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code4lib 2006-02-17


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What Blog Applications Can Teach Us About Library Software Architecture

The number of programmers in the library world is growing and our individual efforts have shown great promise, but they exist largely as a spectacle that few libraries can enjoy. We need better means to aggregate our efforts and share solutions that can be employed by libraries without programming staff.

We must look outside libraries. The blog world is rich with non-programmers using (maintaining and configuring) blog applications like WordPress or Moveable Type (or others) while thousands of developers are adding functionality via plugins and themes. What lessons can we learn from this and how might an OPAC built from those lessons work?

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code4lib 2006-02-17

  1. 1. << >>^ What Blog Apps Can Teach Us About Library Software Architecture February 17, 2006 Casey Bisson online now at
  2. 2. << >>^
  3. 3. << >>^
  4. 4. << >>^ Horizontal = Good Vertical = Bad
  5. 5. << >>^ Good Climate + Critical Mass = Best Opportunity For Tech Progress
  6. 6. << >>^ Our Climate • Six languages: Perl, Python, PHP, Ryby, ColdFusion, and ASP • Four DBs: MySQL, PostGres, MSSQL, Oracle • Five(+)Vendors: Sirsi/Dynix, Endeavor, Ex Libris, III,Talis • 120 different environments
  7. 7. << >>^ Libraries The World
  8. 8. << >>^ Libraries The World “Standards”
  9. 9. << >>^ Consider... SRW/SRU OpenSearch Amazon API ? 365 public targets 140,000 registered developers example
  10. 10. << >>^ How Standards Develop In... Libraries The Blog World Constant pursuit of the “ideal” Codified by practice Enforced by standards bodies Enforced by the market
  11. 11. << >>^ Libraries The World Applications
  12. 12. << >>^
  13. 13. << >>^ Comment Systems • Security • User management • Administratrion/ management/moderation • Spam, spam, spam They’re easy, just a textarea, right? Well, there are some challenges...
  14. 14. << >>^ So... Is this the segue to WPopac?
  15. 15. << >>^ • Search for “Joe Monninger.” Note that the results include those for “Monninger, Joseph.”View record for A Barn In New England. Note comments and trackbacks. • Search for “sociology of education.” Demonstrate faceted searching, how “educational sociology” emerges as a top subject. Refine search and show how the search and search limits can be modified. • Search for “Harry Potter.” Note the Wikipedia content in the right column.View record for Sorcerer's Stone. Note “permalink” (a standard feature of WP) and “add to delicious” (a standard WP plugin) links in right column. Note the related items listed at bottom (also from a standard WP plugin), note how they include only Harry Potter titles.View Harry Potter crit title, note related items, note how they include only Harry Potter criticism titles. • Search for “ambiant fndability” (intentionally misspelled). Note how it suggests a search for the correct spelling, even though “findability” is not a dictionary word (yet). • Demonstrate the WPopac OpenSearch API in A9. Scripted Demo (this slide did not appear in the presentation)
  16. 16. << >>^ Why? • Large community of users and developers • Built-in features: comments, indexable content, permalinks, RSS • Rich, well documented plugin API • Well understood theme/skinning architecture
  17. 17. << >>^ Plea... • Pave the cowpaths • Good is better than best • Involve (benefit from) non-library developers • Embrace their standards
  18. 18. << >>^
  19. 19. << >>^ Questions?