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CODE4LIB  December 2003

CODE4LIB December 2003

Subject:

Re: useful projects?

From:

Michael D Doran <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Code for Libraries <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 15 Dec 2003 11:45:49 -0600

Content-Type:

text/plain

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text/plain (93 lines)

> I'm kind of
> curious to know what others feel are some of the #1 all-time best uses
> to which they have applied their programming chops. In other words, if
> programming skills are useful in libraries, what are they useful for?

I'm glad you asked.  ;-)  My two favorite projects...

1) The New Books List [1]
This is an unofficial add-on module to our library management system
(Endeavor's Voyager).  This app fully automates the process of providing
users a web-based list of new items in the library.  It is written in Perl
and consists of a database extraction program and a CGI script that displays
the extracted data via the web.  It has gone through numerous version
changes and now includes enhancements such as a multilingual interface.  It
was released as open source software to the Voyager community and is now
being used by over 250 libraries in 33 states and 6 countries.

2) ShelfCheck [2]
Another unofficial LMS add-on module.  In this case, I wanted to explore
applications for wireless-enabled handheld devices.  With this server-based
web app (written in Perl, natch) a user can enter two barcodes and it will
generate a real-time shelf list with added goodies such as the item status,
historical charges and browses, etc.  The kind of information *I* might want
if I was in the stacks weeding, or shelf reading, or doing an inventory.
(I'm hoping to release this app as open source, but it's currently stuck in
intellectual property limbo.)

These are both projects that, from a programming perspective, could have
been written by any competent Perl programmer.  (In fact, could have been
written *better* by a competent Perl programmer.)  To a large degree, they
owe their existence to a programmer having one foot in the library world and
one in the IT world.  By way of background, I have a library degree and
worked for eight years as a reference librarian and bibliographer before
moving over to the IT side of things.  When you mix together curiosity with
a knowledge of programming, databases, library work flows, and MARC record
structure, it's possible to cook up some interesting things.

> (Alternatively, what projects would you like to undertake if the time
> and/or skills were available?)

Future project: A web-based mini-OPAC for wireless-enabled handhelds.  I'm
really excited about the opportunities for extending access to library
applications out to mobile computing users.

-- Michael

[1] http://rocky.uta.edu/doran/autolist/

[2] http://rocky.uta.edu/doran/shelfcheck/


#  Michael Doran, Systems Librarian
#  University of Texas at Arlington
#  817-272-5326 office
#  817-239-5368 cell
#  [log in to unmask]
#  http://rocky.uta.edu/doran/



> -----Original Message-----
> From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf Of
> John Durno
> Sent: Friday, December 12, 2003 7:41 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: [CODE4LIB] useful projects?
>
>
> Now that we've mostly agreed that it's probably useful for at least
> some librarians to know something about programming, I'm kind of
> curious to know what others feel are some of the #1 all-time best uses
> to which they have applied their programming chops. In other words, if
> programming skills are useful in libraries, what are they useful for?
>
> Now, I think I know the general answers to that question, and I'm
> familiar with, say, the impressive list of tools and projects over at
> oss4lib, but I'm more interested here in projects that are specific to
> your library (or other organization). What programming-type projects
> have you undertaken that really had some benefit in that context?
> (Alternatively, what projects would you like to undertake if the time
> and/or skills were available?)
>
>
> John Durno
> Project Coordinator
> BC Electronic Library Network
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> Phone: 604-431-3024
> Toll free: 1-800-663-1663 x3024
> Fax: 604-431-3381
> Email:   [log in to unmask]
> Web: http://www.eln.bc.ca
>

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