Issue 8, 2009-11-23
On openness and the Code4Lib Journal.
Infomaki is an open source “lightweight” usability testing tool developed by the New York Public Library to evaluate new designs for the NYPL.org web site and uncover insights about our patrons. Designed from the ground up to be as respectful of the respondents’ time as possible, it presents respondents with a single question at a time from a pool of active questions. In just over seven months of use, it has fielded over 100,000 responses from over 10,000 respondents.
Mobile applications can support learning by making library resources more ubiquitous, by bringing new users to the library through increased accessibility to the resources libraries offer, and by creating a new way to enhance connections between patrons and libraries. This increased use of mobile phones provides an untapped resource for delivering library resources to patrons. The mobile Web is the next step for libraries in providing universal access to resources and information. This article will share Oregon State University (OSU) Libraries’ experience creating a mobile Web presence and will provide key design and development strategies for building mobile Web sites.
Cornell University Library has made Print-On Demand (POD) books available for many of its digitized out-of-copyright books. The printer must be supplied with metadata from the MARC bibliographic record in order to produce book covers. Although the names of authors are present in MARC records, they are given in an inverted order suitable for alphabetical filing rather than the natural order that is desirable for book covers. This article discusses a process for parsing and manipulating the MARC author strings to identify their various component parts and to create natural order strings. In particular, the article focuses on processing non-name information in author strings, such as titles that were commonly used in older works, e.g., baron or earl, and suffixes appended to names, e.g., “of Bolsena.” Relevant patterns are identified and a Python script is used to manipulate the author name strings.
Faced with the prospect of converting 200-page container lists to Encoded Archival Description (EAD), the author programmed a Microsoft Access® database using Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) to automatically insert the necessary EAD tags and their attributes. Some work is still required to ensure that the container list is properly formatted before importing into the database. Once formatted, the database, named Ead McTaggart, will convert a 7,000 line Microsoft Excel® container list, where each line represents a series, sub-series, or folder title, into a properly tagged EAD container list in about five minutes. As written, Ead McTaggart will handle up to six component levels, but can be modified to handle more. Although many institutions use Archivists’ Toolkit or Archon for this functionality, many libraries and archives who have not implemented those tools will find that EAD McTaggert minimizes the work of converting existing container lists to EAD finding aids with a low time investment for implementation.
A big challenge associated with getting an institutional repository off the ground is getting content into it. This article will look at how to use digitization services at the Internet Archive alongside software utilities that the author developed to automate the harvesting of scanned dissertations and associated Dublin Core XML files to create an ETD Portal using the DSpace platform. The end result is a metadata-rich, full-text collection of theses that can be constructed for little out of pocket cost.