why and how Jarrow was created and how it works. Jarrow can be downloaded and the project followed at

A Hybrid Solution for Improving Single Sign-On to a Proxy Service with Squid and EZproxy through Shibboleth and ExLibris’ Aleph X-Server

Alexander Jerabek and Minh-Quang Nguyen

This paper describes an implementation of a hybrid solution for improving the library’s proxy service by integrating Shibboleth and ExLibris’ Aleph’s X-server using a proxy server running both EZproxy and Squid applications.

We will describe in detail the hybrid solution of a proxy service within the context of our institution and explain how this service improves the user experience. We will explain how we developed and implemented this solution with a minimum of development cost and describe some of the preliminary empirical research undertaken.

The main benefit of this solution is that instead of relying on e-resource vendors to become Shibboleth-compliant, we are able to prepare and deploy a Shibboleth-ready environment while granting our patrons reliable and stable access to e-resources via different types of connections. As of December 2011, the hybrid solution is running in production.

Modular Mobile Application Design

Jim Hahn and Nathaniel Ryckman

This article describes the development of the Minrva library app for Android phones. The decisions to build a native application with Java and use a modular design are discussed. The application includes five modules: catalog search, in-building navigation, a barcode scanning feature, and up to date notifications of circulating technology availability. A sixth module, Amazon recommendations, that is not included in the version of the app that was released is also discussed. The article also reports on the findings of two rounds of usability testing and the plans for future development of the app.

Patron-Driven Expedited Cataloging Enhancement to WebPAC Pro

Steven Jay Bernstein

This article outlines the development of an integrated patron-driven expedited cataloging feature in the catalog of the Connecticut State University Library System (CONSULS). The proposed enhancement to the library’s Innovative Millennium ILS provides users with a direct method for obtaining newly-arrived library materials and allows the Cataloging & Metadata Services Departments at the four Connecticut State University campuses a way to better identify priority materials in their queues. While the project was developed with a single ILS in mind, the idea behind it can easily be implemented on most any other integrated library system. Two versions of the enhancement are covered: one for standalone libraries and one for libraries that share a union catalog. The source-codes for both versions of the enhancement are provided, as are instructions for implementing the enhancement on any Millennium installation.

Using PHP to Parse eBook Resources from Drupal 6 to Populate a Mobile Web Page

Junior Tidal

The Ursula C. Schwerin library needed to create a page for its mobile website devoted to subscribed eBooks. These resources, however, were only available through the main desktop website. These resources were organized using the Drupal 6 content management system with contributed and core modules. It was necessary to create a solution to retrieve the eBook databases from the Drupal installation to a separate mobile site.

LibALERTS: An author-level subscription system

Matt Weaver

Patron requests for the ability to subscribe to their favorite authors so they could receive notifications when new titles are released, presented an opportunity for Westlake Porter Public Library to learn, to build, and to engage with patrons on the development of a new service. The library’s libALERTS service, which launched in June 2012, was the culmination of a process that involved the development of a Drupal-based website augmented with a hand-coded preprocess interface that addressed critical concerns for the effectiveness of the service.