Library hacks

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A presentation to the Public Library Web Managers Workshop 2004, Bath.

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Library hacks

  1. 1. UKOLN is supported by: Library hacks Andy Powell, UKOLN, University of Bath [email_address] Public Library Web Managers Workshop 2004, Bath www.bath.ac.uk a centre of expertise in digital information management www.ukoln.ac.uk
  2. 2. This talk isn’t about…
  3. 3. …and it’s not about
  4. 4. O’Reilly ‘hacks’ series “ O'Reilly's Hacks Series reclaims the term hacking for the good guys—innovators who explore and experiment, unearth shortcuts, create useful tools, and come up with fun things to try on their own.”
  5. 5. Library hacks <ul><li>encouraging public library Web sites as places to ‘hack’ and ‘be hacked’… </li></ul><ul><li>pulling other people’s sites and services into the library Web site </li></ul><ul><li>pushing the library Web site and services out into other people’s sites </li></ul><ul><li>interoperability </li></ul><ul><li>openness </li></ul><ul><li>standards </li></ul>hack our libraries hack public libraries now                                                                                                          
  6. 6. Contents <ul><li>searching… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Web services </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>… and the Google and Amazon APIs </li></ul></ul><ul><li>deep linking </li></ul><ul><ul><li>OpenURL </li></ul></ul><ul><li>a selection of case studies as we go </li></ul><ul><li>impact on public library Web sites </li></ul><ul><li>whistle-stop tour </li></ul><ul><li>technical – but not too technical I hope </li></ul>
  7. 7. Z39.50 and all that… <ul><li>libraries have a long tradition of creating and using ‘open’ standards </li></ul><ul><li>notably Z39.50 – search and retrieve </li></ul>end-user’s machine library catalogue search request results
  8. 8. Z39.50 and all that… <ul><li>libraries have a long tradition of setting and using ‘open’ standards </li></ul><ul><li>notably Z39.50 – search and retrieve </li></ul>library catalogue 2 library catalogue 1 library catalogue 3 end-user’s machine
  9. 9. Libraries at the cutting edge? <ul><li>Z39.50 offers a powerful distributed search mechanism </li></ul><ul><li>targets (catalogues) potentially open to use from outside the library </li></ul><ul><li>…not just through a Web browser but in a way that allowed people to write their own search software </li></ul><ul><li>academic libraries now see growing interest in ‘library portals’ that use Z39.50 (and other technologies) to cross-search many remote targets </li></ul>
  10. 10. if catalogue search fails… try a cross-search of multiple catalogues in the region
  11. 13. But… <ul><li>…the rest of the world didn’t implement Z39.50 </li></ul><ul><li>in fact, much of the library world still doesn’t support it </li></ul><ul><ul><li>too hard to develop software </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>too complex to configure target </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>focus of interest shifted to the ‘Web site’ </li></ul></ul><ul><li>meanwhile, on other part of the planet </li></ul><ul><ul><li>the Web world recognised that focussing on the Web browser wasn’t always enough </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>developed “Web services” </li></ul></ul>
  12. 14. What are Web services? “ Automated resources accessed via the Internet . Web services are software-powered resources or functional components whose capabilities can be accessed at an internet URI. Standards-based web services use XML to interact with each other…” “ The term Web services describes a standardized way of integrating Web-based applications using the XML, SOAP, WSDL and UDDI open standards over an Internet protocol backbone. XML is used to tag the data, SOAP is used to transfer the data, WSDL is used for describing the services available and UDDI is used for listing what services are available. Used primarily as a means for businesses to communicate with each other and with clients, Web services allow organizations to communicate data without intimate knowledge of each other's IT systems …”
  13. 15. Web services - summary <ul><li>machine (m2m) interfaces between functional components on the Web </li></ul><ul><li>underpin many e-commerce activities </li></ul><ul><li>a whole new set of acronyms – SOAP, WSDL, UDDI, WSRP </li></ul><ul><li>based on HTTP and XML (i.e. mainstream Web pedigree) </li></ul><ul><li>support both informational (e.g. search) and transactional (e.g. billing) types of service </li></ul><ul><li>Google and Amazon “Web APIs”… </li></ul>
  14. 16. Google and Amazon APIs <ul><li>Google and Amazon both make some of their functionality available thru APIs </li></ul><ul><li>API = Application Programming Interface </li></ul><ul><li>Web services using SOAP </li></ul><ul><li>to use them you must </li></ul><ul><ul><li>register </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>agree to their terms and conditions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>be prepared to program dynamic Web pages (using Java, ASP, Perl, etc.) </li></ul></ul>http://www.google.com/apis/ http://www.amazon.com/apis/
  15. 17. What do the APIs offer? <ul><li>Google </li></ul><ul><ul><li>perform searches and get back results (XML) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>get cached-copy of page </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>spell-check (“did you mean?”) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Amazon </li></ul><ul><ul><li>title searches (all products, not just books) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ISBN searches </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>author searches </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>transaction creation (shopping carts) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>transaction monitoring </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(note: book results include metadata with cover image) </li></ul></ul>
  16. 18. Example: RDN/Google spell
  17. 19. Libraries, Google & Amazon <ul><li>new cross-searching possibilities… </li></ul><ul><li>mixing SOAP (Web services) and Z39.50 </li></ul>end-user library catalogue Google Amazon SOAP SOAP Z39.50
  18. 20. Libraries, Google & Amazon <ul><li>new cross-searching possibilities… </li></ul><ul><li>or using ‘new’ SRW (Search and Retrieve Web service) protocol </li></ul>end-user library catalogue Google Amazon SOAP SOAP SRW (SOAP)
  19. 21. Embedded into library site? end-user library catalogue Google Amazon SOAP SOAP SOAP RDN SOAP
  20. 22. Linking and OpenURLs
  21. 23. OpenURL roots <ul><li>the context </li></ul><ul><ul><li>distributed information environment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>multiple A&I and other discovery services </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>rapidly growing e-journal collection </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>need to interlink available resources </li></ul></ul><ul><li>the problem </li></ul><ul><ul><li>links controlled by external info services </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>links not sensitive to user’s context (appropriate copy problem) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>links dependent on vendor agreements </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>links don’t cover complete collection </li></ul></ul>an academic library perspective?
  22. 24. The problem <ul><li>the context </li></ul><ul><ul><li>distributed information environment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>multiple A&I and other discovery services </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>rapidly growing e-journal collection </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>need to interlink available resources </li></ul></ul><ul><li>the REAL problem </li></ul><ul><ul><li>libraries have no say in linking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>libraries losing core part of ‘organising information’ task </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>expensive collection not used optimally </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>users not well served </li></ul></ul>an academic library perspective?
  23. 25. The solution… <ul><li>do NOT hardwire a link to a single service on the referenced item (e.g. a link from an A&I service to the corresponding full-text) </li></ul><ul><li>BUT rather </li></ul><ul><ul><li>provide a link that transports metadata about the referenced item </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>to another service that is better placed to provide service links </li></ul></ul>OpenURL OpenURL resolver (link server)
  24. 26. Non-OpenURL linking resolution of metadata into a link (typically a URL) A&I service document delivery service link to referenced work . reference link destination link source
  25. 27. OpenURL linking . user-specific resolution of metadata & identifiers into services reference provision of OpenURL transportation of metadata & identifiers context-sensitive A&I service document delivery service link source OpenURL OpenURL resolver link link destination link link destination link link destination link link destination
  26. 28. Example 1 <ul><li>journal article </li></ul><ul><li>from Web of Science to ingenta Journals </li></ul>
  27. 29. button indicating OpenURL ‘link’ is available
  28. 30. OpenURL resolver offering context-sensitive links, including link to ingenta
  29. 32. also links to other services such as Google search for related information
  30. 34. Example 2 <ul><li>book </li></ul><ul><li>from University of Bath OPAC to Amazon </li></ul>
  31. 35. button indicating OpenURL ‘link’ is available
  32. 36. OpenURL resolver offering context-sensitive links, including link to Amazon
  33. 38. also links to other services such as Google search for related information
  34. 40. Summary… ISI Web of Science University of Bath OPAC OpenURL resolver ingenta Google Amazon OpenURL Source OpenURL Resolver OpenURL Target deep links
  35. 41. Is this relevant to PLs? “ It's probably safe to predict that, within another year/acquisition cycle or so, *lack* of OpenURL support will be the exception for any academic library/consortium that licenses full-text resources (that is, OpenURL support will be the rule), and there will be growing penetration of OpenURL resolvers within public libraries that license full-text resources .” Walt Crawford, RLG
  36. 42. OpenURL & PLs A&I services University library catalogues OpenURL resolver Public library catalogues Google Amazon Document supply services
  37. 43. Case study 1 <ul><li>Stories from the Web </li></ul><ul><li>a children’s book-related Web site </li></ul><ul><li>deep linking to public library catalogue </li></ul>http://www.storiesfromtheweb.org/
  38. 44. note: SfW subscription by library authority so some knowledge about where to link to potential link to book in public library catalogue (or Amazon) link to more info potential link to author search in public library catalogue (or Amazon)
  39. 45. potential for pulling in metadata and cover art via Amazon API … and for making into link to Amazon or PL catalogue
  40. 46. Case study 2 <ul><li>a “book group” </li></ul><ul><li>deep linking into library catalogues from a book group Web page </li></ul>
  41. 47. link to Amazon … potential link to book in public library catalogue
  42. 48. Case study 3 <ul><li>LibraryLookup </li></ul><ul><li>deep linking into library catalogues using a browser ‘bookmarklet’ </li></ul>
  43. 49. http://weblog.infoworld.com/udell/stories/2002/12/11/librarylookup.html select link to find nearest library catalogue
  44. 50. drag this link to your browser toolbar
  45. 51. note that the ISBN is embedded into the URL click ‘ bookmarklet’ to link to library catalogue
  46. 54. Case study 4 <ul><li>blogs, books and libraries </li></ul><ul><li>deep linking into library catalogues from a book-related blog </li></ul>
  47. 55. many blogs contain references to favorite books or current reading material … typically with links thru to Amazon
  48. 56. the Bookwatch service analyses hundreds of blogs and counts links to particular books at Amazon, based on the ISBN … then provides ranked lists, pulling in ‘book’ metadata and cover art using the Amazon Web services
  49. 57. Deep linking into libraries <ul><li>all these case studies demonstrate a potential desire to deep link into the library catalogue </li></ul><ul><li>using http: URL links </li></ul><ul><li>typically based on the ISBN for a book (or the ISSN for a serial?) </li></ul><ul><li>but… all are faced with the same “link problem”… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>a hardwired link to one particular library or bookstore may not be the ‘best’ link for everyone who clicks on the URL </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>therefore, OpenURLs might be a good solution </li></ul></ul>
  50. 58. Does deep linking work?
  51. 59. Hmmm… not always http://www.foursite.somerset.gov.uk/cgi-bin/viewpoint_server.sh?enqtype=SECOND&enqpara1=RESULT&rcn=0002180472&media_code=1&sec_code=&authorlist=&filename=&page=&no_of_results=14&type=ISBN&sec_stng=&media_stng=&authorpage=&subsearch=&searchtype=&hitcount=
  52. 60. Conclusions <ul><li>having a successful Web presence is about more than having a successful Web site </li></ul><ul><li>need to embed your services into other people’s sites </li></ul><ul><li>the key technologies for doing this are: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Web services (SOAP) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>blogs and RSS (not talked about today) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>deep linking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>OpenURL </li></ul></ul>
  53. 61. Recommendations <ul><li>public library Web sites need to embed and be embedded </li></ul><ul><li>the space where books and catalogues meet blogs (and RSS) and ‘search engines’ appears to be very fertile – public libraries need to be in that space or users will go elsewhere </li></ul><ul><li>maintain a watching brief on OpenURLs and their potential impact </li></ul>
  54. 62. Questions?

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