I recently attended the Dev8D conference (14 – 16 February, 2012) which is primarily aimed at developers working in Higher Education, but also attracts developers from other sectors. The conference is a mix of invited speakers, delegates offering talks, workshops and tutorials. The event is free for the attendee and is funded by JISC and other sponsors. The Professional Development Group of IT Services at the University of Bristol were kind enough to fund my travel, accommodation and subsistence.
One of the great aspects of the conference are the whiteboards where delegates can offer to do talks or ask for talks. In the afternoon, those sessions that attracted the most interest went ahead – you put a mark next to a session you were interested in with a marker pen. One such session was the really informative session by Owen Stephens and Thomas Meehan on library data. I’ve started accessing library data for m-biblio and they provided a really useful session on MARC and why library catalogues provide the information in a certain format. The session was a rich mine of information on systems, tools and formats!
For a more detailed report on the event, see my personal blog.
For the app to work well it needs to reference reliable sources of bibliographic data. Already in progress is some code that is capable of pulling bibliographic data from the University’s library system Aleph via the XService API. But more are needed.
The question we need to answer is which sources to concentrate our efforts on in terms of 3rd party services to lookup ISBN numbers.
Initial feedback from members of the team and other developers in the University are as follows:
“I would rank Amazon below COPAC and British Library for bibliographic record accuracy as it is primarily for buying books which are in print, and the older out of print records are often sketchy ‘marketplace’ records.”
“Some 3rd party options.”