Monday, April 7, 2008

Open Forum Recap 04/04

At last Friday's open forum, we showed several innovative tools and initiatives that are just getting started or are not quite scalable to our environment. We asked forum attendees to pay special attention to the features offered by each and to contrast them with the features offered by the commercial products demonstrated at the March open forum.

We began the by asking the following question: "Describe the best web-based service you've experienced. What made it excellent? What distinguished it from the crowd?" Leave a comment describing the best web-based service you've received. I'll post about the responses from the forum crowd a little later.

Next, Sue Dentinger demoed University of Virginia's Project Blacklight. Blacklight is a prototype of a faceted discovery tool for catalog data and beyond. So far, they have indexed 3.7 million MARC records, a 500 text object subset from their digital collections repository, and 320 Tang Dynasty Chinese poems. Blacklight, like VuFind, is based on Solr/Lucene.

Our second demonstration, presented by Allan Barclay, was LibraryThing for Libraries. LibraryThing for Libraries enriches the catalog by drawing on content contributed by the collective intelligence of LibraryThing members. LibraryThing for Libraries adds book recommendations, tag clouds, and links to other editions and translations of a work to the OPAC. Allan showed us LibraryThing for Libraries implementations at the Danbury Public Library and San Francisco State University.

Albert Quattrucci showed us Scriblio, an open source OPAC based on WordPress, a blog publishing platform. Scriblio includes several innovative features, like Google Book Search integration and a "text this to your cellphone" option. Albert showed us Plymouth State University's implementation of Scriblio.

Finally, I showed the demo version of the Open Library. The Open Library is an open source project of the Internet Archive and is financially supported by Brewster Kahle. Aaron Swartz, who co-authored RSS when he was 14 years old, is the project's leader. The goal of the Open Library is to create at least one wiki-like Web page for every book ever published. The Open Library will be truly free to the people in that everyone will have the ability to create, catalog, and contribute content.

The forum ended with a brief discussion of the scope of resource discovery. How can we make other UW-Madison collections, like museum holdings and departmental resources, more findable and accessible?

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