When you talk about the OPAC, do you want them to be working with a full
ILS or really just the front-end piece? If it's just the patron-facing
search, you could probably do worse than to install Blacklight. It
probably doesn't really meet the "simple" criteria - there's a lot more to
it than I could talk about. But getting it out of the box, turned on, and
searching against a few records is something that you and students could
probably manage. I've got a year of unix/ssh/command line experience and
with a bit of mucking about, googling, and asking for help I was able to
get a local (non-production) instance up and running, so it's definitely
By the way, this looks like an awesome survey class. The headaches it
would have saved me if someone had covered this stuff 10 years ago when I
was in school, instead of teaching me how to search DIALOG!
Joe Montibello, MLIS
Library Systems Manager
Dartmouth College Library
[log in to unmask]
On 8/2/12 1:54 PM, "David E Mussulman" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>I teach an intro to IT survey class for the LIS school at Illinois. The
>one-major-topic-a-week syllabus doesn't really give us time to deep dive
>into IT topics, but it lets us explore them and give contextual
>understanding to the building block pieces. Ideally, every topic has
>some sort of hands-on exercise that gives real life experience with the
>concepts/technologies. The exercises are usually independent, but I've
>been kicking around the idea of using a simple OSS OPAC to teach
>different elements of the class as a semester-long big cascading lesson.
>Lesson: Linux, ssh and the command shell
>Exercise: Installing Ubuntu, getting comfortable with that environment
>Lesson: OSS and software ecosystems
>Exercise: Get a LAMP stack setup on the OS, install the OPAC
>Lesson: Interfaces, usability, accessibility
>Exercise: Use the OPAC, populate it with some data, assess its usability
>Exercise: Use CSS to skin the OPAC, customize the HTML for your "site"
>Lesson: Data management, search, IR
>Exercise: See if we can peak under the hood about how the OPAC's search
>Lesson: Interfaces to data: databases, XML, SQL
>Exercise: Use the OPAC as an living example to work with those interfaces
>Lesson: Cloud computing, 2.0/social network integration
>Exercise: Not sure yet...
>This idea primarily came from trying to get some simple XML/SQL
>exercises that didn't suck (the setup for these environments is almost
>as involved as any exercises itself), and the fact the previous classes
>really liked dissecting the nextgen catalogs we've explored from a
>software selection and 2.0 integration perspective.
>But here's the catch, and this is why I need your experience, Code4Lib.
>I'm not an OPAC admin, and have no experience running or hacking them.
>I'm looking for recommendations for software that would help me with the
>goals above, without being too difficult or overwhelming for the
>students or me. :) It doesn't have to be a good/complete OPAC,
>necessarily -- just a teaching tool to give experience with the lessons
>Should I be looking at koha and evergreen and the big ones, or are there
>small projects that you're aware of that might be better? My preference
>would be MySQL and PHP, but as long as the supplemental tools and
>documentation are good, I'm flexible. For example, if there are tools as
>good as phpmyadmin to browse postgresql, I don't think it really
>matters. I'm willing to sacrifice "good" for "simple and transparent". I
>don't think Rails is a good place to go with this because I don't want
>to teach MVC/Rails. (Maybe I'm wrong?)
>Oh, and I'd also like a small project with great documentation, but I've
>been around OSS long enough to know that's a diamond in the rough.
>Sadly, the reality is (for most of these exercises) if the project
>documentation is lacking, I'll have to write that as well.
>What are your thoughts on this endeavor? Any recommendations? Thanks!
>PS. This is not a job ad posting. ;)