Technical issues

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Michael Rücker: how to create a global OPAC?

Something I find very interesting and worth investigating is the unification of search engines and databases. It’s a utopia, but what I want is a single search interface for all libraries and article databases worldwide. Is that even possible? Does it have disadvantages? What would you have to do (in theory) to accomplish something like that?

Michael Rücker

Michael Rathai: How to make library software more independent?

A big concern for me as head of the digital library department in the GBV library consortium is to support my colleagues to make better software for OUR libraries and we quite often feel kind of hindered by existing software solutions, partly quite monolithic old-fashioned systems we are bound to use. And the companies providing this software in fact react quite often only very slowly to our demands.

So I am happy that in the last 5 years we have build up our own development group using open source sw (vufind, solr, lucene, shibboleth). It is a good start, but there is still a long way to go and cyc4lib I’d like to use to think and talk about how we can improve this process, how we can become much more independent from the big providers and what can I do to help make both libraries and ourselves more brave to dare to use these open source solutions. Some libraries already are doing that by their own, some don’t dare and some simply don’t have the resources to do so. One chance with cyc4lib for me is to meet a lot of people from libraries worldwide and I hope to get a lot of stimuli from you and a better understanding of the libraries situation wrt. to my questions mentioned here.

Michael Rathai

Till Kinstler: understanding libraries for better software development

I do software development for libraries. I help them getting on the web, to become part of this great, global virtual library and be usable for people on the net.

Over the years I have built up a broad knowledge on technology, data formats, processes, work flows etc. in libraries. But sometimes I feel, I still don’t understand how libraries really work and what they really do 🙂 (beyond the obvious, like lending books, giving reference, helping to find knowledge resources etc.). How do libraries “see” themselves? What is their spirit, what drives them? In my daily work at a service centre of a library consortium I only get a limited and filtered view of libraries. So understanding libraries better, will help me making better software for libraries.

I think, cycling for libraries will be a great opportunity to get more insight into these questions.

Till Kinstler
Gemeinsamer Bibliotheksverbund (GBV)

Patrick Otton: 5 questions to the libraryworld

Questions for the library world. Here are some that I like to think about:

  1. Since I work for a library software company that is vigorously trying to emulate the google experience in their primary discovery tool: Primo, why not just let Google purchase Ex Libris and let Google develop a library app? Call it GoogleLibrary: All content, all the time, in an interface that works! Google knows how to index, Google knows hardware and software, why should Ex Libris be doing this task? I would not mind a few adds. The only possible downside would be the supremacy of But, why couldn’t become
  2. We all live in a democracy. The basis for democracy is the freedom of access to information. Why not install a wikileaks app on all library home pages. An automatic feed of all the information that we should know about, the hidden agendas of the corporate world, the secrets of governments, the power of lobbyists, whatever the military doing? etc, etc.
  3. How can libraries be agents of change? Especially, at this time of global environmental change. Can libraries be a grassroots groundswell demanding the end of the corporate dominance of our existence? End advertizing, (adverse teasing), consumerism, single stream consumption, and our present environmental disasters?
  4. Libraries are dying. What is the future of the library?
  5. Libraries are single modal: primarily addressing the needs of the rich, educated, mobile, northern white society. Maybe at best addressing a small percentage of the global population which by September will hit 7 billion people. So, what about the non library user? Those people who do not even know that a library exists but are perhaps the most in need in terms of access and knowledge. We’ll pass non-library users on our ride. What can we do for them?

I don’t have any answers. Looking forward to sharing some ideas.

Patrick Otton

Arto Teräs: How can libraries collaborate with museums and archives in the digital domain?

The Finnish National Digital Library public interface will offer a uniform view to digital content in libraries, museums and archives. Custom views for various purposes can also be created. On a wider scale, Europeana provides access to content on European level. This offers great new possibilities for collaboration between participating organizations.
I am interested for example in the following questions:

  • Which challenges (especially related to digital content) are common between libraries, museums and archives, and which are unique to libraries?
  • What can libraries give to museums and archives and vice versa?
  • How can we best take advantage of the new user interface? What kind of custom views could be useful?
  • What kind of new experiences can we offer to customers by combining the content and knowledge of libraries, museums and archives?

Arto Teräs
CSC — IT Center for Science Ltd