Open source faceted OPAC UI for library

I heard some open source projects for faceted browsing OPAC UI before. Just like the Endeca or AquaBrowser, the new-era end-user-interface will function alongside, not integrate into ILS(Integrated Library System). I think it’s a new trend for future Library system framework.

Now, here comes a Open-Source soluation: FacBackOPAC by Casey Durfee, based on the Apache lucene search project: Solr.

Solr is an open source enterprise search server based on the Lucene Java search library, with XML/HTTP and JSON APIs, hit highlighting, faceted search, caching, replication, and a web administration interface. It runs in a Java servlet container such as Tomcat.

Durfee’s lovely coding is just 250 lines program in PYTHON/Django to present a Endeca-like feature. The code is in Google Code and licensing in Apache License, everybody can download it.

Here are more Solr in Libraries experiments in various program languages (Perl, Rudy on Rails, etc…).
But there are still problems. The codepage in old MARC. And also the integrate between different Library information systems; meta-Search in multiple database is still complex. Someday the NISO MetaSearch Initiative may help this situation.

Another interesting open-source project is eXtensible Catalog (XC):

The University of Rochester’s River Campus Libraries is studying how best to develop an open-source online system that can unify access to traditional and digital library resources.

This project has several phases, the the phase 1(2006-2007): survey users and system environments was done. see the XC Survey Report here. There are some interesting results. For example, researchers ask respondents for their “What is the Dream on-line catalog products they will buy if money were no object?":

Respondents clearly favored Endeca (17instances). Other popular choices were III Encore and Millennium (7 instances) andAquabrowser (6 instances). Fewer respondents chose Evergreen (4 instances) and Primo (3 instances). Several products were named less frequently, including Aleph (2 instances), Talis’snew product (2 instances), WorldCat (2 instances), and Sirsi (1 instance). When given theopportunity to think without being limited by financial concerns on this question, other librariessaid that they would purchase either Google (3 instances) or Amazon (1 instance) if money wereno object. Amazon’s programming was even more frequently named in the respondents’comments than in their product selections (3 comments).

This survey also ask respondents for OPAC features they most wanted, the top 3 :

  1. Works alongside your existing library servers (catalog, metasearch, OpenURL link resolver, authentication server, repository, course management system) to provide new features to end users (578 response)
  2. Faceted search interface (545 response)
  3. Integrated user interface that searches across digital and non-digital resources (books, articles, digital repositories, DVDs and more) at the same time (497 response)