Dec 312006
 

I love OpenSearch.  It’s been one of those things that I’ve been wanting to spend more time looking at — maybe incorporate into Dspace or some of our other services like LibraryFind (which actually is now on the todo list).  Anyway, folks may not know it, but Kyle Banerjee and I are writing a book.  A how to of sorts, for folks doing digital repositories.  I’ve been lights out for most of December cranking out 4 finished and 1 1/2 nearly completed chapters.  So far so good.  Well, one of the parts that of the book deals with exposing resources to larger audiences and a discussion of OpenSearch falls into that section.  As  I was looking through the specification this afternoon, I thought, wow, this would be easy to implement just about everywhere.   So I took a 1/2 hour, and quickly whipped up some code that integrated OpenSearch into CONTENTdm.  I’ll post the code shortly.  However, what I thought cool was the number of resources that have embraced OpenSearch as a query method.  IE7 for example, utilizes OpenSearch as the method for querying search providers.  This means that by adding an OpenSearch server to my Contentdm instance, I instantly am able to add this resource as a search target in IE 7.

 

 

As I mentioned, writing the code took about 30 minutes and was much easier than I’d anticipated.  Given the speed at which OpenSearch has caught on outside the library community (I was surprised at how many applications and services support it) and how simple it is to implement — I’m thinking that its almost crazy not to spend the time and integrate the protocol into our organization’s services if only to give developers outside the library community an straighter line for service integration.

 

–TR 

 Posted by at 3:59 am
Dec 192006
 

This was reported on the O’Reilly blog.  Apparently, Google is deprecating their SOAP API.  If you ask me — this is a terrible decision.  Look up the current sets of books on Google Hacks, etc. and what you find is an entire ecosystem designed around these API.  This is why developers have traditionally liked Google — its why I’ve traditionally liked working with Google.  But I’m not so sure now.  Here’s a like to the O’Reilly article. 

Link to O’Reilly Radar > Google Deprecates Their SOAP Search API

 

–TR

 Posted by at 9:23 pm
Dec 192006
 

I spend the weekend in DC as a panelist for an NEH grant.  It was a very interesting experience.  Having never been on an NEH grant panel before, I was somewhat amazed by the tremendous number of high quality research project currently being undertaken in the humanities.  If this is a representative sample of the work currently being done in the humanities then I’m very impressed.  Also, I was pretty impressed by the NEH process in general.  The panel itself was very organized and well run. 

Unfortunately, after my panel work I had little time to visit DC — something I generally enjoy doing whenever I get a chance to visit.  About the only thing I had time to do was visit the Christmas tree in front of the White House.  I have to admit — I love the Whitehouse.  I just can’t help be be a little giddy each time I see it (as well as snapping a picture or two) — and hopeful that’s something that won’t go away.  I’d hate to think that I was so cynical of my government that DC and its many memorials still didn’t stir that excitement. 

Anyway, this was my first time visiting DC around Christmas — so I made sure I took in the tree display and made sure I got many pictures so I could show Kenny the “big” Christmas tree and some of the DC buildings that we will be visiting this summer at ALA.

And finally, I got to hookup with a friend that I’d only meet through email for a late dinner.  He, his wife and a friend took me to a more traditional Moroccan resturant out around New York Ave. and 6th.  The name escapes me at the moment — but the food was fantastic.  It was a 7 course meal that one has to experience.  I’d definitely try it again (if I could find it :)).

Coming home, I missed my flight for the first time, ever.  I had an 8:20 flight out of Reagan but I wasn’t too bright that morning and managed to miss my flight by, oh, 2 hours.  Fortunately (I thought), the American Airlines ticket agents were able to get me on a flight a 1/2 later to Dallas and from there, had given me a ticket to PDX.  All I had to do was go to the desk and get my seat assignment (at least that was how it was explained to me).  I didn’t find out till I was in Dallas that my ticket was actually a standby ticket and as I found every time I visit Dallas — every flight going to PDX was oversold.  I spend 9 hours in the airport — watching 2 flights leave before I finally had to call it a night.  I was told by an American Airlines agent that they would simply put me on standby for the first flight to PDX tomorrow.  Ugh — I looked and every direct flight to PDX was oversold (again).  So I found my way to a ticket counter and met a very nice agent name Gloria that got me a reservation in a room at the Holiday Inn (note to self — apparently all airlines have special arrangements with local hotels for just such occasions) and got me booked for a flight from Dallas, to San Jose to PDX.  Its going to be another long day, but at least I should be home in the afternoon rather than not at all.  So, I’m in a room in Dallas — my bag {shrug}, I think its in Portland (it was tagged through) so I hope that its around when I get to PDX tomorrow.

I still can’t wait to come back to DC for ALA.  This is one of my favorite cities to visit and I think that Kenny is going to love it — especially the Metro (lots of trains).   But mark my words — this will be the last time that I miss a flight (with it being my fault). 

–TR

 Posted by at 9:13 pm
Dec 172006
 

Jeremy apparently did a podcast at CNI (http://connect.educause.edu/blog/mpasiewicz/an_interview_with_jeremy_frumkin?time=1166414496) where he discussed some of the work being done on LibraryFind.  One thing that’s he’s particularly happy about is what he’s calling the “look ahead” feature in LibraryFind.  Essentially, LibraryFind is both an OpenURL server and client allowing it to “look ahead” and resolve all citations before display.  This of course goes beyond simple OpenURL resolution (which is dependant on correct holdings data) — but actually resolves the links using OpenURL, DOI resolution, etc. to determine if the link is indeed reachable by the user.  A nifty feature for sure — though I’ll admit, I’m most pleased with the catching features in LibraryFind at this moment.  I’ll be curious to see if they are as effective as we see in testing — but I’m hopeful.

For those interested, I’ll be giving a 20 minute talk at this year’s code4lib about LibraryFind and possibly some of the experimentation that I’m doing at this point with the different LibraryFind tools.

 

–TR

 Posted by at 9:08 pm

Coming in MarcEdit 5

 MarcEdit  Comments Off
Dec 172006
 

Thought I’d give folks an idea of what I’ve got coming in the next few weeks for MarcEdit.  In the past, a number of folks had asked for an interface that would make creation of original records or the editing of individual records easier for folks that are not necessarily “MARC code junkies”.  Well, the issue came up again this week — when I was asked by a retired librarian in Peru for a little bit of information regarding the use of MarcEdit to do original record creation.  Obviously, original records can be created using MarcEdit (and I know of a number of places that do use MarcEdit for this purpose), but it does take a bit of knowledge of the MARC leader values if you are going to do any type of custom editing of the coded field information.  So…

I’m working on an interface that would have much more in common with OCLC’s Connexion interface than the traditional MarcEditor’s interface.  The current interface won’t go away or even be affected by the current changes that I’m working on — it would just provide an alternative interface for users needing to edit records individually rather than in batches. This will also let me tie a few services together to make record editing easier for users.  For example, MarcEdit’s URL checker, MarcValidator, MARC Help, etc.  All these elements will be able to be tied together to make editing individual records a much easier process. 

What’s going to make this development easier I think, is that a number of the components that I need are already developed.  MarcEdit has a template system, a set of components for editing control data (006/007/008) so most of the components that I need create a new interface are there — I just need to put them together.

I’ll post some screenshots as I get a bit further.  At this point, I’m having a few folks take a look at the interface as it develops.  Which, BTW, if anyone has need for something like this and would like to try the interface as it is developed, let me know.  I’ll likely have a first, workable version of this sometime after Christmas. 

Also, I’m just about finished testing MarcEdit on a Mac through mono.  I’ve only found a few things that didn’t work straight away, and in most cases, I’ve been able to work around the MONO limitations — so we’ll see. 

Oh, and I’ll have a small update to post when I return from my trip to DC.  I’ve added some additional support for element sets to the Z39.50 client, as well as made changes to allow for sorting of the modified list and adding a search function to the z39.50 knowledge-base.  I’m also considering moving the knowledge-base online so that as folks update this list, everyone can get the updates. 

Other changes that will be coming at the next update:

  1. MARCValidator change:  Ability to identity invalid records
  2. MARCValidator change:  Ability to filter out invalid records
  3. New macro: New III macro for recreating overlay information in the 945 fields.
  4. Macro template changes
  5. Small changes to the Script wizard to clean up some of the generated code.
  6. MONO specific changes that fix problems that only exist in MONO dealing with a number of the dialog boxes (save and open), font settings, panel switching.  All these have been corrected and while you won’t see any changes — they are there.

–TR

 Posted by at 8:55 pm

Blustery Day

 Family  Comments Off
Dec 152006
 

Wow, we had a bit of a wind storm last night.  133 MPH winds in the mountains, 114 MPH gusts recorded at the coast, and gusts in the 80 MPH range in the valley.  Living in the valley, we get very few such wintry days and you can tell, by looking at the number of downed trees around the neighborhood. 

So how’d we fare.  Not bad.  The house was fine — power was only out off and on most of the night but I have a laptop and a direct Ethernet connection to our local station so I was able to work as long as I wanted.  The furnace stopped working for some reason — I think it got debris in the flue — had someone come over and clean it out and its working again.  However, we didn’t escape completely.  We have some shade trees in the back, and these didn’t escape unharmed.  These trees are hawthorn trees — pretty good size.  Well, one of those 80 MPH gusts just snapped some of those trees like twigs.  Here’s a picture:

We lost the tops of three trees.  Oh, and if you look to the left, you’ll see that big best of a white thing.  That’s one of those RV covers — kindof a temporary garage.  The thing weight like 300 lbs and I seen it actually fly into our backyard.  I spent about a 1/2 hour last night pulling off the canvas and moving it from the middle of my yard (where it was looking to fly again) to against the fence so it wouldn’t fly away again.  Anyway, I’ll be spending some time chainsawing the trees the next few days and cleaning up — but overall — we were very fortunate.  Here are a couple of other pictures.

 

 

–TR 

 Posted by at 3:35 pm

MarcEdit update

 MarcEdit  Comments Off
Dec 072006
 

Posted an updated version of MarcEdit.  Updates a few stylesheets, removes an artificial limit in the Z39.50 client that limited results to 1000 (you now are limited only by available memory), and modified some install behaviors in terms of checking some local config. files for changes before overwriting them.

 

Also, I need to post some pictures — because with the release of Mono 1.2.2, I’ve got some nice screenshots of MarcEdit running on my Mac Mini.  The interface isn’t as clean as the Windows Interface (some of the properties that are set on the parent dialog do not appear to propagated through the child controls as in .NET), but it works.  I need to check all the functionality so I can document what works and what doesn’t — but on a quick look, the making, breaking, XML, MarcEditor, harvesting, exporting, etc. seem to work fine.  My only real concern is the Z39.50 client since it currently relies on yaz — which may require me to load a different shared library depending on the operating system.

 

One quick note, I am doing a little bit of MarcEdit work tonight as well.  I’m adding some convenience features to make editing easier in the MarcEditor (i.e., automatically opening MARC files in the mnemonic format) and recording a few video tutorials based on some common questions that I get.  Also, for those interested, the 5.0 documentation is up on the MarcEdit wiki.  I need to get this information extracted and linked into the program, but at least for the most part, the documentation has been updated as is online hopefully making future updates easier.  I’m also hoping that with the wiki, I’ll be able to create a public area for users wanting to add their own annotations, documentation. 

As always, the updates are available at: MarcEdit50_Setup.exe.

 

–TR

 Posted by at 1:21 am
Dec 072006
 

One of the things that I love about our little town is the number of kid friendly activities that go on.  It was actually one of the reasons why we’ve stayed in Independence, rather than move to Corvallis. 

Anyway, our city has something called the festival of lights.  It’s been a cool parade that has evolved into something pretty cool since it first started 3 or so years ago.  When we first moved to Independence, the festival was, and I kid you not, basically a few tractors driving through town with Christmas lights.  However, the last two years, the city of Independence and the city library have stepped up to make this a city wide affair.  A nice little parade the ends at the public library where folks can come out of the cold and get hot chocolate, cider, cookies — oh, yeah — and the kids can meet Santa.  Additionally, every kid that meets Santa gets a gift.  I don’t know how many presents they go through — but this I think is very cool.

So, Saturday was the big event.  Kenny has been waiting for this for some time.  He’s been wanting to tell Santa exactly what he wants for Christmas this year.  And Nathan — he’s was so excited.  Santa Claus this and Santa Claus that. 

Like last year, the parade was fun.  And like last year, the weather was brisk, so when we finally went into the library after the parade, the warm building was definitely a plus.  Both of my kids were bouncing off the walls.  So, how’d it go?  A little mixed. 

As you can see, Nathan’s experience wasn’t quite as fun for him.  He was excited up to the point when he sat on Santa’s lap.  At that point, he just looked at Santa, snuggled his head into his beard and cried.  I imagine he may have been a little tired as well (we’d been in line for ~40 minutes) — but I felt bad for the little guy.

Now Kenny, let’s just say that Kenny wasn’t leaving anything to chance.

As you can see, Kenny has handed something to Santa.  Well, that’s his list.  He spent all day writing a list that included presents for him and Nathan and he wanted to make sure that Santa not only got to see the list, but kept the list after his visit.  Not surprisingly, Kenny was the only person to bring his own list. 

And in case you thought I was kidding, try expanding this picture, and you should see his list — written out in magic marker, where tricking words are spelled f-o-n-e-t-i-k-l-y. :)  It was very cute.  And afterwards, he left his list for Santa (so he wouldn’t forget).

Now, when Kenny and Nathan was little, we didn’t set out to instill a belief in Santa Claus — but I’m not going to squash it either.  I figure, this will likely be the last year that Santa will be a big deal for Kenny, and I wanted him to have fun.  BTW, his list.  My wife picked it up.  We will be writing him a letter back, from Santa — that will be placed under the tree with is “Santa” presents Christmas morning.  I’m sure he will be excited.

 

–TR

 Posted by at 1:00 am