Kia ora koutou,

Any attempt at actually doing this is far beyond my capabilities or resources but I feel strongly that there’s a need for this, so I’m thinking aloud about whether it’s actually practical – would love anyone else’s thoughts!

To date there’ve been a number of successful open-source catalogue systems – Koha, Evergreen, the current FOLIO project. Discovery layers seem to have been left out of scope of all of these.

My impression is that the main reason for this is the problem of the metadata index. Metadata is hoarded by for-profit vendors; some of them only grudgingly work with the Big Discover Layer companies under strict conditions (and possibly with money changing hands, I don’t know…) so would be unlikely to just hand it over to a community project. No metadata, no discovery layer.

But more and more, metadata is becoming available through other sources. Crossref is the biggest and most obvious, and then there’s hundreds or thousands of institutional repositories. So my thought is, is it now becoming possible to create an index at least tolerably suitable for an open-source discovery layer, using open-access metadata sources?

And if so… how hard would it be?

What are the “must have” components (index; search interface; API/integrations so the library can index its own holdings from whatever ILS it uses, and harvest from institutional repositories; API/integrations to display real-time availability of said holdings; OpenURL to link out to link resolvers; institution accounts if cloud-hosted so the library can configure this stuff plus look-and-feel; some way for librarians to contribute corrections to faulty metadata…)

And what are the “nice to have” components (link resolver functionality? Citation trails? …)


Deborah Fitchett
Head of Department: Digital Services

Library, Teaching and Learning – Te Wharepϋrβkau
PO Box 85064, Lincoln University
Lincoln 7647, Christchurch, New Zealand
+64 3 423 0358
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Lincoln University
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