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Archive for June, 2009

At my place of work, we signed up for a site-wide license to RefWorks last fall. We’ve also recently moved to Evergreen for our new ILS (press release). Naturally, there was a request from library staff to add a function in Evergreen to export citations from the OPAC directly into RefWorks.

supercatI was happy to discover that Evergreen makes this relatively easy, thanks to SuperCat (part of Evergreen’s backend). With SuperCat and a record id, a record can be fetched in many different formats, simply by changing the URL (e.g., OPAC view vs marcxml vs MODS). This comes in handy when dealing with RefWorks.

Sending citations to RefWorks can be done with a callback. Essentially, you add a link to RefWorks’ import function page and send it your credentials, as well as a callback URL that RefWorks uses to grab the record from your ILS…in a RefWorks-supported format. The problem is that RefWorks doesn’t accept MODS, MARC, or even MARCXML. They say they accept MARC, but it’s actually what I call “MARC text” (it is described very well by Bill Dueber).

So with Evergreen, all that was needed to support Export-to-RefWorks was:

  1. a new transform for SuperCat that converts MARC to “MARC text”;
  2. a new SuperCat feed for the new format;
  3. a button in the OPAC that links to RefWorks and provides the credentials and callback URL.

Voilà! The new “marctxt” SuperCat feed (which uses the new transform) provides the callback URL for RefWorks to grab the record and import it. I submitted a patch yesterday to address #1 and #2, above. A patch to auto-generate the info needed for #3 is forthcoming (and pretty straightforward). So Evergreen should soon support Export-to-RefWorks right out of the box.

(“Fine. Now take it off.” [SuperCat] photo created by “Allergic to Work” on Flikr, and licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-Share Alike license).

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Information about a Net Neutrality Town Hall just came my way through a CLA mailing list. It features some interesting speakers: Michael Geist needs no introduction, and Charlie Angus has recently tabled a Net Neutrality bill in Canadian Parliament for the second time (Bill C-398).

Here’s the info:

Speakers:

  • Michael Geist, University of Ottawa
  • Jacob Glick, Google
  • Charlie Angus, NDP Heritage Critic
  • Rocky Gaudrault, CEO of Teksavvy Solutions Inc.

When: Wednesday June 10, 2009, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Where:
Ottawa Public Library Auditorium
120 Metcalfe Street

Note that the hosts are looking for an RSVP on http://saveournet.ca/ottawa

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RMS in Ottawa

rms_ottawaOn Tuesday, I visited the Treasury Board’s library to hear Richard Stallman give a talk. Although it was my first time seeing him in person, it was pretty much the same talk I’ve heard from him before, either in snippets of video or transcripts. In parts, it was very good. In parts, it was very awkward.

Stallman is just not for everyone, and certainly not for a general audience of civil servants. Some of his talking points were very well expressed, while others were perhaps poorly worded (even if I generally agreed with what he said). Afterward, while answering some of the questions, he acted a bit petulant and whiny (a polite query about the rate of adoption of free software in India was dismissed with a whiny “Well I don’t know! I don’t track that kind of stuff!”). And then there was the performance of his “alter ego” — the less said about that, the better.

I’m grateful for all of the work he’s done for the Free Software Foundation and the GNU Project. However, the FSF should consider limiting Stallman to talks to more technical groups and those already involved with free and open source software. When talking about the history of the project and its importance, it is fantastic listening to him…but he’s definitely not the best person to convince potential new free software users (not to mention their managers). In some cases, he probably hurts his cause more than he helps.

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