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Unlocking Your ILS Data : Mobile access via handheld devices

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    • 1. Unlocking Your ILS Data Mobile access via handheld devices Michael Doran, Systems Librarian [email_address] LITA 2009 National Forum Salt Lake City, Utah October 3, 2009
    • 2. Where do we get our ILS data?
      • Our ILS data sits on a server, but to get at it we need an ILS client...
        • Acquisitions
        • Cataloging
        • Circulation
        • OPAC
        • Reports
        • etc.
      Integrated Library System SQL> DROP DATABASE xxxdb; Woo-hoo! Got SQL*Plus! This will fix things!
    • 3. ILS data – the gate keepers cataloging client circulation client acquisitions client OPAC mobile client “ data” 1
    • 4. Where do we go to get the ILS data? To a computer... ...on a desk ... and for non-OPAC data, (generally) in an office or behind a counter.
    • 5. Working in the trenches stacks
    • 6. You could carry your PC with you
    • 7. But wouldn’t it be nice... If we could access ILS data with a wireless-enabled hand-held device? Windows Mobile Palm iPhone and iPod Touch any smart phone WiFi or cellular data networks 1
    • 8. …not only for OPAC access… Innovative Interface’s “AirPAC” catalog
    • 9. … but also for staff Stacks maintenance would be so much easier if I could look up stuff on a handset.
    • 10. A vendor perspective John McCullough, “Redesigning Library Applications for PDAs: ILS Vendor Perspective.” Library Hi Tech , 21:4 (2003), p. 396. “ At this time Innovative is releasing a wireless OPAC interface and developing wireless solutions for staff applications” “ Offline circulation suggests itself […and…] Inventory of the physical collection is a second area of great interest in PDAs.” “Innovative Interfaces is currently developing a wireless Inventory product which will use a PDA to read barcodes using Bluetooth and populate an HTML form on a Web browser on the device. This form will then submit the barcodes over a wireless connection to the library database server and will return a response to the device indicating item status, whether the item is out of shelf order, and giving the option to dynamically, and from within the stacks, update the item record itself.” 1
    • 11. Vendor products for staff use
        • 2004 – originally released as Wireless Workstation
        • 2008 – rebranded as Circa
      Innovative Interface’s “wireless solution for inventory and circulation functions” SirsiDynix’s PocketCirc client “for circulation and inventory functions”
        • 2004 – Unicorn ILS version
        • 2009 – Horizon ILS version
      Note: dates are approximate 1
    • 12. Back to the future… 2003 2009 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 AirPAC Circa & PocketCirc Where’s my @#$% handheld app! 7
    • 13. Waiting for Godot the vendor How long must we wait for a handheld client for our ILS? … or one that does what we want? … or one that doesn’t cost us extra dough? 4
    • 14. Waiting for Godot
      • Vendors are smart and competent
        • Aware of the growing demand for mobile data access
        • Have an intimate knowledge of the ILS systems
        • Have crackerjack programmers
      • So what’s the hold up?
        • ILS product life cycle – saturation stage
        • No good pricing model for mobile clients
      • Vendor/ILS programming paradigm:
        • One client/app that does everything
      • Mobile device programming paradigm:
        • Many clients/apps that do one thing well
      the vendor
    • 15. Back to the future… 2003 2009 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 “…developing a wireless Inventory product which will use a PDA to read barcodes … and populate an HTML form on a Web browser … then submit the barcodes over a wireless connection to the library database server and will return a response to the device indicating item status…” Inventory, SQL, Perl, wireless network, PDA, …bingo! 1
    • 16. ShelfLister 1.0 – released in 2003
      • Generates a shelf list
        • shelf list - a file of bibliographic records arranged in the
        • same order as the corresponding materials on the shelves
      • Additionally, includes any or all of...
        • Item status
        • Historical charges
        • Historical browses
        • Enhanced call number information
      • And allows user to save item information for batch updating ILS
      Oooohh 1
    • 17. 2
    • 18. End barcode Start barcode Minimize data entry ShelfLister 1.0 4
    • 19. 2
    • 20. 2
    • 21. Use as input file for bulk updating ILS 2
    • 22. Paging Mr. Godot… All this time, we’ve been waiting for the vendor to provide us with (and charge us extra for) handheld apps. We could have been developing them ourselves . But wait … we still can! 3
    • 23. Rocket scientists This is not the Library Systems staff at the University of Texas at Arlington.
    • 24. UT Arlington Library Systems staff … before our first cup of coffee in the morning
    • 25. So, if we can do it, you can do it If I just knew what button to push!
    • 26. All it requires is an “open” ILS system They told me I didn’t need to know what was inside.
    • 27. All it requires is an “open” ILS system This presenter really knows how to flog a metaphor. All I see is an empty box… where are the donuts? Did I say “donuts”? I meant data.
    • 28. … and the “Four Knowings”
      • Know your ILS data
      • Know the available APIs
      • Know what you want to do
      • Know how to (web) program
      It’s really quite simple!
    • 29. 1) Know your ILS data
      • Relational database system
        • data dictionary – “a list of all the tables in the database and all the fields in the tables”
        • entity-relationship diagrams – “a graphical representation of database entities and their relationships to each other”
        • mental model of data
        • BLOBs and other problems
      The leg bone’s connected to the knee bone…
    • 30. ShelfLister – 1 st knowing Voyager ILS Oracle Database data “ Know your ILS data” It’s all up here, baby! 2
    • 31. 2) Know the available APIs
      • Web services (XML, SOAP, RESTful, y.y.)
        • Aleph : “X-Services”
        • Voyager : Web Services
        • Your ILS : ???
      • Library protocols
        • Z39.50 ISO/ANSI/NISO Information Retrieval Protocol
        • 3M SIP ( Standard Interchange Protocol ) 2.0
        • NCIP ( NISO Circulation Interchange Protocol )
        • DLF’s ILS Discovery Interfaces recommendation
      • Database connection
        • e.g. Oracle/MySQL/etc. listener
      Protocols… boor-ing! Application Programming Interface 1
    • 32. APIs – getting around the gate keepers cataloging client circulation client acquisitions client OPAC Z39.50 server “ data” NCIP server web services Oracle listener 4
    • 33. Which API should you use?
      • What data can it read
        • database connection – everything!
        • web services, library protocols – eh, not so much
      • What data can it write
        • database connection – (effectively) nothing
        • web services, library protocols – it depends
      • Mix and match
      • Response times/latency
      All I see are zeros and ones!
    • 34. ShelfLister – 2 nd knowing “ Know the available APIs” 2003 2009 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 Oracle listener Web services Voyager ILS Voyager ILS Oracle Database data listener 3
    • 35. 3) Know what you want to do
      • Public access
        • Mobile OPAC?
        • ????????
      • Staff access
        • Inventory tool?
        • ???????
      • Be ambitious
      • But not too ambitious (at least the first time)
    • 36. ShelfLister – 3 rd knowing Free the data! “ Know what you want to do” 2
    • 37. 4) Know how to (web) program
      • I.e. server-side, not client-side
        • Java
        • C/C++
        • Ruby
        • PHP
        • Perl
        • Lisp
        • bourne shell
        • whatever…
      You must code in Perl. It’s the Law. Just kidding! Use whatever you want! 1
    • 38. ShelfLister – 4 th knowing Voyager ILS Oracle Database data listener shelflister.cgi Perl DBI/DBD::Oracle SQL queries “ Know how to (web) program” form generation, data munging, and formatting output 3
    • 39. ShelfLister – 4 th knowing “ Know how to (web) program”
      • “ Most of the folks I know in app development are moving to standardization on web versus device specific development.”
            • Linda Woods, AT&T Education Advocate
            • Industry & Mobility Application Solutions
            • comment at 2009 Handheld Librarian Online Conference
      Web programming… heh, that’s not a real iPhone app! 1
    • 40. You can (and should) do this How hard could it be? If that imbecile Doran could do one… ...and maybe a case of Red Bull. Getting something to beta would only take me a couple weeks. 1
    • 41. The Tao of mobile web design
      • standards compliance
      • web usability design
      • minimal user (data) input
      • design and testing
        • cross-browser
        • cross-platform
      A mobile web app must be as simple as possible, but no simpler. A mobile web app should do one thing and do it well.
    • 42. Mobile design - browser compatibility Internet Explorer Firefox Chrome 2
    • 43. XHTML/HTML/CSS validation
      • XHTML/HTML
      • CSS
      • Accessibility
      Get right with these before you get to the platform compatibility. 3
    • 44. iPhone web apps (according to Apple)
      • Three types content:
        • compatible with Safari on iPhone
        • optimized for Safari on iPhone
        • iPhone web application
      • “ Most of the folks I know in app development are moving to standardization on web versus device specific development.”
            • Linda Woods, AT&T Education Advocate
            • Industry & Mobility Application Solutions
            • comment at 2009 Handheld Librarian Online Conference
      2
      • W3C standards compliant
      • no framesets or
      • unsupported technologies
    • 45. Mobile design – platform compatibility viewport 4
    • 46. Mobile design – platform compatibility 3
    • 47. Mobile design – platform compatibility Larger buttons for finger tapping 1
    • 48. Handheld emulators/simulators
      • Generally come with handheld OS SDKs
        • webOS (Palm)
          • http://developer.palm.com/
        • iPhone (Apple)
          • http://developer.apple.com/iphone/
        • Android (Google & Open Handset Alliance)
          • http://developer.android.com/
      • Web-based simulators (be leery)
        • Opera Mini Simulator – good
          • http://www.opera.com/mini/demo/
        • TestiPhone.com – absolutely worthless
      Software Development Kit Operating System
    • 49. Handheld emulators/simulators Palm iPhone Android Opera Mini 3
    • 50. Mobile design – platform compatibility 2
    • 51. Test it on the real thing (handset), too! Just need to… test… my app… one... more time. Borrow from colleagues Or, as a last resort…
    • 52. Don’t forget the documentation!
      • Mobile/handheld developer sites have useful information on how to “design for small”
      • Read it
      • Seriously. Read it.
      A viewport? Who knew? It’s a small world after all.
    • 53. Example docs and websites
      • iPhone
        • Principles and Guidelines for Creating Great iPhone Content
        • iPhone Human Interface Guidelines for Web Applications
        • Safari Web Content Guide for iPhone OS
      • Others
        • Opera Mini Developer resources
        • many, many, more…
      Reading? I just want to code!
    • 54. ShelfLister version 2.0 (for handhelds) End barcode Start barcode 3
    • 55. ShelfLister version 2.0 (for handhelds) 2
    • 56. ShelfLister version 2.0 (for handhelds) UTA hereby grants USER permission to use, copy, modify, and distribute this software and its documentation for any purpose and without fee […] 3
    • 57. Source code http://rocky.uta.edu/doran/ 2
    • 58. Open systems – ILSs Hello ILS vendor? I’d like to order an open system. What does that mean? It means I want database access. And web services. Yeah, and an NCIP server.
    • 59. Open systems – your mobile client Consider releasing your mobile app as free open source. It’s better than free beer! Ask permission first, though! 1
    • 60. Asking permission http://rocky.uta.edu/doran/ip/ 1
    • 61. Questions? His lips are moving… but I can’t hear a thing he’s saying . Doran

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