Issue 5, 2008-12-15

Editorial Introduction – Issue 5

Emily Lynema

Welcome to the 5th issue of the Code4Lib Journal. We’ve come a long way in just over a year! We hope you take a few minutes to celebrate those accomplishments with us as you explore issue 5 and read about the innovations, ideas, and experiences shared there. Let’s learn from each other.

‡biblios: An Open Source Cataloging Editor

Chris Catalfo

‡biblios is an open source cataloging editor designed to allow libraries to perform copy and original cataloging in a web based environment. ‡biblios allows users to search for, edit, and save bibliographic records in the MARC21/MARCXML formats. It also allows users to send records directly to integrated library systems such as the Koha ILS. Where most MARC editors are part of an integrated library system (and therefore require logging in), ‡biblios allows users to catalog with an open source standalone system available anywhere via a web browser. Unlike other cataloging editors, it offers an attractive user interface for searching, saving and editing cataloging records. This article describes the system architecture and design of ‡biblios.

User-Centred Design and Agile Development: Rebuilding the Swedish National Union Catalogue

Henrik Lindström and Martin Malmsten

With a new generation of OPACs emerging that attempt to address longstanding shortcomings, how do we make sure that we do not lose ground again in the future? This article suggests a combination of iterative development and user-centred design as a way to develop systems that will meet the constantly changing expectations of users by providing both functionality and usability. It gives a short introduction to iterative software development and user-centred design. A case study of the development of the new version of LIBRIS (, the Swedish National Union Catalogue, is used as an example of how these methodologies can benefit from each other in practice.

Reaching Users Through Facebook: A Guide to Implementing Facebook Athenaeum

Wayne Graham

Facebook Athenaeum is an open source application that integrates library resources directly into the Facebook website. Facebook is one of the single most-visited websites in the world, and its popularity among college-aged students provides a unique opportunity for libraries to redefine how they interact with students. This article walks you through the deployment of Facebook Athenaeum, and discusses some of the usage trends and pitfalls of deploying applications using the Facebook API.

Affinity Strings: Enterprise Data for Resource Recommendations

Cody Hanson, Shane Nackerud, and Kristi Jensen

The University of Minnesota Libraries have created a MyLibrary portal, with databases and e-journals targeted to users, based on their affiliations. The University’s enterprise authentication system provides an “affinity string”, now used to personalize the MyLibrary portal. This affinity string automates discovery of a user’s relationship to the University–describing a user’s academic department and degree program or position at the University. Affinity strings also provide the Libraries with an anonymized view of resource usage, allowing data collection that respects users’ privacy and lays the groundwork for automated recommendation of relevant resources based on the practices and habits of their peers.

Identifying FRBR Work-Level Data in MARC Bibliographic Records for Manifestations of Moving Images

Kelley McGrath and Lynne Bisko

The library metadata community is dealing with the challenge of implementing the conceptual model, Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR). In response, the Online Audiovisual Catalogers (OLAC) created a task force to study the issues related to creating and using FRBR-based work-level records for moving images. This article presents one part of the task force’s work: it looks at the feasibility of creating provisional FRBR work-level records for moving images by extracting data from existing manifestation-level bibliographic records. Using a sample of 941 MARC records, a subgroup of the task force conducted a pilot project to look at five characteristics of moving image works. Here they discuss their methodology; analysis; selected results for two elements, original date (year) and director name; and conclude with some suggested changes to MARC coding and current cataloging policy.

Rasmuson Library DVD Browser: Fun with Screen Scraping and Drupal

Ilana Kingsley and Mark Morlino

The DVD Browser is a simple application that lets library patrons browse movie covers, titles, and reviews. It works by screen scraping the the Rasmuson Library catalog for DVD movies and dumps the data into a Drupal MySQL database. This paper describes the process of setting up the DVD Browser.

Reviving Digital Projects

Dianne Dietrich, Jennifer Doty, Jen Green and Nicole Scholtz

What do you do when you are in charge of assessing and reviving an abandoned digital project you had no part in creating or implementing? This article will talk about the unique challenges and issues involved in such a project, drawing from a specific example at the University of Michigan Library. We contended with unfamiliar software, limited technical documentation, proprietary file formats and platform migration, and will discuss how we approached each of these specific technical issues. After reviving our project and reflecting on our process, we put together a list of guidelines that we feel will help assist others who may find themselves in similar situations.

Generating Metadata on a Shoestring sans Programmer, with Our Good Friend, Excel (or Any Spreadsheet)

Jill Strass

How to use Excel to generate metadata for any encoded filename or identifier for any digital object whose attributes can be expressed in an abbreviated form.

SPECIAL REPORT: Creating Conference Video

Noel F. Peden

Capturing video at a conference is easy. Doing it so the product is useful is another matter. Many subtle problems come into play so that video and audio obtained can be used to create a final product. This article discusses what the author learned in the two years of shooting and editing video for Code4Lib conference.

COLUMN: We Love Open Source Software. No, You Can’t Have Our Code

Dale Askey

Librarians are among the strongest proponents of open source software. Paradoxically, libraries are also among the least likely to actively contribute their code to open source projects. This article identifies and discusses six main reasons this dichotomy exists and offers ways to get around them.

ISSN 1940-5758