Wednesday, 28 July 2010

iFind Discover Training

I gave the first major "in house" training session today. I hope it was useful for staff but it was also useful for me as users were able to look at their specfic field of enquiry and highlight potential improvements and errors. Perhaps the major issue to look at will be the Advanced Search as several members of staff felt is was a little confusing. The advanced search is very powerful but it does use non-standard terms and concepts. Perhaps we require a two pronged advanced search - one feature a standard boolean drop down for each field and one with the Group Search facility?

What do you think?

iFind Discover Advanced Search


Monday, 26 July 2010

Sharing VuFind / Jangle with the University of Sussex

I've just finished helping Anirban Basu begin_of_the_skype_highlighting     end_of_the_skype_highlighting at the University of Sussex install and configure vuFind with the Talis Alto Jangle driver I'm currently developing. It's great to have another Talis installation on board as hopefully I'll be able to refine the driver even more, get more testing feedback and take advantage of someone else's skills!


Monday, 19 July 2010

Open Source Solutions - 20 Minutes

If you're lucky, one of the benfits of Open Source projects will be your user community. Working with VuFind, I have benefitted greatly from advice from the community when attempting to make improvements to iFind Discover. In the meantime, I have also improved my own skills. A case in point - the addtion of an Or Filter to the basic search page. I sent a message to the community, I almost instantly had two interested parties and between us, by firing off ideas and sharing code, we came up with a solution in 20 minues!


Thursday, 15 July 2010

Intellectual Property Rights

In accordance with JISC requirements, the case study report and all other JISC project outputs will be published using the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike UK 2.0: England and Wales license.

Code changes made by the project which are incorporated into VuFind will be release as part of that product under the GNU general public licence version 2.

Risk analysis and success plan

Risks for the case study were identified as:

1. Staff retention. Probability (1-5) 1, Severity (1-5) 3, Score (PxS) 3.

Action to prevent/manage risk: Second other staff to the project.

2. Changing environment. Probability (1-5) 1, Severity (1-5) 3, Score (PxS) 3.

Action to prevent/manage risk: The substantive project for the development of VuFind is well underway, and commitment and funds for completion are secured. Any late changes to the scope of the main project will be reflected in the project output.

Success Plan:

Output from the case study will be publically available online, to be consulted without any need for effort from the project staff. Within reasonable limits, library support staff will be available to deal with queries about the product.

It is hoped that code from the development work on VuFind will be incorporated into the main product, and thus be readily available and supported by the wider VuFind community.

Benefits - to us and the wider community

Benefits from the iFind Discover project

The iFind Discover project should deliver a shared discovery platform for resources held within the libraries of Swansea University, Swansea Metropolitan University and Trinity University College, along with integration with e-resource discovery using MetaLib. As well as integrating the three catalogues, the platform should be a significant improvement in design and functionality on those currently in use.

This is a sub-project within the wider Virtual Academic Library project under the SWWHEP umbrella, and aims to facilitate some of the other deliverables, in particular reciprical borrowing and document delivery between institutions. It will help open up a greater range of resources to students and staff of the three institutions in a more seamless and user-friendly way than has been available up to the present.

The universities will also benefit from the experience of implementing an open source project within the library, which is likely to be of value given the growing number of open source products coming onto the market, up to and including full library management systems.

Benefits to the wider academic community

Any institution which is considering implemention VuFind, or another open-source discovery platform, is likely to benefit from the experiences of the SWWHEP project. Additionally, in parts of the UK higher education sector, such as Wales, there is increasing pressure on HE institutions to collaborate in order to save costs while still delivering better service. The use of a modern, open-source, discovery platform which has been enhanced to integrate services from separate institutional systems may be very relevant to other collaborative projects driven by this agenda.

The case study will also cover the project’s potential contribution to the core VuFind product, thus making the multi-system functionality readily available to any collaborative resource discovery project which chooses this product.

Aims, objectives and final output of iFind Case Study

The principal aim of this project is to deliver a case study on the SWWHEP implementation of VuFind as a shared discovery platform, which will include:

• A detailed report on evaluation of products, technical implementation, with clarifications on resources committed, timescale and new functionality added to the VuFind product (all of which is being fed back into the open source community).

• An overview of user feedback from beta testing & the initial release, along with details of how any user concerns were / are being addressed.

• A full 'Lessons Learned' evaluation, including recommendations for other institutions undertaking similar products, and recommendations resulting from the project.

• Material will be prepared for contribution to a public event as per the JISC requirements.

The objective in producing the case study is to provide further understanding of the processes and pitfalls in the implementation of open-source software in a collaborative environment, with the possibility of applying the lessons learned in future, possibly larger, projects of this nature.