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Maine InfoNet Board Meetings, February 21, 2007
Members Present: Judy Frost, CMCC; David Nutty – Director of Libraries at USM; Sue Jagels, Eastern Maine Medical Center Health Science Library Director; Barbara McDade, Director, Bangor Public Library (via ATM); Clem Guthro, Director Miller Library, Colby College;; Karl Beiser, InfoNet CEO; Richard Thompson, CIO for the State of Maine; Gary Nichols, Maine State Librarian; Joyce Rumery, Dean of Libraries at UM Linda Lord (non member – recording secretary).
Members Absent: Ralph Caruso, CIO University of Maine System;; Steve Podgajny Director, Portland Public Library; Elizabeth Reisz, Library Supervisor York School Department; John McManus, Director Millinocket Public Library
1. Minutes from the January 31, 2007 meeting
January 31, 2007 were unanimously approved after two revisions (proper spelling of Cora Damon’s name and Liz Reiss moved to members-absent list) after a motion from Clem, seconded by Gary
2. CEO Report:
(Secretary’s additions are in italics in parentheses.)
Report to the Maine Info Net Board by Karl Beiser, Executive Director
PR & Marketing
3. Project Espresso
Jonathan Williams report follows:
Project Espresso and other open-source metasearch projects:
I have spent some time over the past week comparing Project Espresso to other emerging open-source search applications. While there are certainly similarities among these applications, Project Espresso does occupy a unique place in the spectrum of development. It can, however, stand to integrate some of the technologies that are being used in other projects, notably Oregon State University’s LibraryFind.
In addition to LibraryFind, I looked at two other projects: OJAX, and MIT’s SIMILE. OJAX is a very useful application, but it appears to depend on repositories having OAI-PMH interfaces. While many of the repositories we plan to use do have such an interface, the catalog records do not. This means that OJAX apparently would not allow us to integrate URSUS ‘out-of-the-box.’
The SIMILE project turned out to be a dead end for this comparison. While the project includes many interesting tools for working with the semantic web, it does not really include a search tool. The closest tool in the SIMILE project is PiggyBank, which they describe as a semantic web browser. It is certainly an interesting tool, but not appropriate for our needs.
OSU’s LibraryFind was the application most similar in philosophy and execution to Project Espresso. Like Espresso, it is built with Ruby on Rails and the Ferret search index. Its results lists provide links directly to the original resource, which means fewer clicks for the patron than many commercial metasearch products. Unlike Espresso, however, LibraryFind provides true federated searching, submitting the same request to multiple search engines, which is an approach that our original work with Espresso has eschewed.
Like any other federated search project, LibraryFind requires the maintenance of a knowledgebase to keep track of which resources it can access, either through OAI-PMH or z39.50. LibraryFind does not rely on screen scraping, so the lack of reliability associated with that method of retrieving metadata is not a concern. Keeping a knowledgebase of valid connections would require significant set up and maintenance if used with commercial vendors’ databases, but might make sense if limited to repositories in digital libraries that are accessible through OAI-PMH.
Despite LibraryFind’s dependence on federated searching, it certainly provides a way for records to be harvested and indexed locally. This appears to be possible only for records available through OAI-PMH, however. This feature is not documented yet, so it is difficult to tell whether direct indexing of MARC records is planned or supported, but it does not appear to be the case. This means that we couldn’t index our records from URSUS or any other III catalog we choose to include. Unlike OJAX, however, LibraryFind would still give us access to these resources through z39.50.
How LibraryFind can inform the development of Espresso:
Despite LibraryFind’s emphasis on federated searching, it still bears many similarities to Espresso, and some of the technologies developed in the former would benefit the latter. I propose the following steps to integrate technologies from LibraryFind into Espresso:
The proposed integrations should not extend the development time on Espresso considerably. Currently, we have the end of March as our estimate for a working implementation of Espresso. I believe that this should be revised to the second week of April if we implement the integrations I propose.
4.Status of communication to all Maine libraries from MINB
Brochures are ready to go but with the addition of the InfoNet web address on the front. A cover letter will go with each mailing one for schools and one for libraries. Library Development staff will do the mailings.
5. Creating Board Committees
a. Finance Committee
b. Resource Sharing Committee
The bylaws describe the duties of this committee. This committee may be divided into subcommittees including one that focuses on e- resources.
Should we create all committees at once? Clem responded, no, since the Board can’t deal with six committees reporting all at once.
6. Legislative Update
Gary Nichols reported on library-related bond issues and legislation. A complete list of these with descriptions may be found at: http://www.maine.gov/msl/libs/legislation.htm
Meeting dates: All meetings will be held at MSL and will go from 1:30 to 3:30.
The meeting was adjourned at 3:30
Linda Lord, Recording Secretary
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