[LibX] Questions about libx

Ross Singer ross.singer at library.gatech.edu
Fri Apr 28 12:40:07 EDT 2006

On 4/28/06, Jeremy Dunck <jdunck at gmail.com> wrote:

> I'm sure there are hundreds of working user scripts on us.o, but it's
> not obvious which are which.  That's kind of the point-- there are two
> things at work here.  There's the perception of GM's fragility and in
> that sense, I think LibX is really in the same ballpark.  You're still
> depending on DOM manipulation on a known tree-- you're just less
> likely to break since OPAC upgrades are few and far between.  A user
> script coded against an OPAC would be similarly stable.  ;-)

This is a very good point (and why, ultimately, I gave up on development of
WAG the Dog).  Certainly the widespread adoption of parseable cues, such as
COinS or microformats, would help considerably.  Until then, it's constantly
a matter of keeping up with what's breaking (and writing new scrapers for
new services that appear in the wild).  I found I didn't have the energy or
the interest to do this and the introduction of LibX gave me an easy out :).

The second thing is that you're making a domain-specific page
> modifier, and (as I hope I've made clear) I think that's useful.
> (I also think it'd be nice if an library-related code library came out
> of this.  Dealing with the various OPAC flavors, xISBN, OpenURL, and
> COiNS could, I think, be usefully abstracted for extensions other than
> LibX.)

I would really love to see something like this.  The nice part of the
library world (well, it's actually very frustrating, but this is one
advantage) is that the low number of actual vendors means that creating
libraries for services that don't have a standards based interface for is
fairly small.  Such a clearinghouse might serve the double purpose of
informing people how to actually implement (and use) standards based
approaches to their services.

Then again, nobody may contribute to it and it will wither on the vine, like
so many other initiatives in the past.  However, I'm encouraged by the work
that Ryan Eby, David Walker and Rob Casson have done to form a similar
community around the III XMLOPAC:

It would be nice to see similar efforts for other products.

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