Athens, OH and Columbus, OH--October 15, 2008-- LibLime, the leader in open-source solutions for libraries, and OPLIN (Ohio Public Library Information Network) announced today that their Ohio Web Library search has gone live. Ohio Web Library is a collection of online resources and databases (proprietary and open content) accessible to all Ohioans. The Ohio Web Library search provides a fast, user-friendly search interface to the entire collection.
The Ohio Web Library search (http://ohioweblibrary.org) was developed in-house by OPLIN using Pazpar2, an open-source middleware technology created by LibLime's partner, Index Data. Access to subscription content is provided by OpenTranslators, a new web service offered by LibLime that offers a simple gateway interface to over 9,000 subscription databases.
"For public libraries, the lack of a good federated search interface results in low use of the databases and therefore a high cost per search," says OPLIN Executive Director Stephen Hedges. Stephen continues, "public library users are uncomfortable with being forced to select which database to search, and then to repeat their search in each individual database search interface. Confronted with this task, they simply turn to Google or some other web search engine to find online information and never get access to the information libraries purchase and provide."
Responding to focus groups, the goal of Ohio Web Library (http://www.ohioweblibrary.org) federated search was to bring the 'Google' experience to libraries and their patrons by eliminating the repetitious search process. Ohio Web Library provides a single search interface to all databases, merges and deduplicates the results, and does it all at astounding speeds.
"We investigated several commercial options including WebFeat Express and Google Custom Search Engine (CSE)," says Stephen. "However, these solutions either did not offer us as much control as we wanted over search result rankings or could not index proprietary databases such as EBSCO which require authentication to access." OPLIN decided to build their new search solution in-house, using Index Data's open-source Pazpar2 metasearching middleware. Pazpar2 is the driving middleware technology in a growing number of federated search tools including MasterKey, a federated search and discovery system, (http://liblime.com/products/masterkey) and ábiblios, an open-source cataloging suite (http://biblios.org).
Since not all database vendors use the Z39.50 protocol, OPLIN also contracts with LibLime for OpenTranslators, a hosted web service that provides access to over 9,000 subscription and free content databases as well as Websites. OpenTranslators is an enabling service that makes it easy to build search systems for subscription databases that don't support standards.
OPLIN took advantage of the many benefits of open source in their development of Ohio Web Library, including the freedom to customize the software in-house and the ability to contract with developers for additional customizations.
Other in-house customizations include the addition of the Yahoo Spell-checker API and a 'searching' status bar to let users know the search is still retrieving results (important since pazpar2 begins returning results instantaneously!). OPLIN uses EZProxy for authentication and has even included a "Librarians:24x7" link to Ohio KnowItNow 24/7 reference service (www.knowitknow.org). All of this is aimed at offering Ohio libraries and their patrons a convenient and user-friendly experience.
OPLIN plans to continue making adjustments to the site based on librarian feedback. They have the freedom to do so because they are using open source. "Whenever we introduce the site to a librarian, we emphasize that the open-source code that runs the site allows us to incorporate their suggestions to make the site better," adds Stephen. "Several of the changes mentioned above came about because of suggestions from librarians using the site. In most cases, we were able to make the changes within hours."
About Ohio Web Library
Since 1996, OPLIN has been providing a basic collection of online databases to Ohio public libraries. Currently purchased in cooperation with the Ohio academic library information network (OhioLINK) and the school library network (INFOhio), with additional funds from an Institute of Museum and Library Services LSTA grant awarded by the State Library of Ohio, the total cost of this extensive collection tops $4 million annually. In 2004, the network partners began referring to this communal collection of databases as the Ohio Web Library.
Pazpar2 is metasearch middleware, capable of searching large numbers of databases simultaneously, providing on-the-fly metadata normalization, merging, ranking/sorting, and facet extraction. Pazpar2 was written by Index Data, who provides support, training, and other services related to their software.
Pazpar2 is the driving technology behind a growing number of federated search tools including MasterKey, a federated search and discovery system (http://liblime.com/products/masterkey) and ábiblios, an open-source cataloging suite (http://biblios.org).
OpenTranslators is a hosted web service offered by LibLime that provides access to over 9,000 subscription and free content databases as well as Websites. OpenTranslators is an enabling service that makes it easy to build search systems for subscription databases that don't support standards.
LibLime is the global leader in open-source solutions for libraries, with a mission to make open source accessible to libraries. Rather than sell software licenses for static, hard-to-customize software products, LibLime educates libraries about the benefits of open source, enabling them to make choices about how best to provide their communities and staff with better technology services. LibLime then facilitates implementation of open-source in libraries by providing outstanding development, customization, support and training solutions--solutions tailored to each library's needs. For more information, see http://liblime.com.