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
- Show Open Library as Search Target in “More Searches” in OPAC detail page
- Show OL borrow information and covers on Koha search and detail pages
- Koha should make it easy for librarians to attach covers using Open Library
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 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.
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This is fascinating information for those of us who search the web doing research.