Issue 44, 2019-05-06

Editorial: New Editors, Diversity, and Representation

Junior Tidal

Welcoming new editors, new surveys, and thinking about diversity at code4Lib Journal.

BC Digitized Collections: Towards a Microservices-based Solution to an Intractable Repository Problem

Chris Mayo, Adam Jazairi, Paige Walker, Luke Gaudreau

Our Digital Repository Services department faced a crisis point in late 2017. Our vendor discontinued support for our digital repository software, and an intensive, multi-department, six-month field survey had not turned up any potential replacements that fully met our needs. We began to experiment with a model that, rather than migrating to a new monolithic system, would more closely integrate multiple systems that we had already implemented—ArchivesSpace, Alma, Primo, and MetaArchive—and introduce only one new component, namely Mirador. We determined that this was the quickest way to meet our needs, and began a full migration in spring of 2018. The primary benefit of a microservices-based solution for our collections was the potential for customization; we therefore present our experiences in building and migrating to this system not as a blueprint but as a case study with lessons learned. Our hope is that in sharing our experience, we can help institutions in similar situations determine 1) whether a microservices-based solution is a feasible approach to their problem, 2) which services could and should be integrated and how, and 3) whether the trade-offs inherent in this architectural approach are worth the flexibility it offers.

Building a better book widget: Using Alma Analytics to automate new book discovery

Travis Clamon

Are we doing enough to market newly acquired book titles? Libraries purchase and subscribe to many new book titles each year, both print and electronic. However, we rely on the expectation that users will periodically search our systems to discover newly acquired titles. Static lists and displays have been traditional marketing methods for libraries, but require tedious time and effort to maintain. Without a practical solution for an academic library, East Tennessee State University developed an automated process to generate book widgets utilizing data from Alma Analytics. These widgets are now deployed in our subject guides, website, and on our digital displays. This article outlines the development and implementation of these widgets. We also discuss the challenges we encountered, such as finding image covers and custom subject tagging.

Managing Discovery Problems with User Experience in Mind

Emery Shriver

Williams Libraries recently developed a system for users to report problems they included while using the library catalog/discovery layer (Primo). Building on a method created by the Orbis Cascade Alliance, we built a Google form that allows users to report problems connecting to full text (or any other issue) and automatically includes the permalink in their response. We soon realized that we could improve the user experience by automatically forwarding these reports into our Ask a Librarian email service (LibAnswers) so we could offer alternative solutions while we worked on fixing the initial issue. The article will include an explanation of the process, reactions from public service staff, methods for managing the problems once submitted, and code shared on GitHub for those interested in implementing the tool at their own library.

Responsive vs. Native Mobile Search: A Comparative Study of Transaction Logs

Jim Hahn

The Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (or CARLI) is comprised of 130 libraries, a majority of which participate in the union catalog I-Share for resource sharing. The consortium implemented VuFind 4, a responsive web interface, as their shared union catalog in December 2017. This study compared search transaction logs from a native mobile app that serves the consortium with search transactions in the responsive mobile browser. Library professionals in the consortium sought to understand the nature of mobile search features by evaluating the relative popularity of mobile devices used, search terms, and search facets within the two mobile search options. The significance of this research is that it provides comparative data on mobile search features to the library UX community.

Large-Scale Date Normalization in ArchivesSpace with Python, MySQL, and Timetwister

Alicia Detelich

Normalization of legacy date metadata can be challenging, as standards and local practices for formulating dates have varied widely over time. With the advent of archival management systems such as ArchivesSpace, structured, machine-actionable date metadata is becoming increasingly important for search and discovery of archival materials. This article describes a recent effort by a group of Yale University archivists to add ISO 8601-compliant dates to nearly 1 million unstructured date records in ArchivesSpace, using a combination of Python, MySQL, and Timetwister, a Ruby gem developed at the New York Public Library (NYPL).

Visualizing Fedora-managed TEI and MEI documents within Islandora

Raffaele Viglianti, Marcus Emmanuel Barnes, Natkeeran Ledchumykanthan, Kirsta Stapelfeldt

The Early Modern Songscapes (EMS) project [1] represents a development partnership between the University of Toronto Scarborough’s Digital Scholarship Unit (DSU), the University of Maryland, and the University of South Carolina. Developers, librarians and faculty from both institutions have collaborated on an intermedia online platform designed to support the scholarly investigation of early modern English song. The first iteration of the platform, launched at the Early modern Songscapes Conference, held February 8-9, 2019 at the University of Toronto’s Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, serves Fedora-held Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) and Music Encoding Initiative (MEI) documents through a JavaScript viewer capable of being embedded within the Islandora digital asset management framework. The viewer presents versions of a song’s musical notation and textual underlay followed by the entire song text.

This article reviews the status of this technology, and the process of developing an XML framework for TEI and MEI editions that would serve the requirements of all stakeholder technologies. Beyond the applicability of this technology in other digital scholarship contexts, the approach may serve others seeking methods for integrating technologies into Islandora or working across institutional development environments.

Creating a Low-cost, DIY Multimedia Studio in the Library

Bryan Elias Hull and Brandon Patterson

This case study will explain steps in creating a multimedia studio inside a health sciences library with existing software and a minimal budget. From ideation to creation to assessment, the process will be outlined in development phases and include examples of documentation, user feedback, lessons learned, and future considerations. We’ll explore multimedia software like One Button Studio, GameCapture, Kaltura, Adobe Creative Cloud, Garage Band, and others and compare their effectiveness when working on audio and visual projects in the library.

ISSN 1940-5758