For those who missed it, there was a post yesterday on Web4Lib by Eric Morgan about the OCKHAM projects offerings. You can read the post for full details but I’ll list some things here that caught my attention about each. The three offerings are:
- OCKHAM Alerting Service – simple search interface for OAI that includes html and rss output
- MyLibrary at OCKHAM – OAI search enhanced with thesaurus, related links, etc.
- OCKHAM Spell Web Service – simple REST interface to spelling suggestions in XML format
First, the alert service. For the developers here you will probably be interested in the PERL code they have available as much as the service itself. They include modules to harvest and index OAI data, handle SRU requests and parse CQL. The three modules can be downloaded from the site of CPAN. There’s sample searches listed but you can do your own search using the search box in the top left. What caught my eye was how simple the URL structure for the RSS links are. It would only require a few changes to the RSS file to be OpenSearch compliant. They would also need a description file but that is fairly trivial. The URL structure itself would need really no change. It would be nice to limit the results or paginate however, but this is on the list of to-do so should be coming. Also the RSS feed doesn’t seem to be sent with xml mime type so it doesn’t parse in my Firefox atleast.
Second is the My Library. All I can say is nice. I like the features and they should be in any OPAC. I actually had a similar working version for my III OPAC, at least the thesaurus one. I used WordNet in my own database and did some manipulations from there. The similar content feature is already in our OPAC as Related or something, though I’m unsure of how well it works.
This brings me to the Spell Webservice which I think will come in handy. Setting up WordNet in my database was a pain and then writing all the SQL was another. Having a webservice for a needed service like this will be a boon. I’m just surprised someone (like Google) hasn’t already done it.
Plenty of other things at the OCKHAM site to look at. Hopefully it will give some ideas for things people are doing. Unfortunately I have more ideas than time.