What a cookie :)

By reeset / On / In Cycling

Well, another year, another great monster cookie ride. The Salem Bike club does such a frantastic job of putting this ride on. The volunteers make sure that that the oranges, bananas, and peanut butter stays flowing and the then course itself is gorgous. Its a mostly flat course that takes you past lots of farm land and the Willamette River. And the weather today was great. It was a little chilly this morning, but the weather never got too hot or too windy. Kyle Banerjee rode with me and he took his new bike out for a spin. Its a tadpole (see below).


He let me take it for a spin. What a cool little bike. Disk brakes, tight cornering and comfy. I can definitely see what he likes it. Anyway — he crused right around the course with that little thing. If I had to guess, I’d say that we averaged about 22-23 mph for the day. I’m sure we could have got faster (and did for periods of 10 miles or so), but it made for a nice ride.

Here’s a picture of us at the park. I’ve still got my jacket on because it started to get cold. (see below)

And kyle is here on his bike. It really is as small as it looks.

So what do we get for finishing the ride — a Monster cookie. Mine was chocolate chip. All and all, a fantastic day.


And so the cycling season begins….

By reeset / On / In Cycling

Whoo!  The summer cycling season for me is starting up.  Its 7 AM, about 45 degrees outside…sunny and I’m getting ready to head out the door to ride in the Salem Bike Club’s Monster Cookie event.  This is a really cool metric century ride that goes through the Oregon Wine country.  Its a well done event (actually, all of the Salem Bike Club events are well done) and the perfect start to the season as I start to get my miles back up for the summer (this week for example, I’ll ride close to 360 miles — up from the 200-225 I ride in the winter).  Anyway, I’ll post an update when I get back later tonight.


MarcEdit Update

By reeset / On / In MarcEdit

A small update.  This cleans the installation, optimizes some of the MARC Editing tools in the MarcEditor (particularly the subfield edit utility) and updates the Extract and Delete selected records utility so users can do multiple queries while retaining their last set of checked items.

Also, I’ve updated some help information.  As always, the program is available from: MarcEdit50_Setup.exe

As a heads up — I’m going to change the help file.  Having the xml files transformed clientside is causing some problems for folks so I’m going to translate the files and ship plain html here shortly.  What I will do though — is make the help files available in XML with a batch script so users can recompile them if they like so that users can still make changes, notes, etc. to the help files as needed.

Other comings…I’ve been experimenting here at OSU with adding an RSS manager to MarcEdit that would automatically generate MARC records from RSS feeds.  I’d like to eventually have a tool that functions as an always on, MARC=>RSS converter — but in the first version — so I can get some feedback, I think I’ll make the tool a part of the MarcEditor.  It will work alot like the OAI harvester component.  You point the tool at an RSS feed and then run the harvest routine — the tool will handle the particulars of moving the data into MARC.  In my testing, I’ve found that this does allow for the quick generation of MARC records — but for any site with an ERM module, I’m not sure how useful it will be — but we will see.


Emulating III’s Advance Keyword Searching using Z39.50

By reeset / On / In Digital Libraries, Programming

Its funny how things work.  I was talking today with David Walker about III and their Z39.50 implementation.  The problem that David had noticed and had asked me about was whether I had noticed that the items being returned via the Z39.50 keyword search were different than a query done via the Opac.  Up until now — I hadn’t seen any differences.  Then, speak of the devil, a sample query of “forest service technical notes” was done within our homegrown metasearch tool.  Using III’s default Z39.50 settings, this query will return zero hits in our system because III queries the items as a phrase.  However, when I run this query in the Opac, I receive 4 results.  So the question was how to retrieve the same results….

The solution was actually a simple one and comes down to understanding how III is doing its queries.  If you look at the III manual, you get an idea.  III notes that when the advance keyword option is enabled on the system, the advanced indexes can be utilized when doing a title, author but not a keyword search.  This is because of how III’s keyword search is done.  By default, unless the terms are enclosed in quotes, the search is automatically done as an and’d search.  So for example, in my test search, III is actually running the search “forest service technical notes” as: forest and service and technical and notes.  If the result returns zero hits, III has an option to automatically do the search again as an or search: forest or service or technical or notes.  Ideally, we wouldn’t want the or’d functionality — but the former — that is desireable, since we want users to get the same results from our metasearch tool as they would get from the Opac.  So the solution is simple.   When the query comes to the system, the query is examined for boolean markers and grouping (quotes) elements.  If these elements are not present, then the search is broken down so that each keyword is and’d.  Once I made the modification, every phrase search run against our metasearch tool and then against our Opac where exactly the same (save that our results provided better ranking :D). 


I’m back

By reeset / On / In Family

So I’m back. I’ve been gone for the better half of 5 days, having gone to relax, fish, do a little crabbing and spend time with my family. Here are some pictures.


This first picture is of Kenny fishing. I took him down to the docks at 10 mile Lake in Lakeside, OR to see if we couldn’t catch a few blue gill. He’s never had a chance to reel in a fish so I was hoping to remedy that this weekend. Unfortunately, the wind was just brutal (just like I remembered — felt like home :)) and he really didn’t want to spend much time out fishing.


Picture 2 — Kenny and Nathan out crabbing. Kenny likes watching the TV show, The Deadliest Catch…its a show on King crabbing in the Alaskan Beiring strait. Its a great show — I love it — but Kenny ended up thinking that we were going to be catching 7-10 lb crab. Fortunately, he wasn’t dissappointed. No 10 lb crab — but we did catch a number of keepers as well a lot of females that we couldn’t keep — but were fun to pull up. Here’s a picture of Kenny and Nathan with one of the first crab we pulled up. It didn’t have any claws, was too small — and was perfect for a picture. And after a quick picture — we tossed it back.

These next few pictures of the boys and me (Alyce too — but she was behind the camera) at the beach. Nathan loves the water so you’ll see a few pictures of Nathan and I tromping through the ocean as well as one with both the boys. Afterwards, we went out and built sandcastles. Unfortunately, we couldn’t stay much longer than that since Nathan started shivering after I took him out of the water. It really wasn’t that cold (which surprised me) — but I guess the fact that I only got my ankles wet, while he was wet from his waist down probably made a difference.

All an all — a great trip. What’s more — it was exactly what I needed. I was tired and really needed to recharge my batteries and this was exactly what I needed.


LibraryFind (Metasearch) testing expanded

By reeset / On / In Digital Libraries

I’m preparing some documents for our library faculty and staff as we begin expanding the beta testing to the entire library.  I make the next cutover from our development to semi-production server this Friday —  so barring any unforeseen problems or objections by the project team (good thing Jeremy is in New York till next week :D), I’ll be sending these docs and an invitation to join our testing to our entire organization.  So far, we’ve gotten a lot of pretty good feedback from our public services librarians and have been working this week and next to implement the changes — so it just seemed like a good time to expand. For folks interested, I’ve posted the documentation here. Its very simple — but from my information chatting with staff — this type of presentation seemed to provide the quickest path to familiarity with the project and the UI featureset.

  1. Image map of IU
  2. General Feature set description.


LibraryFind (metasearch update)

By reeset / On / In Digital Libraries

Its been a little bit since I updated folks on our metasearch development.  I’m including a current screenshot that shows the current look with a new function — inline OpenURL resolution.  As users scroll over the Find in library link, they see the openURL items show up directly in their window.


So what’s been worked on since the last time I posted.  Well, let’s see if I can remember it all:

UI Developments:

  • Sorting by date
  • Image previewing (screen20060418b.PNG)  At this point, this is just an example.  I realize Jeremy would like to see just metadata here — but I’d like to see us do some image scaling to provide a real preview of the item.
  • Email results:  Results are now emailed in APA citation format.
  • Within the Catalog query (books and more) the primary call number is being displayed (wasn’t before)
  • More space has been claimed on the page for layout (has made this much cleaner)
  • Database errors are now noted by a dandy icon that informs users without breaking the layout of a problem with the ability to requery if they need to.

API Developments:

  • Caching has been completed.  The 3 tier caching system is now fully implemented.  Now we see if the underlying concept is good.
  • boolean queries supported.
  • mysql query caching enabled.
  • Spellchecking and suggestions have been created (but not enabled yet).  I’ve got examples using both Aspell and Google — I think we’ll end up using Aspell, but we’ll see.
  • SRU support tested
  • MARCXML support tested and being used for our catalog.

Right now I’m working on bookmarking.  I’m not sure at what point Jeremy will turn us loose to start building some simple personal digital library components, but getting the bookmarking setup (which will lead to rss) will get us moving in that direction.


MarcEdit 5.0 update

By reeset / On / In MarcEdit

Alrighty — I’ve posted a new update to MarcEdit 5.0.  And for those wondering — I’m going to be moving the version number to 5.1 by ALA and out of beta the program will come.  At this point, we are no longer finding problems in the application — the only holdup has been documentation creation and I can say that I am finished with the docs.  I’ll start uploading them over the next couple of weeks.

So new to this upload:

  1. UI changes — the program now contains the ability for users to cancel processes within the MARC Tools window.  I’ll be extending this threading to other functions over the next few weeks — so this is a good first look at how this works
  2. This is a biggy…I modified the program so users can now define the program temp path.  Within the preferences — there is now an option for setting the program’s temp path — this is useful for folks that will be processing really large files and has a secondary storage area that can be used for this processing.  I’ve been checking functions to make sure this all works — but I still have a few left to look over.  I’m assuming that they will work given that all the others have worked — but if you run into some strange behaviors — let me know and I’ll get them quickly taken care of.
  3. Temp file management — this is another biggy.  The program now manages temp file usage much better than before.  In previous versions, temp files were not always removed after process (especially if a process was interrupted).  Now they always will be.

As always, the program can be downloaded from: MarcEdit50_Setup.exe.