Most of the¬†best known¬†services on¬†the¬†web, such as Twitter, Facebook or Github¬†have an API to access and¬†interact with its content.
An approach to the presence of ebooks on the university libraries websites.
Electronic books … some time since the consumption of e-books and e-readers is fairly widespread in the market. The libraries have also added this support in our collections, but it is not an easy road …
There are a variety of products on the content. E-book collections, e-book platforms, open access books projects (from Project Gutenberg¬†to Google Books, just to give some examples)… Sometimes you do not know¬†what’s inside of a collection, sometimes you can¬†¬ępick and choose¬Ľ the titles you want…
Then we have users who want an e-book and come to the library’s website and meet these diverse sources. A diversity that any UCD (user-centered design) method can make it more understandable…
Thus, the Open University of Catalonia, we are developing the new website of the Library, it is time to ask ourselves what to do. As a first step, we decided to do a little survey to ascertain the state of affairs.
Most universities offer access to platforms and collections that have subscribed and many of them also offer a search option specifically for e-books on their catalogs, such as the Open University¬†and¬†MIT Libraries,¬†or on their discovery tools: the¬†University of Cambridge¬†on Aquabrowser, the¬†University of Cardiff¬†on Primo and the University of Sydney¬†and Universidad Complutense de Madrid¬†on¬†Summon.
Some universities provide information fairly broad: use of devices, such as the Newcastle University¬†or the¬†UC San Diego library guide. Several universities have chosen to report on e-books through library guides, such as the EH Butler Library (Buffalo State, State University of New York) library guide.
Also highlights the Open University who has been one of the first universities to make free, interactive eBooks available on iTunes U.
We are developing our new library website in Drupal and we need to allow our users to log in through their Campus username and password. Our Drupal¬†installation has no loaded information about our users, so it will rely on the user data that Campus application (our LMS) gives to it. First of all, an user will log in the Campus application and then the user data will be passed to Drupal¬†through an LTI call. Here’s the tutorials on how LTI tools work.
Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI)‚ĄĘ is a specification developed by¬†IMS Global Learning Consortium.¬†The principal concept of LTI¬†is to establish a standard way of integrating rich learning applications (often remotely hosted and provided through third-party services) with platforms like learning management systems, portals, or other educational environments.
For this purpouse we have been developing a Drupal¬†module for log in through¬†LTI¬†by adapting¬†a¬†basic LTI tool provider.¬†The basic flow of this Basic LTI¬†module is that the LMS launches the tool with a number of POST parameters that are signed OAuth¬†with a secret shared by both the¬†LMS¬†and the LTI module. When the LTI module receives the user data in form of POST parameters, it logs in the Drupal user with its username, previously creating a new Drupal user if it doesn’t exist yet. As the library website user roles are different from that in the Campus, a role mapping is previously made through a conversion table.
DSPACE is probably the most popular repository application today. Easy to use, based on standards and surrounded by a solid community, it looks like as the default option for small and mid size educational institutions.
So when we firt design the new “Biblioteca a l’Aula” we choose DSPACE as the central repository for all documents teachers want to upload to our system. In this case, we are going to complement the repository with DRUPAL, that is going to take care of the community and interaction.
So one question arises.
How to connect DSPACE and DRUPAL?
Fortunately, there is a REST interface for DSPACE first developed as a Google Summer of Code project and then updated thanks to Hayden Young.
The REST API covers a lot of functionality. Complete managment of users, communitities and collections. Metadata retrieving and edition. REmote workflow. Anyway, we miss the most common funcionality: upload a new file. To solve this problem we are going to take advantage os the DSPACE batch upload system, building a very simple wrapper around the command and transforming it into a service.