[LibX] LibX with subscription WorldCat catalog?

Godmar Back godmar at gmail.com
Sat Apr 12 08:35:02 PDT 2008

To answer this question, let me step back for a minute.

LibX, when installed on a client's computer, will contact a particular
resource directly using the URL and method configured.  The server
hosting the resource will directly communicate with the client and
assign appropriate credentials. Many resources restrict access by IP
address - in this case, the server will see the IP address of the
machine the client is currently using. So in most cases, there are no

When configuring LibX and using the auto-detection box, however, our
server at libx.org (which is really a VT-owned machine, aka
libx.cs.vt.edu, with a VT IP address) will try to contact the resource
for you. At this point, it's treated like a VT machine. It will then
try to infer the URL and method to access this resource.

This setup works peachy when a resource looks only at the IP address
to determine eligibility for a service and when the URL and method to
access a resource are the same from anywhere (and if, of course,
Virginia Tech has a subscription to the resource being probed.)

However, it can break down in a number of ways: for instance, a
resource could recognize a client's IP address, then redirect to a
different URL: say, for instance, firstsearch.oclc.org/vt when I came
from a VT address but firstsearch.oclc.org/stanford for Stanford
users.  If we detect firstsearch.oclc.org/vt from our server, and you
include this in the configuration, your users will be going to the
wrong URL that won't work for them.

Another issue are resources that encode session ids in the URL. In
those cases, the URL that's detected would be the current session URL
assigned to our server during the probing. This URL likely won't work
for you at all, or at least not for long.

These are all inherent limitations in the auto-detection. To address
them, we'd have to develop and install a plugin on the client computer
before users could configure a LibX edition. Then this client plugin
could connect to the resource during the auto-detection process. This
is, however, future future work for now.

What you can do now is trying to find out if there's a URL template
that can be used to search this resource.

- Install the web developer extension:
- go in your browser to the search form you'd want users to search
from the LibX toolbar.
- choose the option "FORMs: POST -> GET" in the web developer extension
- do your search using search terms xyzzy
- copy and paste the URL to which the search led you; replacing xyzzy with %Y
- set this up as a bookmarklet for a "Keyword".

FWIW, FirstSearch is linked to as
from the VT library site.  Going there, however, leads me to a page
where I need to choose a database first.

Maybe there are some librarians on this list who know the "deep
linking" syntax for this service?  Maybe OCLC provides documentation
to libraries who have subscribed to it?

 - Godmar

On Fri, Apr 11, 2008 at 12:22 PM, John Bickar <johnbickar at stanford.edu> wrote:
> Hi,
>  I've been asked by one of the librarians here to add our subscription
>  version of WorldCat to the LibX toolbar. When I use the
>  firstsearch.oclc.org that pops up in the Auto-detect, I get thwarted by
>  an authorization and password screen.
>  I've got the public WorldCat working pretty well, but the subscription
>  one is defying me.
>  Is it possible to get LibX to search a subscription catalog, or does it
>  need to be publicly available? And if it's possible, how would I get
>  started doing that?
>  Thanks,
>  John Bickar
>  --
>  John Bickar, Ed.M.
>  User Services Technology Specialist
>  Cubberley Education Library
>  Stanford University
>  johnbickar at stanford.edu
>  650.725.1131 (office)
>  650.796.4637 (mobile)
>  _______________________________________________
>  Libx mailing list
>  Libx at mozdev.org
>  https://www.mozdev.org/mailman/listinfo/libx

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