My colleague Sean Crowe and I have written a simple Rails engine with models for the Postgresql database backend to Innovative Interfaces Inc. Sierra ILS. Within a host rails app, it can be used to spin up mediated access to the database via Ruby objects. With a few additional controllers, it would also be straightforward to enable the serialization of database contents over http via json or xml. Though there is a pending release of API functionality for Sierra, this gem offers broader and more granular access to the database.
See the github repo: https://github.com/uclibs/active_sierra/
We’re both primarily tech services librarians, and our first use cases for this gem have focused on back-end workflow. For example, we’re developing a Rails app to track and report lost, missing, or long-overdue items in Sierra. With a rake task, a webapp will query Sierra monthly and build a local database of targeted item record numbers and values, which will be served to a site for use in making decisions about replacement. Other possible use cases could be record quality control reports.
Out of security concerns, we've purposefully excluded models for patron tables but we haven’t ruled out adding these once we can ensure the security of this data.
We still have some short-term development planned, but we noticed that the repo was getting some attention yesterday, and thought it would be a good time to share. Some of our planned work includes:
- Developing tests for the models and methods
- Adding more scopes and methods to abstract the tables (we have a goal of making our testing application backend as friendly as possible to other tech services staff, and so we’d like the code to be readable to anyone who is familiar with both MARC cataloging and III system conventions)
- Modeling additional tables
Please feel free to use, fork or contribute. We are very open to comments and suggestions (especially from experienced Rails developers who may be able to offer some perspective on our direction – we both started learning about Rails at Code4Lib2013).
And of course we welcome any questions.
James Van Mil
Collections & Electronic Resources Librarian
University of Cincinnati Libraries
[log in to unmask]