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CODE4LIB  August 2011

CODE4LIB August 2011

Subject:

Re: [lita-l] Seeking feedback on database design for an open source software registry

From:

Peter Murray <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Code for Libraries <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 2 Aug 2011 18:55:20 -0400

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text/plain (65 lines)

This is great feedback, Lori.  Based on this and other feedback that I've gotten, I'm going to remove this functionality from the specifications.  The gist of what I heard was that the added complexity was not worth the benefit -- particularly for large systems like ILSs and when it is difficult to precisely nail down the definition of a feature/characteristic.  (Yeah, they were the same thing; I couldn't think of the word "feature" as I was building the diagram.)  

A suggestion I heard instead was to create a "Feature" URL that each package can populate on its page (http://dltj.org/temporary/registry-mockups/package.html for example) that points to the community's list of features.  This is actually more in keeping with the underlying philosophy of the registry -- pointers to an open source community's resources rather than trying to form and sustain a community at the registry itself.

As envisioned, maintainers of a package would keep information up-to-date.  Technically, changes to any data in the registry would be open to anyone who registers for an account (with appropriate controls for spam).  

Thanks for the discussion, and please keep the comments coming…


Peter

On Aug 1, 2011, at 6:59 PM, Lori Bowen Ayre wrote:
> 
> Hi Peter,
> 
> The characteristics could get quite unwieldly, couldn't they?  For example, I've got a draft list of Evergreen features that contains hundreds of features.  I've grouped the features into functional categories.   I'm working on  the same thing for Koha.  The draft list of Evergreen features is currently a Google doc if you'd like to see it: http://bit.ly/jbVg48
> 
> Are you thinking of characteristics as something different from "features"?  And if so, how would they be different and who decides for each type of content?  
> 
> Also, how do you envision keeping this registry up-to-date?
> 
> =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-==-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
> Lori Bowen Ayre // 
> Library Technology Consultant / The Galecia Group
> Oversight Board & Communications Committee / Evergreen
> (707) 763-6869 // [log in to unmask]
> 
> Specializing in open source ILS solutions, RFID, filtering, 
> workflow optimization, and materials handling 
> =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
> 
> 
> 
> On Mon, Aug 1, 2011 at 1:22 PM, Peter Murray <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Colleagues -- please excuse the cross-posting; I've found the circle of people potentially interested in this was wider than I thought.
> 
> 
> As part of the Mellon Foundation grant funding the start-up of LYRASIS Technology Services, LTS is to produce a series of tools that enable libraries to decide whether open source is right for their environments.  I’ve put a page up on the Code4Lib wiki (http://wiki.code4lib.org/index.php/Decision_Support_Tools) describing the kinds of tools that will initially fall into this area.  After review by the LTS Advisory Panel and comments from the community, statements of work will be drafted for consultants to create these tools and the work will be let out for contract. The completed tools will be turned into web documents in the form of whitepapers, checklists, spreadsheets, etc., and published along with the open source software registry now under development. To encourage consultants to share their knowledge, we are considering allowing consultants to identify themselves in the text of the document (e.g. “Prepared for LYRASIS with funding from the 2011-2012 Mellon Foundation Open Source Support Grant by name of consultant.”)
> 
> With this background in mind, answers to these questions would be helpful:
> 
>        • Based on your experience and/or knowledge of open source software adoption, are there other tools or techniques that would be useful to document and make available?
>        • Do you have suggestions for consultants to approach to complete the work of creating these tools?
> 
> 
> Also, earlier post with the entity-relationship diagram generated a lot of good comments. Thanks to everyone for responding with observations about the design itself or with general questions about what we’re up to. Keep ‘em coming!
> 
> Based on that feedback, I’ve updated the diagram (http://wiki.code4lib.org/index.php/Registry_E-R_Diagram) to include entities for a Characteristic and a Characteristic_Value. The idea is that a Characteristic is like a label for a row in a comparison table, and that a Characteristic is associated with a particular Package Type. A Characteristic_Value is the answer to how a Package does or does not implement that Characteristic.
> 
> This might be easier to explain in a diagram. In a mockup of the package comparison page (http://dltj.org/temporary/registry-mockups/comparison.html), there is a list of Characteristics in the left-most column of the table followed across the page by Characteristic_Values for DSpace and Fedora. (The characteristics and values, as well as much of everything else in the mockups, are made-up data.) In this way we can have arbitrary Characteristics for each package type and allow them to be compared in a table like this. The values are strings, so no scoring or comparison is done; that is left as an exercise to the user depending on their own individual needs.
> 
> Speaking of mockups, that page and eight others can be found at http://dltj.org/temporary/registry-mockups/ . Hopefully you can start to see the correlation between the E-R diagram and how the system will work.
> 
> Comments and questions, both specific and general, are most welcome.
> 
> 
> Peter


-- 
Peter Murray         [log in to unmask]        tel:+1-678-235-2955                 
Ass't Director, Technology Services Development   http://dltj.org/about/
LYRASIS   --    Great Libraries. Strong Communities. Innovative Answers.
The Disruptive Library Technology Jester                http://dltj.org/ 
Attrib-Noncomm-Share   http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/

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