Archive for the ‘Jerome blog’ Category

It’s the end of Jerome as we know it (but I feel fine)

Posted on November 28th, 2011 by Paul Stainthorp

The University of Lincoln’s Jerome project finished in August with the successful release of more than 240,000 openly-licensed bibliographic records, available over developer APIs, and a joint hack day with Cambridge University Library‘s COMET project.

Now, encouraged by positive JISC feedback, both institutions—Cambridge and Lincoln jointly—have applied for follow-up project funding under the project title CLOCK. If our bid is successful, the new project will run between December 2011–July 2012, employing a web developer based at the University of Lincoln, and distilling the work of both institutions into the development of new innovative library metadata discovery services for the scholarly community.

You can read the project proposal for CLOCK at – the introductory section is below.

The University of Lincoln and Cambridge University Library both delivered successful projects (Jerome and COMET) for the JISC Infrastructure for Resource Discovery Programme in 2011. This is a proposal for the continuation of and elaboration upon the work of both projects, via a programme of development work shared between the two institutions.

Throughout both projects (COMET-Jerome), parallel approaches in technology and data structure were noted and commented upon. A ‘mash day’ workshop event held in Cambridge in August aimed to explore these differences as well as areas of potential synergy. Here project members identified several points of interest to take forward.

Both projects produced outputs of interest to researchers, students, librarians, developers, and designers of bibliographic discovery environments. The CLOCK project will harness the success of these two complementary initiatives and investigate new approaches to data creation and discovery in the library domain. In particular, it will investigate, propose, and develop new, web-based bibliographic tools/APIs which will make it easier for developers, academic libraries and library end-users (esp. researchers) to find Open Bibliographic Data and incorporate that data into systems and workflows.

This project is an opportunity to [1] exploit through real-world applications the significant amount of data released openly by Cambridge University Library; [2] apply the Jerome database architecture, iterative development methodology, and API framework to a bibliographic dataset an order of magnitude greater than the University of Lincoln’s; and [3] to build and enable a new set of tools and demonstrator services which will enable the future development of public Open Bib Data web applications of practical utility to libraries and end-users.

The project will be supported by library consultant Owen Stephens, who will help to put the work into a national context, relating CLOCK to the wider movement toward Open Bib Data and the work of the JISC Discovery initiative. It will take place in an environment (Lincoln/Cambridge) where a culture of developer inquiry and experimentation is encouraged and nurtured. It is also endorsed by senior library management at both universities.

Both universities are involved in complementary development work which will  both inform and be informed by CLOCK: at Cambridge, Ed Chamberlain is guiding the development of the JISC Open Bibliography 2 project; in Lincoln, Paul Stainthorp is lead researcher on the #jiscmrd Orbital project, which is investigating the management of research data, with some areas of overlap.

CLOCK will operate as part of the wider JISC Digital Infrastructure: Information and library infrastructure: Resource discovery, and support the recent concerted effort to move toward openly licensed library discovery in UK Higher Education and beyond.

Jerome/COMET hack day: Fun in the Fens

Posted on August 10th, 2011 by Paul Stainthorp

Here’s a photo of the CARET (Centre for Applied Research in Educational Technologies) offices at the University of Cambridge, where we held our log-awaited joint Jerome/COMET hack day, on Monday 8 August. Actually, in the end, it turned out to be a kind of Jerome/COMET/SALDA/synthesis/OUseful mashup-AH!


In attendance (for the record):

Train mayhem aside (in the end the Lincoln contingent didn’t arrive until nearly midday), it was a really useful day and well worth doing. Particular thanks to Ed Chamberlain and his colleagues for hosting the event and for arranging the food and refreshments. Thanks also to everyone who travelled from afar for no other reason than they love a good mashup.

Typically, the ever-prolific Tony Hirst has already managed to write up not one, but two blog posts about ideas that came out of the day:

  • Getting Library Catalogue Searches Out There…
  • Open Data Processes: the Open Metadata Laundry (N.B. this one relates specifically to Jerome – in particular, our notion of ‘scrubbing’ dodgy MARC records by taking only the identifiers plus the bare citation-only fields, and using that minimal set to grab additional free and Open data from the web, automatically creating new full versions of records that are inherently Open. ‘Metadata laundry’, me like.)

Here are three more ideas/conversations we had in Cambridge that I thought were going somewhere interesting. Yeah, we might get around to actually doing these, sometime…

1. Using COMET data to enhance Jerome

The ideaSimilar to the ‘metadata laundry’, above, and to the way Jerome already uses data from the Open Library, JournalTOCs, LibraryThing, etc., to enhance its book records with additional metadata. Jerome constructs a URL in the form, with the ISBN from the Jerome record dropped in at the end. COMET responds with a link to an open record in RDF and/or JSON, which Jerome gladly sucks in, adding any additional fields to its original source record. Enrichment ensues.

2. Using Jerome search to ‘skin’ COMET

I called this one “Jerome Scholar” ;-) …we make use of the search aspects of Jerome (in particular, the speed of Sphinx, the ‘mixing desk‘ idea, the neat record presentation, to provide a really smooth way of interacting with the much more well-structured (hence “Scholar”) data that resides in COMET.

3. Using the differences between the two datasets to tell us something interesting

I have a notion that there’s something inherently useful about being able to compare two versions of a record for the ‘same’ object. If we could use Jerome+COMET to generate a web application/data feed – one that other discovery services could themselves consume, we’d have ways of ‘sparking off’ whole new avenues of discovery: from misspelled names, variant titles, different subject terms assigned by different cataloguing practices, etc. Like xISBN, but for non-standardised data(?). All right, that’s the fuzziest of the three ideas. And as the eminiently sensible Owen Stephens kept asking me, “…what’s the use case?”.

And then we went to the pub.

And then we went to the pub.

#discodev: worldwide software development competition using open library data

Posted on July 5th, 2011 by Paul Stainthorp

Copied verbatim (and under licence!) from the UK Discovery website:

Discovery logo

UK Discovery ( and the Developer Community Supporting Innovation (DevCSI) project based at UKOLN are running a global Developer Competition throughout July 2011 to build open source software applications / tools, using at least one of our 10 open data sources collected from libraries, museums and archives.

…and one of the 10 open data sources is the Jerome API we announced last week!

Enter simply by blogging about your application and emailing the blog post URI to by the deadline of 2359 (your local time) on Monday 1 August 2011.

Full details of the competition, the data sets and how to enter are at

Follow #discodev on Twitter to see what people are up to.

Is that a Jerome open data API I spy?

Posted on June 28th, 2011 by Paul Stainthorp

Yes. Yes, it is.

This is only the initial, bare-bones JSON-only service. A complete (and fully-documented) API will be released in stages over the next month, providing data in a range of output formats. We’re keeping all API and open institutional data documentation in the one place, on our open data site.

Jerome writeup in Discovery newsletter

Posted on June 8th, 2011 by Paul Stainthorp

This article appears in the current (May) issue of the Discovery newsletter, along with a nice photo of the GCW. Thanks to Helen Harrop of SERO for the writeup!

Great Central Icehouse

The stated purpose of the Jerome project is an ambitious one: to “develop a sustainable, institutional service for open bibliographic metadata, complemented with well documented APIs and an intelligent personalised interface for library users.” Not much there then!

The project started life as an internal ‘un-project’ which aimed to deliver “an amazing way to interact” with the University of Lincoln’s library services in the wider context of the University’s user services and in the face of limited resources.

The funding as a JISC RDTF project has enabled the team to make much swifter progress with their aspirations and to document achievements so that they can share their expertise and developments with the wider community.

The key outputs for this current, JISC-funded, phase of Jerome are:

  • A developers’ toolkit which will include APIs, web services, a technical ‘cook book’, user journeys and other documentation which will allow other developers to build and implement their own search tools.
  • Bibliographic records of books, journals and e-prints released as open data.
  • A user-controlled, personalised search interface.

The project has already gone live with the first implementation of a Jerome search interface [] at the end of March.