A Blog-Based Catalog? Mellon-Funded Project Would Use LC Records
WordPress is a popular format for blogs—an open-source content management system. It is also the backbone for WP-OPAC, a pushing-the-envelope project from Casey Bisson, information architect at Plymouth State University (PSU), NH, which will use Library of Congress (LC) catalog records and redistribute them free under a Creative Commons Share-Alike license or GNU. Bisson was presented with a $50,000 Mellon award for Technology Collaboration for the project at the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) meeting in Washington, DC, on December 4. PSU will use the money for the LC records. The WP-OPAC will allow users to tag and comment on records, which will be more readily searchable by search engines. The still-emerging project represents a challenge to business as usual for catalogers. OCLC has been the source for catalog records for libraries, and its license restrictions do not permit reuse or distribution. However, LC catalog records have been shared via Z39.50 for several years without incident. “Libraries’ online presence is broken. We are more than study halls in the digital age. For too long, libraries have been coming up with unique solutions for common problems,” Bisson said. “Users are looking for an online presence that serves them in the way they expect.” PSU is committed to supporting Bisson’s project, and will be offering it as a free download from its site, likely in the form of sample records plus WordPress with WP-OPAC included. The internal data structure works with iCal for calendar information and Flickr for photos, and can be used with historical records. It allows libraries to go beyond LC subject headings, Bisson said. Other winners include: Open University (Moodle), RPI (bedework), University of British Columbia Vancouver (Open Knowledge Project), Virginia Tech (Sakai), Yale (CAS single signon), University of Washington (pine and IMAP), Internet Archive (Wayback Machine), and Humboldt State University (Moodle).