[LibX] LibX question from a faculty member

Godmar Back godmar at gmail.com
Mon Nov 27 13:28:13 PST 2006


On 11/27/06, Phil Shirley <pshirley at cuyahogafallslibrary.org> wrote:
> I'd like to see a feature like this for my selectors, if it could be
> made to work on one or more web sites they were interested in checking
> against our catalog.  For instance, given a web site that listed
> recommended or award-winning titles, it would be nice to be able to scan
> that web page quickly and see which titles the library didn't have, and
> it would be really nice to get further details on mouseover (maybe the
> number of items and their statuses).
>

Mouseover is actually an option we are considering - it's a nice
trade-off between unprompted querying and requiring an explicit mouse
click.

> III sells an XML server as an add-on product, but I don't know if many
> libraries would find it worth the price.  I don't know the price, but we
> might consider it if it made things much faster for our selectors.  Many
> libraries allow you to search their catalog by Z39.50, but there may be
> reasons not to use that (it wouldn't work in my fantasy of getting item
> information because I believe Z39.50 typically doesn't return item info).
>

I do not think (but I'm happy to be told otherwise) that we can
integrate direct Z39.50 client support into LibX, since it cannot be
implemented in JavaScript. It would probably require an xpcom module
(which doesn't make it impossible, just makes it significant work.)

The alternatives are to go through a gateway that provides a REST
interface and returns either XML or some other easily parseable
format. III's xmlopac product is a possible alternative that we could
integrate. We don't have that product here at VT, so it hasn't moved
to the top priority on our list, but it is an option we have
considered.

As an aside, for libraries considering buying this product, I should
note that the Z39.50 interface that III provides, combined with yaz's
XML interface might be an even better solution. Yaz is open source and
can be integrated as a php module into your Apache server, and it
produces clean MarcXML with an extension to report the basic holdings
information that III's Z39.50 server reports.

So, in short, we're open to everything and happily accept
contributions. To be integrated into LibX, it should rely on a widely
available interface and format, for maximum benefit.

 - Godmar


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