In accordance with the JISC Discovery programme requirements, here is the final post from the Search25 Project Team.
1. Project Outputs
The Search25 Project has produced a number of successful outcomes:
- A new up and running resource discovery service for library users that provides enhanced information on bibliographic data and local holdings plus data on M25 libraries and how to visit them (www.search25.ac.uk). A coordinated publicity campaign for the new service, introducing the concept of “Library Hopping” complete with informational video on YouTube (208 ‘views’ in first 2 weeks) plus supporting posters, bookmarks and travel card holders.
- The well established structure of the M25 Consortium, its Steering Group and M25 Support Team, will ensure that appropriate support and maintenance mechanisms are in place to deliver and sustain the service. A Service Development Group has been set up (chaired by an M25 Steering Group member) with a remit to assess and monitor usage, identify opportunities and recommend developments and enhancements to the service. Overall, it will be the responsibility of the M25 Steering Group to consider the wide range of recommendations and future developments arising from the Search25 project as a whole.
- Successful use of multiple open source software products Xerxes & Pazpar2 to create a new resource discovery service of value to students, academics and researchers. This also provides a platform for future service development.
- One key strategic output of the Search25 Project is the Search25 Licensing Report produced by SERO Consulting Ltd.. The report is based on work undertaken to ascertain relevance, potential and appetite for open licensing of bibliographic metadata through the new service. Although data in the Search25 context comprises small ‘release of data,’ we believe this represents an important step in the open metadata journey and that the guidance notes provided through the report will enable the M25 Consortium to facilitate adoption of open licensing by member libraries. It will be the responsibility of the M25 Steering Group to consider the report and guidance and to agree next steps for any broader open bibliographic shared service.
- A thorough analysis of user expectations of the new service including use-cases compiled by the University of Sheffield Information School and available as Report on Evaluation of the Search25 Demo System.
- Development of an API for M25 library data which has potential for re-use by other services. Search25 includes a database with large amounts of information about individual libraries belonging to institutions within the consortium, the subjects they cover, and about access rights agreements between these institutions. This data has been made available to external applications needing information about academic libraries in the South East through an API which enables real-time queries. Search25 itself uses this API for its library information. The API runs on port 5225 of the Search25 website (ie. http://www.search25.ac.uk:5225) and the available instructions are described on https://bitbucket.org/m25consortium/api25/wiki/Home . There are currently no restrictions on its use.
There are a number of issues encountered and addressed during the project that may be of interest to others undertaking similar projects or activities:
- Allow plenty of time and effort to finalise any agreements required by a project. On Search25 we had a Collaboration Agreement for all project partners, a Secondment Agreement for staffing, plus two agreements for sub-contracted work packages. All these are a model of clarity but involved most of the project team and many staff at the lead institution and partners to finalise. The experience of having addressed these fundamental requirements has already paid off in connection with the subsequent E-BASS25 project also funded by JISC. To be able to revise and remodel existing templates saved a significant amount of time in set up of the later project.
- Z39.50 is still relevant. M25 have successfully utilised Z39.50 for library catalogue searching for over 15 years and continue to do so with Search25. Whilst not perfect, Z39.50 is still a standard part of a library management system, and still can provide required data in different formats relatively easily.
- The ‘soft touch’ approach by funders for project management and documentation has benefitted the project in that more time can be spent working on the inevitable challenges that arise in such developmental projects, rather than spending time on producing formal reports. The blog postings have been popular among the project team and we hope more widely. It would be good to have some feedback on how far the postings have reached, how much they have been accessed and what level of impact they have had in the wider community,
- ‘Bring and Share’ style of programme meetings has been very beneficial for networking and exchanging ideas on different approaches taken by other projects in the programme. In many ways, longer or more frequent meetings might be beneficial but this would naturally have to be factored in to project plans.
3. Opportunities and Possibilities
Like all good projects, Search25 as well as successfully meeting its original aims has come up with thoughts and future ideas where further useful work could be carried out:
- Bibliographic records – Further work could be done within the Search25 system on record matching and merging. Undoubtedly there are improvements that could be made but closely related to this are questions such as :
- “what is a ‘quality’ bibliographic record?” – different types of user are likely to have differing views on this
- “what would be the accepted minimal bibliographic record?”
- Open Metadata. There are opportunities for the M25 Consortium in terms of advocacy and awareness raising of Open metadata, e.g. through provision of M25 web pages providing endorsement for openly licensed metadata, targeted responses to FAQs and a default risk register; for Open license recommendation – adopting the CC0 or ODC-PDDL licence as the default M25 metadata licensing recommendation to institutions and for consortium use; for Exemplar application – taking on an early exemplar action based on open data principles; for example, licensing M25 library access data for reuse and making it available through download and / or API mechanisms;
- Shared service opportunities. There are possible extended service opportunities, e.g. an M25 enabled shared service to host open bibliographic and other relevant metadata for member libraries; and joined up Discovery and access services in collaboration with bodies such as AIM25, Copac and KB+.
- Library data API – existence of a similar API to Search25 – The Collections Trust have developed an API to access public (and other) library data. There may be advantages in combining this with the Search25 API to provide enhanced/additional library information to users in the future.
- Future cooperation with AIM25 and Copac could focus on linked data possibilities and collection management potential. The M25 Consortium intends to take these forward in the forthcoming months.