Friday, November 21, 2008

Better 404 Pages

Good idea from Dean Frickey writing in A List Apart (the other ALA), A More Useful 404.
Encountering 404 errors is not new. Often, developers provide custom 404 pages to make the experience a little less frustrating. However, for a custom 404 page to be truly useful, it should not only provide relevant information to the user, but should also provide immediate feedback to the developer so that, when possible, the problem can be fixed.

To accomplish this, I developed a custom 404 page that can be adapted to the look and feel of the website it’s used on and uses server-side includes (SSI) to execute a Perl script that determines the cause of the 404 error and takes appropriate action.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Authority Record Access

Why doesn't LC offer Z39.50 access to the authority files? How about their other thesauri, like the Thesaurus For Graphic Materials? Easy access to these files would be useful. Maybe Z39.50 is "so yesterday" and SRU/SRW or an API is the answer. These are rich resources and access would be useful in ways we can't yet imagine. How about other institutions? AAT or the NASA Thesaurus, or... would be useful. This is not only about bibliographic access, but has wider issues in a Semantic Web environment.

[Later] OCLC does provide access via their Terminologies Project, see the comment for full details.

[21 Nov. 2008] Someone sent me a note saying that the Voyager software used does not support Z39.50 access to the authority records. That they are not a separate database and have very little indexing. Do check out the comments for some useful information.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

RSS for TOCs

RSS and Scholarly Journal Tables of Contents: the ticTOCs Project, and Good Practice Guidelines for Publishers by Lisa Rogers provides some advise based on experience.
Publishers are using various versions of feeds such as RSS 1.0, RSS 2.0, RSS 0.91 and Atom. RSS 0.91 and RSS 2.0 are very simple XML formats, and typically only contain the fields for title, description and link. However, RSS 1.0 can easily be extended by the use of modules so as to not only deliver the content, but also provide structured metadata. One such module for extended RSS 1.0 is the Publishing Requirements for Industry Standard Metadata (PRISM) module. A variety of publishers such as Nature Publishing Group (6), Inderscience (7) and SAGE (8) are already using PRISM along with Dublin Core Metadata to provide rich metadata in their RSS feeds.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Comment on RDA

Form for comments from the US about RDA.

Koha User Group Meeting

On April 16-17th there will be a Koha innovations and sharing group in Plano Texas (suburb of Dallas/Fort Worth). The 2 day workshop would have lab access and presentation space. There would be a charge to cover lunch both days and other expenses. Any leftover money would be given to the KUDOS users group as seed money. Anticipated cost $100.

Algorithms for Clustering Tags

Clustering Tags in Enterprise and Web Folksonomies by Simpson, Edwin will be published and presented at the International Conference on Weblogs & Social Media, Seattle, March 31st, 2008 (HPL-2008-18 )
Tags lack organizational structure limiting their utility for navigation. We present two clustering algorithms that improve this by organizing tags automatically. We apply the algorithms to two very different datasets, visualize the results and propose future improvements.

Monday, November 17, 2008

RDA Draft

The full draft of RDA is now available for comment. Comments needed.

Indexing Tool

Library catalogs these days are mostly ralational databases and related indexes. LuSql is a tool to create an index from a relational databse.
LuSql is a simple but powerful tool for building Lucene indexes from relational databases. It is a command-line Java application for the construction of a Lucene index from an arbitrary SQL query of a JDBC-accessible SQL database. It allows a user to control a number of parameters, including the SQL query to use, individual indexing/storage/term-vector nature of fields, analyzer, stop word list, and other tuning parameters. In its default mode it uses threading to take advantage of multiple cores.

LuSql can handle complex queries, allows for additional per record sub-queries, and has a plug-in architecture for arbitrary Lucene document manipulation. Its only dependencies are three Apache Commons libraries, the Lucene core itself, and a JDBC driver.

LuSql has been extensively tested, including a large 6+ million full-text & article metadata document collection, producing an 86GB Lucene index.Lots of the Code4Lib folks are working with Lucene indexes.


Adding semantic mark-up to text is something the cataloger in me always finds good. Microformats, XML, or RDF all make searches more precise. Lemon8-XML is a tool to chamge scholarly papers in MS Word or Open Office formats into XML. Sweet idea.
Lemon8-XML is a web-based application designed to make it easier for non-technical editors and authors to convert scholarly papers from typical word-processor editing formats such as MS-Word .DOC and OpenOffice .ODT, into publishing layout formats such as the open, industry-standard NLM Journal Publishing XML format.

To use Lemon8-XML, you don't need to understand XML, all you need is a little time and a general understanding of how scholarly articles are structured. In general, this means a document with:

  1. some information about the article and authors at the top
  2. usually an abstract
  3. several sections, often titled "introduction", "methods", "results", etc.
  4. optional figures or tables, either in-text or as appendices
  5. a list of references or citations in a standardized format (eg. MLA, APA, etc.)
It is from the Public Knowledge Project.