Brian Kelly – Man of the Year!

Just a quick post to add my congratulations to Brian Kelly for picking up the “IWR Information Professional of the Year” award at Online Information 2007!
Unfortunately I didn’t get chance to snap a photo of Brian with said award, but I did grab this one of Richard Wallis (from Talis) pretending that it was his…
The celebrations went on to an ungodly hour at both Maggie Jones’s
online_006 online_012
…and the “Prince of Wales” pub…
…and the hotel corridor looked a little like this at 1am in the morning…

Online Information 2007 – Day One

Shhhhhh – I’m trying to type very quietly, whilst sat at the back of the room whilst a presentation is going on 😉
I finally managed to get myself onto the free wi-fi at Online Information 2007, so just a quick blog post in case I lose the connection!
If anyone at the conference wants to chat, there’s always Gabbly.
I’ve also got a lovely new box of Moo cards, which I hope to give out.
By the way, if anyone wants to recommend a decent non-expensive restaurant somewhere near Kensington or Bayswater, then please do!

Spellchecker + Network Effect = Better Spellchecker?

I’ve been having a few email discussions relating to whether or not it’s best to use a standard dictionary of words for an OPAC spellchecker or an index created from the actual holdings of that library…
Standard dictionary
pros: correct spelling
cons: suggestion might not find any results, might not contain buzz/new words
Custom dictionary
pros: suggestions should find results
cons: will contain mis-spellings (e.g. “mangement”), needs regular updates, might be difficult to extract the words from ILS/LMS/OPAC
I’m beginning to think that the best of both worlds might be to start with a standard dictionary and then let your users/patrons build upon that. In other words, whenever someone carries out a successful keyword search on the OPAC, automatically add the keyword(s) they used to your dictionary so that they can appear as spelling suggestions in the future.
Any comments?

HIPpie “Did you mean?” ready for testing

I’ve just finished plugging the first bit of HIPpie into our test OPAC:
I’m gonna be out of the office for most of next week (3 days in London at Online Information 2007), but I’ll start contacting those of you who said you’d like to be involved with the testing. The test code just requires you to paste a short block of JavaScript into one of the HIP stylesheets (searchinput.xsl).
At present, the version I’ve plugged into our test OPAC uses a generic US word list, but the idea is to allow libraries to either upload their own word lists or choose from country specific ones.
Although the code needs to be able to create links that contain the HIP profile string and the session ID, neither of these are actually passed back to the server at Huddersfield (just in case session privacy is an issue).