Saturday, July 4, 2009

If you can't bet them, join 'em...

I've been at UCOL Library for a while now, which means I'm firmly part of the Ex Libris picture, as we have Voyager, which is quite a part of my job, as the Information systems Librarian.

As such, I've spent quite a bit of time putting lipstick on the pig... and one of the features I've implemented recently is an APA citation for each of the books in our catalogue, which is bottom-rightish. This picture might be a little fuzzy, (but you can't see it unless you're on-campus anyway...):

Initially, I thought this would be quite easy, since I thought we must have at least some OCLC-derived records in our catalogue. The APA citation service requires an OCLC number, and I learnt that there are not that many records which have OCLC numbers... but there are, of course, lots which have ISBNs.

The solution required writing some web scripts which:
  • do a lookup on the ISBN, and get the OCLC number
  • use the OCLC number to get the APA citation
  • generate JSON output so this is accessible to the browser
Actually, thinking about it, I should be able to do this with javascript through and through... shouldn't I?

Isn't this what LibX does? Maybe this is part of what is currently possible with their LibApps?

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