Archive for June, 2007

Miscellany that has been keeping me busy

June 25, 2007

We are starting to creep up on the end of my initial grant period (in September) and are in the process of spending the remaining money. The library has offered to purchase the CDI’s development server, and a machine to be used as storage for our master tiff files. These will be shared resource, at least in that the library will benefit from CDI expertise, and server space, for other library digital content (this came up because the library is starting to manage a collection of digital thesis). This leaves us with enough money to purchase a book scanner, and to buy some additional workstations a laptop for the conference room, or other equipment.I now have a development machine (just a co-opted desktop running Linux) on my desk, and I spent a part of the past week learning how to install Linux and setting up the development environment. I work closely with someone in systems who takes care of our production machine, but he let me do the Linux installation on my own (while watching over my shoulder). It was pretty easy, and I’ve now moved on to more interesting problems, such as solving my url issues (involving some convoluted issue with mod_jk), and reading up on Subversion. I would like to have the development environment on a branch in subversion, that I can merge to the trunk when it is ready to go live, I assume this is possible, but so far have been making all of my edits to the trunk so I will need to read up on this.

In addition, I have been working on leftover details for the web site, I now have the “remove filters” option working (go ahead, try it) and will be looking into zooming for images and working on continual improvement of the interface and adding of new features.

I’m also still working on the new finding aids site (found here, but still a work in progress). I have a Solr instance set up for the EADs, but am having trouble indexing documents, namely, outputting all the next nodes in the document only once and with the correct spacing (without writing a hugely complex stylesheet) . My brain insists that there is a simple way to do it, but I haven’t managed it yet. Everything I try either outputs some elements multiple times (i.e. a parent and all its children, and then the children again, as it works through the document tree) and/or does not insert spaces between elements, which makes the output fairly useless for searching.

The CDI is also involved in our first collaborative project. We are collaborating with the Landscape Change project here at UVM to digitize several hundred lantern slides from the Long Trail. I have only seen a few of the images, but it looks like a great collection. For this project the CDI will keep the master tiff files, and then each website will host jpg copies and copies of the metadata. I hate the duplication but am not sure how best to coordinate shared metadata at this point, and I didn’t want to stall the project while we figure that out.

I also have a paper to write and a presentation to come up with. So far I have a title for the presentation (“Innovative Interfaces: making the most of the data we have”) and nothing for the paper.

Update on CDI XForms

June 14, 2007

Well, the new version of the Firefox XForms extension came out last week, and all my forms are working again. I am working on a version for Orbeon as well and I have a lot of thoughts about Orbeon vrs. Firefox, but will save that for a later post.

I have posted a version of my metadata “processing pages” on xforms@code4lib. This version is in xquery and includes the new tabbed version of the DC forms and also a version of my Solr form. I have also included a sample record. If you want to take it for a test drive you can install eXist and Solr in tomcat and add the sample record to eXist under /db/mets. You may have to make some changes to the addIndex.xql to specify your Solr instance.

XForms exhaustion

June 4, 2007

In case you haven’t noticed, or are not using the Firefox XForms extension, it isn’t compatible with Firefox (see e-mail discussion in progress). It seems that some forms will work, but there are problems with repeats, switch (and the two combined), and probably other elements as well. This is a little odd because I remember some discussion from last week about version .8 being ready. But I haven’t seen anything about it since came out.

This means my new forms are pretty much useless right now.   Of course you can say no to the “Would you like to install the latest Firefox?” pop-up, but I noticed that when I restarted my computer Firefox did a stealth update anyway. I can’t really expect my users to reinstall the old version of Firefox everytime they want to  edit metadata. There have also been some other difficulties with the Firefox extension from the standpoint of my users. For example to post data to the Solr index you have to specifically allow your XForms to access a different domain (see instructions). This isn’t difficult to do, and it only has to be done once, but it is another stumbling block for users of the forms.

Although I’m hoping  version .8 of the extension will be out soon to give me a reprieve, I think this is the turning point; starting this week I’ll be migrating my forms over to Orbeon.  What a way to start the week.