We live in a mega techno wonderland of always on, access anywhere, hands-free, interconnected devices no?
Not when it comes to a simple thing. Continue reading Wireless music
We live in a mega techno wonderland of always on, access anywhere, hands-free, interconnected devices no?
Not when it comes to a simple thing. Continue reading Wireless music
BBC One or Two had being running ‘BBC Three takeover’ sessions, with several BBC Three programmes in a row. They were good. It’s not fashionable to say that nowadays.
In its early days it was innovative, cutting edge, risk taking and alternative.
One of the programmes I saw on the BBC Three take over shows was Dreamspaces, which simply explored modern buildings and architecture. It didn’t pad out the show with music montages, and the presenters gave facts, rather than the normal approach taking by shows of making the presenter be ‘fun but stupid’ and ask an ‘expert’ lots of basic questions. Continue reading BBC Three
Talis Aspire is a new-ish Reading List system used at the University of Sussex Library.
On Aspire, a url for a Department looks like this:
A page for a course looks like this (for course l6061):
The nice thing is that you can replace the ‘.html’ with .json or .rdf – while the html only has a link to the related list, the json and rdf expose other links and relationships, such as the department.
For us, most (but not all) courses only have one list. URLs for lists are not predictable in the same way as the courses URL. E.g.
Way back I wrote a piece about the changing model for library catalogues, you can see it here. The main premise was that trying to maintain records in a Library Management System (LMS/ILS) for all the items you want your users to discover is no longer feasible. This is especially true in this here digital age, trying to maintain records for all the e-journals a University has access to is an almost impossible task, and LMS were not designed for thousands of MARC records to be dropped and then re-imported (i.e. sync’d) with another source. And what about all the free stuff, is an e-book not worth being discovered by users because it is free?
So let the LMS be a record of what your library physically holds, and your discovery service a place where users can find (and see how to access) resources that are of interest to their research and work. The former being just one element (albeit a major one) of the latter. Meanwhile your LMS physically holdings can be shared with other discovery systems (such as union catalogues) to show what your library physically contains.
It’s hard not to think of nostuff.org and not think of blazing web standards.
So I had a go at updating the template for this here blog to make it all html5. Turns out this is quite simple.
It seems you can probably just replace your doctype with
and you’ve got yourself a html5 webpage.
The W3C validator proves it so. From there I added some of the new section elements such as header, footer, nav, aside and article. It seems that these can apply to the page (i.e. the page’s footer) or a section (the footer of a blog post, where it shows tags and date published etc). I used various sources on the web, via Google, including a few articles, and sample sites.
So nostuff mostly validates as html5 and makes use of some of the elements above, though this doesn’t affect anything visually at the moment (I think, I really don’t have much of a clue as to what I’m doing).
I’ve created a gzip file of the theme here. You’re welcome to download and use it, though it’s not really designed to be shared (includes my analytics/adsense codes etc).
Now one of these days I will finally get my ‘moving flat’ epic published, in the mean time you can read my how to buy a property guide. It really is worth every penny.
Part of this process involves buying a sofa which doesn’t suck as much as my current sofa.
Of course, I’m doing this the proper way of procrastinating and constantly looking at websites and not deciding anything (look out for my exciting new book of the same name, the ultimate manager’s guide).
One of the sofa’s which was luckly enough to make the final rounds (i.e. got to perform in front of Simon Cowell and co), was this one, called – cutely – Oscar. Simple lines, modern look, sofa bed. From Furniture Village, which seems to be DFS’ more mature cousin, though this perhaps doesn’t say too much.
All fine and good.
Then the other day I visited Engadget.com, not a site I normally visit but a link had caught my eye on Twitter.
Notice that ad? A bit like travelling to furthest Siberia, walking in to the dodgyist bar and finding your nan there, distinctly out of place. Click on the image for a lager version.
At the top of an American website about gadgets is an advert for a UK middle-of-the-road furniture store, advertising the exact sofa I had been considering for some time.
This was no coincidence.
Nor had they been using Alien technology to read my mind. I had visited the furniture site using the same laptop (and presumably same browser), a cookie and advertising system was at play here.
In fact my mind was made up when this evening I saw this.
This was on Time Magazine’s website (again a US publication), on a Photo Gallery about Afghan Women (see this for background, wonderful world).
It’s that cheeky little sofa again, this time popping up next to a repressive regime. You Guys!
Finally, notice on the red border of the ad, bottom right there is a little bulge, clicking on it…
http://www.struq.com/consumer-opt-out/ “Totally personalised display ads”.
Does this freak me out. Probably should do, but at the moment it borders on fun, like most people my tastes and wants are diverse enough to create stupid juxtapositions (Serious News and Girls Aloud, Global Warming and fast cars). It becomes an issue when it goes beyond, ‘person x has looked at product y from company z so show advert to it’,and becomes one entity building a database of everything you view and do online.
What a scary vision. Think I’ll stick with what I know and just use Google and Facebook.
One Sunday morning in January this year I got an email sent automatically from the webhosting company. It contained the output of the script that ran weekly, when all ran fine the script produced no output. When something went wrong the error messages were emailed to me. Judging by the length of the email something big had gone wrong.
The script collected data from http://roar.eprints.org/ – to be used as this weeks ‘number of records’ for each repository.
The reason became clear quickly. A major revamp to ROAR had just been launch, showing off a new interface, which used the Eprints software as a platform (essential a repository or repositories). This was a great leap forward but unfortunately removed the simple text file I used to collect the data, and what was more, the IDs for each IR had changed.
I finally got around to fixing this in May. The most fiddly bit was linking the data I collected now with the data I already had. This involved matching URLs and repository names.
Anyways. Things should be more or less as they were. A few little tweaks have been added. A few bugs still remain.
As ever you can view the code and changes here: http://trac.nostuff.org/ircount/browser/trunk
And checkout the svn here: http://svn.nostuff.org/ircount/
ircount can be found here: http://www.nostuff.org/ircount/
I attended an event at Huddersfield looking at their and Northumberland’s experience of Summon. http://library.hud.ac.uk/blogs/summon4hn/?p=22 These are my rough notes. Take all with a pinch of salt.
The day reaffirmed my view of Summon, it is ground breaking in the Library market, and with no major stumbling blocks. They are very aware that coverage is key and seem to be adding items and publishers. It searches items that a organisation has access to (though users can tick a option to search all items in the kb, not just those they can access). They have good metadata, merging records from a number of sources, and making use of subject headings (to refine or exclude from the search).
There was general consensus that it made sense to maintain only one Knowledge-base, and therefore in this case, using 360 Link if implementing Summon. There was also general dissatisfaction for federated search tools.
To me, and I must stress this is a personal view, there are two products that I have seen which are worth future consideration: Summon and Primo. Summon’s strength is in the e-resources realm and as a resource discovery service. Primo’s strength, while offering these features/services, is as a OPAC (with My account features etc) and personalisation (tags, lists). Both products are in a stage of rapid development.
In my view, one decision to implement one of these products – which ever it is – will have a chain reaction. And I think this is an important point. Using Sussex as an example, it currently has Aquabrowser (as a Library Catalogue), Talis Prism 2 (for Borrower Account, reservations, renewals), SFX (Link Resolver) and Metalib (Federated Search).
Two example scenarios (and I stress there are other products on the market and this is just my personal immediate thoughts):
One: Let’s say Sussex first decide to replace Metalib with Summon. They would probably cancel Metalib (Summon replaces it). Probably move from SFX to 360 Linker (one Knowledge base). May then wish to review our Library Catalogue in a years time: Primo is no longer on the cards (too much cross over with Summon, which we now already have), so they either stick with Aquabrowser (but the new SaaS v3 release) or perhaps move to Prism 3 (Talis’ new-ish SaaS Catalogue). Sussex would end up with no Ex Libris products, but would potentially subscribe to several Serial Solutions products.
Two: Let’s say Sussex decide to replace Aquabrowser with Primo (which acts more like a Catalogue than AB). They cancel Aquabrowser. Primo would (in addition to being the primary OPAC) have Summon-like functionality, allowing users to search a large database of items instantly, with relevance and facets. So Summon would not be an option. Stick with SFX (Metalib would be a side feature of Primo, with a Primo-like interface). With a number of Ex Libris products they would want to keep an eye on the Ex Libris URM (next genration LMS), they would have no Serials Solutions products.
The following are some notes from the day:
Sue White from Huddersfield Library started the day, saying it is probably the best decision they have ever made.
“better metadata for better findability”. merge metadata elements. Use SerialSolutions, urichs, Medline, crossref to create the best record. ‘record becomes incredibly rich’.
She went through all the new features added in the last 12 months, including a notable size in the knowledge base. ‘dials’ to play with relevancy of different fields. Recommender service coming.
Shows a list of example publishers, included many familiar names, have just signed with Jstor. She showed increase in ‘click throughs’ for particular publishers, the biggest were for jstor and ScienceDirect. Newspapers have proved to be very popular.
There is an advanced search. There has been negative feedback ‘please bring back title/author search’.
Eileen Hiller from Huddersfield talked about product selection. She mentioned having people from across the Library and campus on the selection/implementation group, getting student feedback and talking to academics. They used good feedback in their communications (e.g. in the student newspaper and their blog). Student feedback questionnaire has been useful.
Dave Pattern talks about the history of e-resource access at Huddersfield, started with a online word document and then a onenote version. Metalib was slow, and they found more students using Google Scholar than metalib.
They started with a blank sheet of paper and as a group thrashed out their ideal product, without knowing about Summon. First class search engine, ‘one stop shop’, improved systems management, etc. Invited a number of suppliers in, showed them the vision and asked them to present their product against it, Huddersfield rated each one against The Vision. Report to Library Management Group. Summon was the clear fit.
Implementation: Starts off with a US conference call. MARC21 mapping spreadsheet, they went with defaults. they add a unique id to the 999|a field.
Be relistic with early implementation, e.g. lib cat and repository are only two local databases. Be aware of when you LMS deletes things flagged for deletion. Huddersfield had early issues with this.
Do you want your whole catalogue on Summon? ebook/ejournal records etc.
Summon originally screenscraped for holdings/availability (aquabrowser does this for Sussex) could bring the traditional catalogue to its knees.
Moving to 360 Link makes you life much easier if moving to Summon, only one Knowledgebase to maintain.
They asked Elsevier to create a custom file for their sciencedirect holdings to upload to 360.
Huddersfield found activating journals in 360 a quick process.
360 API more open than Summon API. for customers only. You can basically build your own interface. Virginia using it to produce a mobile friendly version of their catalogue. Hud used it to identify problem MARC records.
94% of Huddersfield subscribed journals are on Summon (No agreement with the following: BSP 80%, Sciencedirect, Jstor… Westlaw/LexisNexis 55%). They now have a agreement with LexisNexis and Jstor. In discussion with Elsevier. They manage to have this level of coverage for these reources by using other sources for the data (e.g. publishers for Business source premier and A&I databases for ScienceDirect).
Dummy journal records for journal titles (print and e) so that they are easily found on Summon. See this example.
Can recommend specific resources (‘you might be interested in ACM Digital Library’), can be useful for subjects like Law.
Survey results: Users found screens easy to understand. many (43%) refined their results. Dave thinks that now Google has facets on the left may increase facet usage. 82% for results were relevant to their research topics.
They will go live in July. Currently working on training materials and staff training. Considering adding archives and Special Collections in the future.
Annette Coates, Digital Services Manager, Northumbria Uni.
She gave a history of e-resource provision, 2005 onwards: webfeat (they brand it nora, which they are keeping for Summon). ‘We have the same issues with federated search that everyone else has’. Both Northumbria and Huddersfield are keeping a seperate A-Z list for e-resources (N are using libguides, like Sussex).
User Evaluation: is it improving the user’s search experience? how can we improve it futher? NORA user survey. Timing important, Getting people involved, Incentives, Capturing the session. They will use all the user feedback in a number of ways, ‘triangulate to ensure depth’, use good quotes as a marketing tool (including to lib staff), feedback good/bad to Serials Solutions, use it to improve the way they show it to others…
Focus groups, guidance?
very little guidance in focus group, and let them play with it
What is the position regarding authentication?
N use citrix. Will be Shibolising their 360link.
H channeling as much as possible through ezproxy. don’t have shib. promote usage though usage portal, which authenticates them.
No shibboleth integration at the moment.
(discussion about how summon may mean you can stop trying to add journal records, and can raise lots of questions… should summon be the interface on your catalogue kiosks).
You can send list of ISSNs to Serial Solutions to see matches, to find out what your coverage would be.
There was a very vague indication that OPAC integration may be on the cards for Summon. This is an important thing IMO.
Number of comments about Library staff being far more critical than users.
Summon ingesting stuff (MARC) from LMS 4 times a day. Using DLF standard for getting holdings data from LMS. (this is a good thing). Huddersfield wrote the DLF protocol code.
Q: Are SerialSolutions (proquest) struggling to get metadata from their direct competitors?
A: SS: Ebsco the main one, but we go direct to publishers. And for Elsevier, able to index it from elsewhere (and in talks with them).
Q: lexis and westlaw, where only 50% coverage, how do students know to go elsewhere (i.e. direct to the resource)?
A: for law students point them to e-resource pages (wiki) as well as summon to promote direct access to them. also (and perhaps more importantly) will have recommender which can recommend lexis/westlaw for law searches.
Q: can you search the whole summon kb, not just those things we subscribe to?
Q: Are there personalisation options? (saving lists, items, marking records)
May come in the future, summon are thinking about it.
Suddenly PR is in the limelight and seems to be getting support from those disaffected by politics in the UK. I’ve long been pondering about how it is best to govern this country. Mainly about where power lies: The UK, nations, regions, counties, local councils, etc.
I was hoping to write something insightful for the election. Time (well, laziness) has meant I shall spew some random thoughts instead… After the election has happened.
Things that are important to me:
This is not a full list, but just some of the ideas that came to mind. Feel free to comment.