Archive for August, 2010

A Newspaper Collection in DSpace 1.6

Yes, today is the day!
Our first digital collection in DSpace is about to go “live” and I think there is reason to celebrate :-) …for instance: it’ll be our very first digital collection in an Open Source System and with a dynamic image viewer (using OpenZoom); and perhaps most importantly, users now will have the ability to:
a) view/zoom individual pages using a full-screen option;
b) download a single PDF file for any given issue;
c) browse the collection using a calendar view; and
d) browse the collection using mobile devices (particularly the iPads).

Here is “sneak peak” of what it’ll be:

…now back to the final “tweaks” -before we officially switch to the new URL :-)

No Comments »

The power (usefulness) of a DATE field

For the LSTA MiniGrant project that we’re wrapping up this month, one of my tasks was (is) to customize/develop a “Manakin Theme” for DSpace … based on three years of web usage statistics, we knew that this (newspaper) collection has been heavily used with the “browse by date” option.  We also looked at some current newspaper projects online, and we found that a “calendar” option for browsing is quite popular -e.g. The Chronicling America.

Additionally, we were very happy with the results of OpenZoom for displaying dynamic (flash-based) images; but, we also discovered that it was very “tricky” to fully implement/integrate this viewer in DSpace :-( …so this is where we decided to take advantage of the power and/or usefulness of the “publication date” metadata field.

The picture below can help illustrate what we wanted to accomplish:
[View full-size image]

  • Generating a Calendar-View for DSpace, initially, we had to export a tab-delimited file with two fields (publication_date and handle); then I wrote a PHP script that reads the “txt” file and through the use of a couple of arrays, it generates two drop-down menus (decade and years); these are the options that end-users can use to select/display a 12 months calendar.  I have to say that the calendar may not -necessarily- look like a regular one, but that’s in part because of the 32 bit platform issue -this project goes way back than December 12, 1901  :-(  oh well, this could be a good topic for a later post.  Anyway, in early September I plan to document/share the script I used -in case someone else finds it useful!
  • Embedding OpenZoom files in DSpace, since the OpenZoom files resides out of DSpace, we thought that a good way to “relate/match” a given record in DSpace with its corresponding jp2 files in OpenZoom was to use (again) the “publication_date” metadata field.  Under the OpenZoom directory, we created a folder and named it with a publication date (e.g. YYYY-MM-DD) and the trick was to send that date from DSpace to OpenZoom as a variable in a URL (e.g. ?pub_date=1991-04-30); once we had an actual date, then a PHP script reads the (jp2) files in that folder and generates a drop down menu which allows users to navigate/view the pages of that particular issue.

Ok, …guess that’s enough for now, the next (maybe last) work for this project is to finalize a prototype for displaying DjVu files for the iPads :-)  …hasta muy pronto!

No Comments »