Posted on March 25th, 2011 by Paul Stainthorp
This post outlines the benefits of Jerome to the HE sector (as well as within the University of Lincoln itself).
Benefits to the HE sector
The project documentation, case studies, supported API and sustained release of open bibliographic metadata will all contribute to the vision of this programme area, being “flexible, efficient and effective ways to support resource discovery and access to resources for research and learning.”
- Libraries will have access to a number of open, re-usable bibliographic datasets not otherwise available (MARC records) or not otherwise available in this aggregated, queryable format (MARC records, Repository data, e-journal contents)
- The Jerome demonstration portal and public APIs, and documentation/case studies, will provide an open model for building innovative next-generation resource discovery tools using freely-available, Open-Source tools (MongoDB, Sphinx) – one that has not otherwise been explored in HE.
- The APIs (and the data available via them) will be available for re-use as a “developers’ toolkit” at library data mashup events, and more generally by developers; a valuable way of exploring potential future uses for library data.
- We expect the ‘radical personalisation’ offered by Jerome to be of value for libraries and HE institutions exploring the notion of offering personalised, “boutique” library services to students and researchers.
Benefits to the University of Lincoln
Students and academic staff
We have situated this project within the wider context of the Learning Landscape at Lincoln, and within the Library’s strategic aims to develop user-centred learning services and spaces (physical & virtual). Furthermore, by strategically employing recent ex-students (Alex and Nick), we are able to bring a student-centric perspective to the project, which aims to meet student expectations of our online services and improve the overall student experience. We are aware of JISC’s research and recommendations in this area, in particular around the impact of Web 2.0. When implemented, students and staff can expect to enjoy an integrated, personalised online library service with an improved design and which benefits from integration with third-party services and data.
We regard Jerome, like TotalReCal and other JISC-funded projects as an opportunity to formalise our ‘labs’ work and introduce changes into the culture of our ICT systems. Clearly there is prestige in being awarded external funding for a project and it enables us to have a greater (or quicker) impact than might otherwise have been possible if Jerome remained as an ‘un-project’. Such work is an opportunity for us to learn, develop, test and implement our ideas as well as transfer that knowledge to other colleagues.
The University of Lincoln as a whole
The outcomes of the Jerome project will underwrite a Business Case for continued experimentation with and improvement of our Library Services, in effect being a welcome driver of institutional change supported by the the University Librarian. As mentioned above, this project will help the university meet student expectations and improve the student experience through the aggregation of data into a personalised online environment that connects with and feeds into third-party services.
||Interest / Stake
||Improvements to virtual research, teaching and learning space. More efficient and effective library services. Improved student experience and more integrated research environment.
|University of Lincoln
||Improved systems integration; improved ‘Learning Landscape’, improved (re)use of data, improved student experience, driver of change.
||Case studies, open data, documentation, sharing best practice.
||Open data, supported and attractive APIs, documentation and case studies.
||Value for money, programme and project outcomes are realised.
Posted on November 5th, 2010 by Nick Jackson
It’s been a while since anyone posted about what’s been going on with Jerome, mostly because those pesky students keep taking up valuable messing about time with fiddling little problems like being unable to log in. Okay, I jest. We love students really, since their complaining drives so many of the things we want to do.
First of all, epic backend work has been going on to make our Horizon to Jerome import path a bit slicker. Through a bit of inspiration from Dave Pattern, some XML voodoo, some juggling of arrays, a clever scheduled task and a plain text file I’ve been able to get Horizon imports happening on a rolling basis. It takes us a little under 7 and a half days (7.41 if you really care) to complete a full cycle of imports, iterating through every potential record number in our catalogue to find out if there’s anything useful. It’s not the most efficient method (we’ll build in some smart blank record skipping in a future version), but it does stop us from melting the server with a massive bulk export. At the moment this is throttled back to around half of its theoretical maximum rate whilst we test it, but by the end of the month we’re hoping to have import cycles running at under 5 days, and under 4 by Christmas.
We’ve also started work on our Journals indexing. This is a bit more tricky due to the lack of open information for a lot of journals, but by tapping in to Journal TOCs we can get hold of a fair bit of journal information and table of contents, allowing article-level searching of all our available resources. Similarly to catalogue import this is a rolling import process, so things may not appear for a day or two.
For all resources (catalogue and journals) we’re taking a look at what open data we can grab from elsewhere on the internet to bolster search results. We’d really like to be able to grab summaries, abstracts and synopses wherever possible (it’s something else to search through) but there are a few licensing issues we need to look at in more detail. Regardless, however, we will soon be running all our available search content through term extractors to automatically generate keywords
Finally on the backend, I’ve made some sweeping changes to how search reindexes content (it’s now fully automated and bitching fast), and some tweaks to our search API to support weighting data (so your results really are more relevant, and we don’t give things like stemmed words and metaphones the same search priority as your original text) and our upcoming relevancy engine (more below).
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on September 24th, 2010 by Paul Stainthorp
The excellent work that Alex and Nick have been doing means that we’ll very soon be able to show the first draft of Jerome’s “Liβrary” (i.e. Library-beta) portal. Initially, it’ll only be able to do a few things: one fundamental aspect that we’re exploring first is the ability of Jerome to prioritise and personalise the way it displays the Library’s online services, based on what Jerome knows—or can find out or guess—about you.
We’ve identified three inital ‘dimensions’ along which we’ll begin to differentiate library services:
- “Where?” – which campus do you study on? Which library do you want to use? how far from the University do you live? Are you a distance learner/researcher?
- “Who?” – are you a student? Undergraduate or postgrad? Or a member of staff? Teaching- or research-focused [or both]? Or maybe you’re one of our Associate Readers or a visitor to the Library?
- “What?” – which subject(s) do you study/teach/research, within which of the University’s faculties?
There are other potential axes, of course: your own past behaviour and that of your [anonymised] peers (possibly: “Why?“), time-critical services including loan due dates (“When?“), active preference-setting (“How?“), and others that we possibly haven’t thought of yet (“Huh?“). We’ll add these in time.
First of all, we’ll be concentrating on the “Where?“, and teaching Jerome to guess which of our 5 libraries you’re most likely to be most interested in.
- If you’re nowhere near Lincolnshire, we’ll present information about our main library (the GCW University Library at Brayford Pool Campus).
- But if you’re within “x” miles of one of our campus libraries (or on campus), we’ll show you that library instead.
- However, if you’re off campus and log in using a University account, we’ll override the geolocation and show you the library associated with your home campus and/or course.
- Finally, we’ll allow you to override our ‘guess’ at any point, and choose your own library. If you’re logged in when you make your choice, we’ll remember that active choice for next time.
This combination of ‘our-guess-or-else-your-active-choice‘ offers the quickest access to the most-probably useful information with minimal navigation, without restricting a user’s ability to decide for themselves.