HIP XML Parser (v0.01)

This is some code that I’ve been meaning to make available for public consumption for weeks, but we’ve been up to our necks with our RFID tender at Huddersfield recently.

The basic idea is to convert the XML output of HIP 2 and HIP 3 into a Perl data structure, which you can then use to repurpose your bib data and searches for other uses (e.g. to provide an OpenSearch interface).

The first chunk of code I’m making available provides a function (parseBib) that will convert the XML from a full bib page into a data structure.  Given the v0.01, you should treat this as alpha code at best!


The above Perl script also contains some code to fetch the XML (using LWP) and will also dump (using Data::Dumper) the resulting Perl data structure to an output text file (dump_output.txt).  I’ve also uploaded the code as a CGI file that you can run to display the Data::Dumper output – e.g.:

Building an object-oriented database system : the story of O2 /

Just to get you started, here’s some further info…

Continue reading HIP XML Parser (v0.01)

If you build it, will they come?

A couple of weeks ago I added logging to five of our OPAC tweaks to see if they were being used, and also which is the most popular.  We’re not in a particularly busy period at the University, so I would expect usage to be higher during peak periods.  Also, I only logged clicks coming from our 46 dedicated catalogue PCs and I’ve excluded stats from the weekends.

So, here is the top five countdown (cue suitable “Top of the Pops” music — I’ll plump for Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love“):

Number 5 – Other Editions

On average, we got 6 clicks per weekday on the “other editions” links.

Number 4 – Keyword Suggestions

On average, we got 14 clicks per weekday on the “serendipity” suggestions.

Number 3 – Similar Subjects

On average, we got 36 clicks on the “items with similar subjects” suggestions.  Interestingly, the number of clicks has risen consistently throughout the 2 week period — we’ve not advertised any of these features, so people are using them when they stumble across them.

Number 2 – Also Borrowed

On average, we got 154 clicks on the “people who borrowed this, also borrowed” suggestions per day.  This ranged from a minimum of 105 to a maximum of 199 clicks on any single weekday.

Number 1 – Spelling Suggestions

On average, we got 222 clicks on the “did you mean?” spelling suggestions per day.  This ranged from a minimum of 155 to a maximum of 279 clicks on any single weekday.

Continue reading If you build it, will they come?

SirsiDynix Executive Roadshow, Birmingham, UK

Here’s a slightly delayed write up for the 2 day Executive Roadshow event at the Crowne Palza, Birmingham.

Normally I’d try and blog live but sadly the Crowne Plaza regarded internet access in the hotel rooms (which I’d already paid for) as being something entirely different to wireless access in the rest of the hotel (for which I’d need to pay separately).

Continue reading SirsiDynix Executive Roadshow, Birmingham, UK

HIP Tip: changing the timeout

This is in response to an email Anne Barnard posted to the Horizon-L mailing list:

I have my global settings session timeout set to 5 minutes, and my search timeout set to 2 minutes. I’m starting to get complaints from remote users that they timeout to quickly. How long are other libraries making their settings? We’re a public library and people frequently walk away without logging out.

I didn’t see anyplace where this could be set for profiles rather than globally.

Assuming that your public OPACs have a specific range of IP addresses allocated to them (e.g. you’ve set them up on their own subnet), then it’s possible to tweak the expiretimer.xsl to only use the timeout for those machines:


…the bits you need to add are shown in red, and you’ll need to amend the IP address accordingly.

If you need to check for multiple IP addresses, then simply expand that if statement, e.g.:

if(ip.indexOf(" 10.2.8")>0 || ip.indexOf(" 10.2.9")>0)

…will only run the timeout for IP addresses starting with 10.2.8.* and 10.2.9.*

There’s probably quite a few ways of achieving the above, so please let me know if you’ve got a simpler method!

The usual notes apply:

  • this worked fine with HIP 3.04 UK, but may not work with any other release
  • make sure you back the file up before editing
  • try it on a test HIP installation first

A Room With a View

I’ve just arrived at the Crowne Plaza NEC Birmingham, ready for a meeting with Paul Miller at Talis first thing tomorrow morning, followed by the SirsiDynix Executive Roadshow 2006.

Travelling to Birmingham is never straightforward — today, due to a broken down train, they had to cram two sets of passengers onto a single train.

The Crowne Plaza is officially located in the middle of nowhere, about a mile from the National Exhibition Centre.  Just in case there’s anyone reading this who’s planning to arrive tomorrow via train — get off at Birmingham International, walk straight through the NEC (you’ll see the occasional sign for the Plaza), and when you exit the NEC by the bus stops, you’ll be able to see the Plaza in the distance.  The entrance to the hotel is actually on the other side, so you’ll need to skirt around the edge of the building.

I have a room with a view, but unfortunately it’s a view of a dull car park…

…and what is it with hotels and light switches?  I seem to remember it took Bryony and me about 10 minutes to figure out how to switch the lights on in our hotel room at CODI 2005, and it took me even longer today. 

When I walked into the room, none of the light switches would work.  So, I read the guest information booklet twice (standing by the window as the light of the day faded), but there were no tips in there.  Hmmmmm – should I swallow my pride and ring up the reception desk?

“Hi – Room 149 here… I have a question for you… How do I turn the lights on?!?”

Eventually I noticed that there was a strange box, hidden away in the shadows on the wall near the door.  It says “TESA” on it and, according to Google and the Acronym Attic, TESA can stand for:

  • Texas Educational Secretaries Association
  • Texas Elks State Association
  • The Endangered Species Act
  • Teacher Education Student Association
  • Theater Environmental Situational Awareness
  • Testicular Epididymal Sperm Aspiration

…not much help there, although Google Images has an amusing picture that seems to be someone gaffa taped to a wall.  Sadly, I couldn’t get the full sized version (http://www.pocsmadar.hu/miazmas/tesa.jpg) to load.

Anyway, on closer inspection, the box has a credit card sized slot in it… (gears begin to grind)… and my room door key is shaped like a credit card… eureka!

Three Coins in the OPAC

Inspired by Lorcan Dempsey’s post about Coins in Open WorldCat, I’ve been messing around with adding Coins to our OPAC.

I still need to research the specification in further depth, but it’s been relatively easy to add a prototype to our OPAC. Here’s how it displays in Firefox using the Openly OpenURL Referrer extension:

I’ve configured the extension to link to our SFX server, so clicking on the SFX icon takes me through to our SFX menu:

Obviously there’s little point linking from our OPAC to our own OpenURL resolver — the idea is more that you can configure the exension to point to your preferred resolver.

Even more Ajax

I’ve added a couple more bits of Ajax to the OPAC, although they’ve not live yet:

  • links to items with the same (or similar) subject headings
  • links to related works / other editions (courtesy of OCLC’s xISBN service)

As an example, here’s the links that appear for the first edition of Learning XML:

Although having links to “people who borrowed this” is cool, it does tend to link to items that circulate well (which you could argue is a “good thing”).  On the other hand, the quick links to items with same/similar subject headings are deliberately shown in a random order.

More Ajax goodness

I’ve spent the afternoon Ajax-ing the “did you mean?” code on the OPAC, and also finishing off the serendipity suggestions.

The serendipity suggestions take longer to generate than before, as the the code now considers keyword phrases returned by answers.com, instead of just single keywords.  As an example, here’s what appears if I try searching for the film “Faraway, So Close” on our OPAC:

Obviously the suggestion of searching for “Close Faraday” is of little use.  However, most of the serendipity suggestions are relevant to the film, and at least two of them will lead me straight through to the catalogue page for “Der Himmel über Berlin” (the prequel to “Faraway, So Close”).

One rather cool outcome of this is that our OPAC can now sometimes answer questions!  Sadly the results don’t always lead to relevant items, but at least our OPAC knows the answer to the Ultimate Question!