There are days that I feel like Tom Cruise. No, I have no idea what it is like to be married to Nicole Kidman or Katie Holmes and I don’t have the secrets of Scientology. Let me rephrase: there are days that I feel like Jerry Macguire, the character Tom Cruise played in the movie by the same name. Have you seen it? Very early in the movie there is a scene where Jerry’s life as a top-tier sports agent is crumbling. He is on the phone with what turns out to be his last client — desperately trying to keep his business. The athlete (Cuba Gooding Jr. — I have no idea what it is like to be him either) gets Jerry to scream “Show Me The Money!” into the phone as a precondition for remaining his agent. In that vein, here is what I’m screaming into this PowerBook. (Imagine now that I am dancing around the room and standing on top of desks — not really a stretch for those that have seen my presentation style, I’ll admit.)
Recent posts by Richard Wallis and Paul Miller, both of Talis (a 40-year-old company in the U.K. specializing in information and metadata management), question a perceived division of library automation vendor technical staff with that of open source solution technical staff. I wasn’t at Code4Lib this year (I’m going to try to get there next year), but from the context of the blog postings and comments it seems like the Talis developers were showing some really cool stuff and concern was expressed by participants that they don’t want to see Code4Lib turned into a vendor forum.
This is a summary of a presentation by James L. Hilton, Vice President and CIO of University of Virginia, at the opening keynote session of Open Repositories 2007. I tried to capture the esessence of his presentation, and omissions, contradictions, and inaccuracies in this summary are likely mine and not that of the presenter.
Setting the stage
This is a moment in which institutions may be willing to invest in open source development in a systematic way (as opposed to what could currently be characterized as an ad hoc fashion) driven by these factors:
Sometimes the best way to solve a programming problem is to see how others have done the same thing. When that happens, having immediate access to the various search engines helps get you back on track quickly. Here are OpenSearch plug-ins (suitable for Firefox and MSIE7) that will search the Java code in five of the more popular source code search engines.
Sandy Payette, Co-Director of the Fedora Project and Researcher in the Cornell Information Science department, announced a tentative date for the release 2.2 of the FEDORA digital object repository.
The Fedora development team would like to announce that Fedora 2.2 will be released on Friday, January 19, 2007.
This new release will contain many significant new features and enhancements, including [numbers added to the original for the sake of subsequent commentary]:
- Fedora repository is now a web application (.war) that can be installed in any container
- Fedora authentication has been refactored to use servlet filters (no longer Tomcat realms)
Recently, I was asked to outline a plan for a structured process for software development that maximizes productivity and reduces bugs that reach the user. This was originally an internal OhioLINK document, but the process described is pretty traditional and others might find a use for this as well. You are welcome to use this; please honor the Creative Commons licensing terms and contact me in advance if you need something different.
Creating Applications in Four Tiers
Let’s start first with a description of the four tiers for software development.
The August 2006 edition of “The DPubS Report” produced by Cornell University Libraries for the DPubS community announced work underway at the Penn State to bridge the worlds of FEDORA. Here is the line from the newsletter:and
--------------------------------------------------------------------------SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT UPDATE--------------------------------------------------------------------------[...]NEAR-TERM SCHEDULED WORK[...]* Penn State is working on Fedora interoperability. The plan is tohave that capability in the September release, with a working versionfor testing in late August.
The newsletter goes on to say that the work will be made available under an open source license, so I for one can’t wait to see what it looks like and how we might apply it to our own needs.
At any point in time, there is a college IT director trying to determine whether to upgrade, migrate away from, or stay the course with some software package that the faculty and students rely on to meet their instructional needs. A campus may have outgrown the basic CMS, and the Enterprise version is now needed to bring system performance back to an acceptable level. The CMS provider may have changed code base, requiring major staff retraining to follow the migration path. Costs could be up, service could be down, and new third party tools may not easily integrate. Yet even faced with all of these potential reasons to change, making the decision to do so is never easy. User communities hate change, hate training, and hate repurposing earlier content to work in a new environment.
One of the DRC developers had a question recently that sparked a discussion about what to do with collections of objects. In order to answer the question of how to represent the notion of a collection within the repository, we’re going to have to get pretty heavy into RDF: the Resource Description Framework. RDF is a language created by the Worldwide Web Consortium “for representing information about resources in the World Wide Web.” If you already know about RDF — or just want to see what a proposed solution is — you can skip down to the “RDF for Collections in FEDORA” heading.
Tom Wilson, LITA past president and all-around insightful posted a commentary to the “Where have all the programmers gone?” post that deserves top billing 1. Please read and digest it before coming back here. And it’s not late to the party at all, Tom — I believe it is only now just getting interesting.Trendster,