Today, it was 20 years ago that Adam Dickmeiss and I founded Index Data together in Copenhagen. There was a bottle of champagne, and our parents shared the moment with us along with our wives, because, honestly, we were little more than big kids at the time. We were a little scared, but we were also in the fortunate position of being young, still without kids or debt. Oh, and our wives had steady jobs. Let the adventure begin!
In our introduction to Smart Widgets, I said that part of our purpose in developing the technology was to move away from the search box as the primary paradigm for accessing information: To give librarians more tools to organize and present information for their consumers/patrons. But the widgets can also be used to IMPROVE the capabilities of the search boxes that we already have – to offer new functions beyond what your existing software is capable of. In this post, we will show a couple of different examples of how Smart Widgets can be used to add functionality to Koha, but the same principles apply to any system that allows you to customize the HTML structure of a search results page.
This is the first of a series of blog posts in which we will talk about a concept that we have been developing over the past few years. We call it ‘smart widgets’ to distinguish our approach to widgets from the almost ubiquitous notion of ‘widgets’ meaning little search boxes that you insert into your page, but which ultimately send your users to some remote site.
Open access to information and content is transforming every aspect of our culture, from the everyday usefulness of Wikipedia to the eponymous publishing movement in academia. Open Access resources arise from countless sources, from government agencies, museums, archives, libraries, and universities – even from commercial organizations.
Hundreds of freely available information resources on the Internet go unused because no one knows about them or has easy access to them. These hidden gems are often overlooked by Google.
Index Data’s newly released MasterKey Express lets your library surface these resources for patrons through a single search box. Give your patrons access to more than 400 databases totaling millions of freely accessible resources, carefully categorized so you can create a precise, directed Discovery experience.
The initial public release is v0.9.1, and it’s ready to use. See this blog post to learn the basics, then head over to the MKWS site for the details.
One of the problems we’ve had over and over at Index Data is that we build all these cool back-end tools – things like the metasearching middleware Pazpar2 – but then don’t have a good way to show them off. We’ve never really focussed much on building UIs, so we have to do demos that go like this:
Since 1994, Index Data has offered software development, consulting and integration with a focus on search. Our pioneering involvement in open source and open standards dates back to the first release of the YAZ toolkit for Z39.50 in 1995.