Squeezing Juice into the OPAC

Those who went to either Richard Wallis’ API session or my OPAC session at the UKSG 2009 Conference will have heard about Richard‘s Open Source Juice Project.
The project, which was launched at Code4Lib 2009, is designed to allow developers to create OPAC extensions (or, if you prefer, “bells and whistles”) that, in theory, should be product independent. This is such a genius idea!
Part of the problem with the stuff we’ve developed at Huddersfield is that we had to put an infrastructure in place around the OPAC in order to allow us to do the tweaking — an extra web server, MySQL databases, etc. It works well for us, but it’s not an easily transferable model. I’m always more than happy to share the “how we did it” but, more often than not, the actual code is too reliant on that back end infrastructure.
I need to do a bit more testing, but I’m hoping to have a HIP 3 “metadef” ready soon. The job of the metadef is to define whereabouts on the OPAC page things like the ISBN, author and title appear, and therefore will be different for every OPAC product. However, once you have a suitable metadef for your OPAC, you can start using the Juice extensions to add extra functionality — I had a quick play around last night just to prove that Juice will work with HIP 3…
horizon_juice
I’m not sure if this is in Richard’s plans for Juice, but it would be handy to extend the metadef to include other OPAC specific information — e.g. given an ISBN or some keywords, how do you construct a URL to trigger a search on that OPAC. That’d be really useful for embedding recommendations, etc.

Yay for Talis!

Congratulations to both Talis and LibLime!

Talis, the UK market leader in providing academic and public library solutions, and LibLime, the leader in open solutions for libraries, are pleased to announce a partnership to make available over five million bibliographic records to the library community on the ‡biblios.net platform.
Talis and LibLime Open Data on ‡biblios.net

How cool is that?

Talis Podcast

I can’t remember if I was using my “posh telephone voice”, but Richard Wallis has just posted a podcast that was recorded yesterday afternoon with Patrick Murray-John.
It’s definitely worth fast-forwarding past my inane waffley bits to listen to Patrick’s comments, as he makes some great points. Using usage data for marketing purposes wasn’t something that had occurred to me, but it’s a fantastic idea!
Even though it was an informal chat, I kept feeling twinges of “job interview syndrome” — that horrible sensation you get when you’re busy talking and you realise you’ve forgotten what the actual question was :-S
For my sins, I’m going to be doing something about OPACs and usage data at the upcoming JISC Developer Happiness Days event along with Ken Chad.
p.s. Can I propose a drinking game for this podcast? The rules are you have to have a drink every time someone mentions Tony Hirst‘s name ;-D

Catching Up – CILIP Glasgow & Talis Insight 2007

Just quickly catching up and catching my breath!
My two presentations from the last 7 days are now available on slideshare — both were effectively the same:

There’s also a selection of photographs from both events on Flickr:

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Some of my favourite quotes from the various presentations at both events:

  • [about Librarians] “We don’t do cool… we do dull and worthy” (Brian Kelly, UKOLN)
  • [about liability] “There is a case to be made for putting a bag over your head and ignoring it” (Betty Willder, JISC Legal)
  • [about Facebook] “We’ve got to ban Facebook — it’s too popular!” (Brian Kelly, UKOLN)
  • “You’ve got to eat your own dog food sometimes” (Ken Chad)
  • “If you’re not, you should be sharing services” (Ken Chad)
  • “How many of you have looked at a printed encyclopaedia in the last month? [couple of hands are raised] How many of you have looked at Wikipedia in the last week? [lots of hands are raised]” (Peter Godwin)

…next stop — Waterford, Ireland!
[update] For some reason, Slideshare keeps deleting the Talis presentation. I’ve now uploaded it 4 times now, and each time it’s disappeared from the site an hour or so later 🙁
The Talis slides can be grabbed instead from here.

A deep breath before the plunge…

Over the last 15 months I’ve been giving occasional presentations & workshops about “2.0” and some of the things we’ve done with our OPAC, but the next five weeks are going to be hectic with 6 presentations:

  • 02/Nov/2007 – “Transformative Technologies: Web 2.0 in the library environment”, Glasgow (CILIP Scotland)
  • 06/Nov/2007 – “Insight 2007: Inspiration for Change”, Birmingham (Talis)
  • 08/Nov/2007 – “Off the Shelves: From the Quill to the Chip”, Waterford, Ireland (Library Association of Ireland)
  • 21/Nov/2007 – “Is library 2.0 a trivial pursuit?”, London (JIBS)
  • 23/Nov/2007 – CILIP Yorkshire & Humberside Members’ Day, York (CILIP)
  • 06/Nov/2007 – Online Information 2007, London

At most of the events, I’m going to be talking about the OPAC and the core content of the presentations will be the same.
I’m really looking forward to all of the events although, being someone who likes his creature comforts, it’s going to be a wrench to be away from Bryony and Joe for so much of the month.
If you’re planning to be at any of the events, be sure to say to “hello” — if I can hand out all of my moo cards, then I’ve got an excuse to order some new ones!
With all the travelling involved, I should have plenty of time to plan exactly how HIPpie will work and get some of the coding done. Speaking of which, many thanks to everyone who’s been in touch and expressed in interest — as soon as there’s something to test, I’ll let you all know!

What a day!

I’m finally back home, 15 hours after setting off at an unmentionable hour to travel down to the CILIP event in London today. I’m a creature of habit, and my habit is to wake up gradually at about 6:45am in the morning — getting up at 5am just doesn’t feel right 😀
I’m too knackered to write very much, but a big thank you to everyone involved for giving me the chance to show off some of our OPAC tweaks, and thanks to everyone who chatted to me or took one of my moo cards!
It was also great to finally meet Tim Hodson (Information Takes Over) in the flesh. Isn’t it weird meeting someone you’ve never seen before but whose blog you read on a regular basis? It might just be me, but UK library bloggers rarely seem to include a photograph of themselves. If I was to include a picture of myself, I’d choose this picture (which isn’t of me, but I like to pretend it might be because his name is “Davey” too)…

I thoroughly enjoyed all of the speakers today, but (am I allowed to pick a favourite?) I really really enjoyed Antony Brewerton‘s session — I can’t remember the last time I’ve laughed so much during a presentation!
I’ve uploaded the final version of my presentation to http://webcat.hud.ac.uk/cilip/ and there’s also a few photographs on Flickr (unfortunately I left my rucksack at the front of the room after my session, so I couldn’t take any photographs in the afternoon). If you’ve ever wanted to see what a sunrise over Huddersfield gasworks looks like, then you won’t be disappointed!!!
cilipmarch07_05

SirsiDynix Executive Roadshow, Birmingham, UK

Here’s a slightly delayed write up for the 2 day Executive Roadshow event at the Crowne Palza, Birmingham.
Normally I’d try and blog live but sadly the Crowne Plaza regarded internet access in the hotel rooms (which I’d already paid for) as being something entirely different to wireless access in the rest of the hotel (for which I’d need to pay separately).
Continue reading “SirsiDynix Executive Roadshow, Birmingham, UK”

Tree Trimming Tips

Many thanks to Talis’ Paul Miller for inviting me to take part in their latest Talking with Talis today.
Just before the recording session started this afternoon, workmen from the local council pulled up outside our house to do some tree trimming.  So, if you detect any odd noises in the background then it’s probably their 3 chainsaws and wood chipper rather than the Superpatron suffering a bout of chronic flatulence 😉

If you like pictures of trees getting mutilated, then there’s more here!
I’m not too sure that the local squirrel population will make of the trimming, as there used to be several overhead crossing points for them (where the branches of trees on opposite sides of the road mingled together).