Beyond Federated Search Redux

It started with a post by Carl Grant on the Federated Search Blog: Beyond Federated Search – Winning the Battle and Losing the War?. I bookmarked this in Delicious and copied this extended quote from the text into the bookmark:

I’ve long argued that librarianship on top of digital information is about the authority/authenticity/appropriateness of the information provided to the user, as opposed to the overwhelming amounts of information available via other search tools that don’t provide that differentiation. In order to meet those tests, one thing that is clear is that libraries and librarians should never cede control to other organizations over the content they offer to their end-users. It doesn’t matter if that happens because the content providers fail to provide access via federated search, or whether the library has allowed third party organizations to determine what content they can access via a local index discovery tool. Ceding this control cripples the ability of a library to build unique and precise informational offerings that target the needs of their end-users.

This in turn got pulled into my FriendFeed stream and the ensuing discussion seemed too valuable to let sit there, so I’m creating this post with those replies and adding a little bit more of my own thoughts. (Since all of these were public comments, I believe it is good nettiquete to reproduce them here with attribution. If not, please let me know…particularly if you are one of the people quoted!)

Open Library Environment Project Picks Up the Pace

Participants in the design phase of the OLE Project met in Lawrence, Kansas, earlier this month for a week-long work session. Coming out of the session are several documents that form the foundational elements of the report to be published and delivered to Mellon in July. Interested parties are invited and encouraged to sign up for the project update webinar to be held on March 31st from 3:00pm to 4:30pm (Eastern time). There will be a project update at the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) Task Force Meeting on April 7th. Those in the midwest might also be interested in the Indianapolis OLE Workshop on April 22nd.

FulfILLment from Equinox Selected for Statewide Resource Sharing System

This is an announcement posted by the State Library of Ohio regarding the selection of FulfILLment from Equinox for a statewide resource sharing system.

OPEN SOURCE STATEWIDE RESOURCE SHARING SYSTEM PROPOSAL FROM EQUINOX HAS BEEN ACCEPTED.

The State Library of Ohio is pleased to announce Equinox Software Inc. has been selected to develop a new open source resource sharing solution called Equinox FulfILLment. The goal of the project is to develop a seamless resource sharing application under an open source licensing framework in an environment of disparate integrated library systems (ILSs).

Anatomy of the Zotero Library to RSS Feed Pipe

Note! A new feature on the Zotero website does away with the need to use this Yahoo! Pipe. RSS feeds are now generated by the Zotero website itself. Read more about it on the Zotero blog.

Last week I posted about a Yahoo Pipes construct that turns a Zotero website library into an RSS feed. As Dan Cohen noted in a twitter response to the posting, the Zotero team is planning to add an RSS capability in a future release of the website, so this pipe will ultimately be usurped by that capability, but in the meantime it is a handy tool. It was my first full-scale foray into creating a Yahoo Pipes construct from scratch, so I thought it would be useful to document how it works (in case I need to do something similar again). You might find this useful, too; especially the part about how to put a pubDate element into the RSS feed.

Can We Outsource the Preservation of Digital Bits?

A colleague forwarded an article from The Register with news of a new service from Iron Mountain for Cloud-Based File Archiving. It is billed as a “storage archiving service designed to help companies reduce costs of storing and managing static data files.” My place of work is facing an increasing need large-scale digital preservation storage with the acquisition of a large collection of music and the conversion of our educational videos from physical DVD preservation to digital preservation. We’re talking terabytes of content that is we need to keep in its archival form — uncompressed, high quality media files (not the lower quality, derivatives for day-to-day access). It doesn’t make sense to keep that on expensive SAN storage, of course, so this article struck me at just the right time to consider alternatives.

Zotero Library to RSS Feed

Note! A new feature on the Zotero website does away with the need to use this Yahoo! Pipe. RSS feeds are now generated by the Zotero website itself. Read more about it on the Zotero blog.

Earlier this week, the Zotero team released its 1.5 Beta version. Among the much anticipated features is the ability to synchronize citations among computers and with a display at the Zotero website. And if you set the profile permissions on the website, anyone can view your display of citations as well. As Dan Cohen, Director of the Center for History and New Media where Zotero is being created, points out, it is fun to see what others have added to their Zotero library. You might even want to watch what others have saved to their library. That is where this Zotero-to-RSS mashup comes in.

PHP Script for hCalendar to iCalendar Conversion

I try to do the “right thing” in postings on DLTJ. In the context of this discussion “right” is an attempt to be progressive: including hCalendar microformat markup for postings that include mention of events. The latest example of this was yesterday’s posting of the Learning, Libraries and Technology Conference. Embedded in the first paragraph is markup that another application reading the DLTJ feed can use to understand that the posting is talking about an event. (The Technorati Events” service is one example.) The key parts of the HTML are bolded below:

Specifications for Object Reuse and Exchange (ORE) published

ORE Logo The first production version of the Object Reuse and Exchange from the Open Archives Initiative was published today. In the words of the release announcement, ORE provides “the foundation for applications and services that can visualize, preserve, transfer, summarize, and improve access to the aggregations that people use in their daily Web interaction: including multiple page Web documents, multiple format documents in institutional repositories, scholarly data sets, and online photo and music collections.”

Test Driving Lumifi

Earlier this week, Lumifi Inc. announced a new version of their research platform “to better serve students, professionals and others in dealing with information overload.” Lumifi is a private corporation based in Maryland, and this is their second major release of their service. (The first was announced in January 2008.) I didn’t see the first interface so I can’t compare it to the earlier effort, but on the whole I am unimpressed. There may be some new magic happening behind the scenes here, but it is hidden in an awful interface that is very difficult to get past.