Linking CRRA items to member libraries: A Prototype

I have implemented a prototype for linking items found in the “Catholic Portal” to CRRA member institutions.

The Problem

The vast majority of the content in the “Portal” is not digitized. Consequently, when items of interest are identified, the reader is left hanging because the Portal does not support document delivery. “Now that I have found this item, how do I get it?”

The Solution

The solution is not perfect, but rather a step in the right direction. Instead of delivering the item, the solution is to provide a means for the reader (I don’t use the word “user” anymore) to easily connect with the member institution libraries through a directory. Specifically, create a directory of member institution libraries/archives complete with names, addresses, and other pieces of contact information. Hyperlink each and every search result to specific entires in the directory and thus enable readers get in touch with member institutions.

I have implemented this in the Portal’s “sandbox”. Search for any item, and from both the search result page as well as detail holdings pages, the reader can click on the institutions’ library and be shown a (bogus) directory.

The implementation was much easier than I anticipated, and the key was found in the identifiers of each indexed record. (All puns intended.) Each indexed record in the Portal is prefixed with a code denoting the library holding the item. For example, Boston College’s code is bcu, and Loyola Marymount University’s code is lmu. When search items are returned VuFind’s IndexRecord record driver is called. In that code I am able to extract each record’s identifier, and parse out is first three characters — the code. I then pass this identifier and the library’s name on to my template for display:

$interface->assign('CRRALibrary', $this->fields['building'][0]); $interface->assign('CRRAKey', substr ($this->fields['id'], 0, 3 )); 

In the template I hyperlink the holding library’s name with the directory’s URL, and specifically, a named anchor for the library:

<a href='http://zoia.library.nd.edu/tmp/directory.html#{$CRRAKey}'>{$CRRALibrary}</a> 

The directory I created was rudimentary at best, and it will be up to people other than me and including myself to determine how the directory gets created and what it looks like.

Hooray for open source software and object oriented programming techniques!

Author: Eric Lease Morgan

I am a librarian first and a computer user second. My professional goal is to discover new ways to use computers to provide better library services. I use much of my time here at the University of Notre Dame developing and providing technical support for the Catholic Research Resources Alliance -- the "Catholic Portal".