Getting the word out

Karen Schneider gave the opening address at the Code4lib conference (you can get a copy of the presentation or read about it here, here or here). Part of her talk discussed restoring the balance of power between libraries and vendors, urging libraries take back control of their content and tools. This sort of set the tone for the conference which was an expose on of exciting new developments in library/information software. Libraries are getting creative, those who can’t replace their “geezy” old ILS systems are creatively remixing the data, creating mashups, and adding new features to old data.

Additionally Karen discussed the problem of developers marketing these new open source tools. She made some great points but I’d like to add to that list: getting the word out. In my library, most of this is falling below the radar (I’m guessing many libraries share this problem) in part because we don’t have a developer or web master on staff. I’m planning on doing a “report-back session” here at UVM but until then I’m posting a short list of things to check out here for those who might be interested, you may also find me proselytizing in the hallways…

The List:

  • Solr [] – A customizable, open source, full-text search server that is easy to implement, and enables: hit highlighting, faceted searching, caching of results, and much more. I’m in the process of implementing this to work with our eXist database, I’ll be using it for full text searching and probably for faceting (I’ve been doing some faceting with XQuery, but I have a feeling Solr will be much faster.)

Some Solr examples:

  • Nines/Collex [] – Check out how you can add and remove constraints from your current results set, and the ability to facet results by genre, year, and site.
  • MyResearch Portal [] – Do a search in the catalog and check out the left menu options for narrowing your search by facet. Another nice feature is the limit by options directly under the search box. This is built off of Voyager (the data is exported from Voyager into the Solr index).
  • Peel’s Prairie Provinces [] – Try a search for “prairie.” In addition to faceting, this site uses tag clouds, google maps, and a visual timeline feature.

Other cool (non-Solr) stuff:

A few projects in development

Not mentioned at code4lib but also interesting:

Also, checkout code4lib’s Open Source Software Directory for some additional projects. Feel free to add projects I’ve omitted/forgotten in the comments section.


3 Responses to “Getting the word out”

  1. Library Realignment « the DIL Says:

    […] content to be more context relevant, and to improve existing interfaces and tools. (Check out this post to see some interesting developments in libraries.) This kind of work can not be done by part time […]

  2. VLA Conference « e-resources @ uvm Says:

    […] The next talk I planned to attend was about collaborations between high school and college libraries, but I was still excited about alternative approaches to the OPAC. I decided to go to the presentation on using Open Source library systems which focused on Evergreen and Koha. Code4lib was mentioned frequently (the presenter was quite a fan), and I recognized some of the open source tools he talked about from Winona’s trip to the Code4lib conference. […]

  3. Presentation woes « the DIL Says:

    […] Originally I was asked to present something about the changing face of the catalog (kind of like this post, where I pointed to some efforts to un-suck the OPAC by creating new interfaces, mash-ups and […]

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