Our blue-skies library ‘un-project’ (which is still codenamed Jerome) took a significant step forward this week, as Nick Jackson has described on the Jerome blog. Thanks to some clever Horizon-wrangling code (courtesy of Dave Pattern at the University of Huddersfield), Jerome will soon provide searchable access to the whole library catalogue of the University of Lincoln ~ some 300,000 bibliographic records.
Then, hopefully, things will start to get interesting:
Our own catalogue MARC records aren’t the only sources of data that we’re throwing Jerome’s way. We’re also going to tell it to pull records from the Lincoln Repository, through the OAI-PMH* metadata-harvesting protocol. And, via the JournalTOCs API, we can give Jerome access to RSS feeds of the tables of contents for many of our full-text subscription and open access electronic journals. For all resources, we’ll then take a look at what open data and record-enrichment (e.g. book cover images) we can grab from elsewhere on the Web to bolster search results.
Also worth reading is Nick’s explanation about what we’ll do with these aggregated search results, once they’re in our clutches:
“Finally, our big new announcement for the next Really Cool And Epically Awesome bit of Jerome: the somewhat boringly named Relevancy Engine. This is something we’ve been toying with the notion of for a while, but we’ve finally worked out how to do it and how it fits into the big plan. In short, it will do its best to make sure that what you get at the top of your search results is exactly what you’re looking for. It takes variables such as the books you’ve borrowed in the past, how long they’ve been out for, which course you’re doing, what year you’re in, borrowing habits of others on your course, past borrowing trends, your physical location, how many books you currently have out, the time of day and even the weather (who wants to walk to the library when it’s raining?) and uses them to subtly adjust which resources we present to you at any given moment. If the library is closed, ebooks will drift up your search results. Everybody on your course borrowing a specific book? It’s a fair bet that’s what you want, even if there are more specific title matches for your search. Postgraduate student? You’re probably more interested in journals than a fresher. These variables wil all be taken into account along with our search weighting (how ‘close’ a given item is to what you searched for ) when we work out the search rankings.”
*OAI-PMH = the “Open Archives Initiative – Protocol for Metadata Harvesting“. No, really.