Open Library Scheduled Downtime (Completed)

By Anand Chitipothu

Open Library will be down from during the following time due to a scheduled power outage.

  • Tuesday, April  16 – 7:00AM to 12:00 noon
  • Wednesday, April 17 – 2:00PM to 7:00PM

Thank you for your cooperation.

 UPDATE 5:30PM PST: openlibrary.org is back online.

Rest in peace, Aaron Swartz

By Anand Chitipothu

Aaron Swartz committed suicide yesterday (Jan 11, 2013).

The Open Library wouldn’t exist without him. He wrote the backbone of the system you see today, hired the team that built the first version of the website.

He founded Demand Progress, which launched the campaign against the Internet censorship bills (SOPA/PIPA), coauthored the RSS 1.0 specification, cofounded the online news site Reddit, among many other good things.

His death is a great loss to all of us. May his soul rest in peace.

Scheduled Downtime (Completed)

By Anand Chitipothu

We’re planning for a scheduled downtime on Sunday, August 5 for migrating our database server to new hardware. Open Library will be unavailable for  about 3 hours during 7:00 PM PST – 10:00 PM PST. We’ll post here when the site’s back online.

UPDATE 8:40PM PST: The migration is  complete. Both openlibrary.org and covers.openlibrary.org are back online.

Reading lending library books on the Nook

By Mike McCabe

Our lending library books now work on the Nook!

If you can read online, try the ‘Read In Browser’ link on a borrowable book. This is simplest!  Otherwise, you’ll need a computer, with Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) installed.

Once you have ADE, here’s how to use it with your Nook:

  • Quit Digital Editions, if it’s running
  • Plug in the Nook, and start ADE
  • ADE should recognize the Nook, and offer to associate with it. Make sure you can see the Nook under ‘Bookshelves’ on the left. Ok!
  • Go to the borrow page and borrow a book in pdf or epub format.
  • If ADE is working properly, you should see your book!
  • Next, go to ‘Library View’ in ADE – in the upper left.
  • In the Library View, drag your new book over to the Nook icon under ‘Bookshelves.’
  • Quit ADE and eject your Nook.

To read on the Nook:

  • Go to your Library (on a Nook Color, do this by touching the bottom of the touchscreen)
  • Go to ‘my files’ – at the top – and open ‘Digital Editions’
  • Open your book! (if it says ‘sorry, can’t open this book’, try again.)

To return your book early so that others can borrow it:

  • Quit ADE if it’s running
  • Plug in your Nook and start ADE
  • Open ‘Library View’ and click ‘All Items’ on the left
  • On your book icon, there’s a drop down menu (a little triangle) in the upper left – select ‘Return Borrowed Item’
  • Open the Nook, in the bookshelf area on the left.
  • On your book icon – select ‘Return Borrowed Item’.
  • Your book should now be available to borrow again!

If you run into trouble, here’s a forum on the Barnes and Noble site about how to get ADE working with the Nook.

KohaCon 2011

By Noufal

Anand and I attended the Koha Conference in Thane, Mumbai earlier in November and spoke about Open Library. The conference took place from Oct 31 till 2 November. There was a hackfest following the event from 4th to 6th.

We missed the first day and presented our talk on the second day of the event. The first day had a number of interesting talks mainly about libraries shifting to Koha and about deployment issues. We spent our free time speaking to Robin Sheat, Dobrica Pavlinu i and Ian Walls among others about ways to tie up the Open Library data along with Koha installations. While the audience was somewhat small, it was truly international. There were folks from Kenya, Nigeria, France, the States, New Zealand, Australia, Croatia and of course various parts of India. We also met Savitra who apart from being a Koha developer, runs a Bangalore based company called OSS labs that provides hosted Koha instances for libraries.

We presented on the last day. Our slides are available at http://internetarchive.github.com/kohacon2011-presentation/. It was an introduction to Open Library, the data we have and some discussions on the API. There were a few questions mainly about copyright issues and about the classification system we use on the website. The conference was attended by many librarians and two of them (The Institute of Management Studies Library at VPM Thane and the University of Zagreb Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences Library, Croatia) have applied to join the Open Library Lending Library program.

After the presentations, November 3rd was a day off and we spent it wandering around the older parts of Mumbai. On November 4th, we went back and spent the morning brainstorming about ideas to implement. We came up with a few

The first is a simple database update that presents OL as a search option when a book is not found while searching in a Koha installation. It’s been done and signed off.

The second was a simple Javascript change that fetches covers and borrow information from Open Library and then presents it when searches are done on Koha. This has been implemented as well.

The third is the most involved part and we have started work on an API to upload covers to OL which can be used by any external program. We have also started work on an API for Koha to search our records to see if the book being added is already in our database (in which case, it can auto complete the details for them). The search will also return the cover if it exists. On our end, if the koha side agrees, we can populate our database with the catalogue record being searched for and if a cover is uploaded, we can get a copy of that as well. This means that if a Koha instance in one library has uploaded a cover, other libraries will be able to use it. On the Koha side, Robin has a private branch that contains the work in progress. Details are in the bugzilla entry.

We’re following up on the bugs and the lending library requests to join. On the overall, it was a wonderful event and one that benefited Open Library as well as Koha.

BookReader Work Sprint at NYPL Labs

By mang

We had a really fantastic code/work sprint for the BookReader organized by the most excellent NYPL Labs.  The sprint was designed to bring together organizations that have an interest in the BookReader as a way to foster the sharing of interest, code and expertise.

New York Public Library

We started by making a list of desired features and prioritizing them.  High on the list was to make the code more modular and easier to understand, reuse and extend.  We made great progress towards that goal by creating a new plugin architecture that allows new views of the book to be added cleanly to the existing code.  For example, it will be possible to create a book view that uses the <canvas> tag or other advanced web technologies and have it automatically included in the BookReader application simply by including that plugin’s JavaScript file.

Looking down into the stacks

Another highly desired feature is making it easier for people to use their own books with the BookReader application.  Doug Reside from NYPL Labs contributed a “book loader” (our new term for the piece of code that connects the BookReader to the underlying images and metadata for a book to display) that allows you to specify the images for a book directly inside an HTML file.  This new loader provides a simple way to use the BookReader for your own books.

The new code is currently on the codesprint branch of the BookReader github repository.  We plan to integrate the new plugin system once the code has been polished and tested. Updated documentation is also coming. You can subscribe to the bookreader-announce mailing list to be notified when the code is released. You can also find more information about developing and using the BookReader in our developer resources.

Mitch Brodsky with his BookReader customized for the NY Philharmonic

This works sprint hosted by NYPL Labs marks an exciting new milestone in the development of the BookReader. We’re setting the foundation for greater re-use and collaboration around the BookReader. Many thanks to Doug Reside, David Riordan and Ben Vershbow of NYPL Labs for organizing the sprint and the fantastic attendees who contributed ideas and code commits!

BookReader Sprinters

“We’re Re-Tribalising”

By George Oates

“It’s no longer one thing at a time, but everything all at once.”

Happy Birthday, Marshall McLuhan. (Via @josettemelchor on Twitter.)

Our Search Engine Was Hurting

By George Oates

Sorry to say, but our search engine is all kinds of weird this morning (San Francisco time). Lots of the pages you see around the site, like a Work page or a Subject page, or indeed the Search Results page are driven largely by search.

So, while we’re working on fixing the problem, please excuse the various gaps you might encounter around the place as we resolve it.

Update, 12:50pm PST: We’ve tried running Lucene CheckIndex on the work search index, but it came back with “No problems were detected with this index.” Hmm. Next, we’ll try restoring from backup. Apologies again for the continued oddness around the site!

Update, 2:30pm PST, 7/13/11: OK. We’ve just removed the site alert that you might have noticed across the top of every page, because we think the search is back up online. It turned out that we had to rebuild the whole index from a 2-day-old backup, and then process the last 2 days of changes made on the site into the new index. Phew! If you continue seeing weirdness or results that look less correct than usual, please let us know.

Apologies again for the road bump – and a word of advice? Be sure to keep an eye on how and where your log files are being stored, and accumulated. Turns out it was a huge blob of log files is what ended up choking our search engine, stopping it from being able to be updated. We’ve since modified where we store logs, and how often they are cleaned out.

The Challenges of Getting to Mars: Landing Day, Nerves and Joy

By George Oates

I’ve been spending a bit more time on archive.org lately. Not only exploring the nearly 3 million scanned texts, but also our massive video collection. I uncovered this documentary showing earthlings landing something called “Phoenix” on the surface of Mars in June of 2008. Here’s what happened:

Go, humans! And, NASA!

Heads up! Little confirmation email glitch in play

By George Oates

Last week we made some upgrades to the way account management on Open Library works. We’ve been hearing through our contact form that some people have had trouble with their confirmation emails not working. Specifically, clicking on the link to confirm your email address from the email we send you lands you on a page that throws an error.

Just a note to let you know that if this happens to you, there are 2 ways to try to resolve it:

  1. Just try clicking through again on the verification link in the email you got from us, or
  2. Try logging in with your account again. If your verification hasn’t gone through yet, you’ll see a screen that can resend a verification email, and that new link should work.

Sorry for the glitch! It should sort itself out within a day or two.