From Owen Stephens:
I’ve been working on a project with the University of Oxford called Sir Louie (funded by JISC) which is integrating some of their library systems with their online learning environment (locally called ‘Weblearn’, but the software is Sakai – https://confluence.sakaiproject.org/). Specifically we wanted to add the display of ‘availability’ information in the Sakai Citation Helper tool – basically a tool which allows a tutor to build a reading list – details at https://confluence.sakaiproject.org/display/RES/Citations+Helper
The approach we decided to take was to use Juice to add the functionality, and use DAIA as the format for the availability information. The intention is that using Juice, this functionality could be added to any web environment displaying bibliographic information that can speak to a DAIA compliant availability service.
The result is documented at http://juice-project.org/node/41 (with a few screenshots). If anyone wants to have a go at implementing in an independent environment I’d be very happy to work with them on it and make sure it works.
A few notes on some issues encountered with DAIA – for feedback and if anyone has suggestions how we might have dealt with them it would be very welcome:
Biggest issue was with online vs physical availability. DAIA doesn’t allow (as far as I can see) you to make this differentiation explicit. Which means that if you have a ‘loan’ service with a ‘href’ there is no way of knowing if you have a loanable physical item with a url to some service/display (e.g. reservation, record in OPAC) or an online item with the link to the full-text. We had to work around this by setting up two DAIA services – one for ‘online’ availability, and one for other availability. The Juice extension is designed to allow different display of ‘online’ and ‘other’ as well – partially driven by this issue.
A second issue is that the use of ‘available’ vs ‘unavailable’ with ‘delay’ and ‘expected’ respectively seems slightly unclear to me. It feels like saying something is ‘unavailable until’ or ‘available only after this delay’ are basically the same thing?
The final issue was the more mundane challenge of translating DAIA availability statements into something compact and digestable in the ‘citation helper’ user interface. The decisions I made in implementation were:
Aside from this categorise things as either ‘For loan’ or ‘For reference’ – essentially stuff you can take away or stuff you can only use in the library. This is a slightly false division and doesn’t reflect some subtleties like stack request services, but in terms of summarising the available options for an end user it feels like enough – after all for physical items they are going to have to visit the library anyway.
Due to the nature of the service and the available information in this instance all ‘available loans’ are counted as ‘copies for loan’ – so the service summarises overall availability, not current availability (i.e. 3 copies, 2 currently on loan). Clearly being able to express this would be ideal, but we don’t have access to this level of detail from the library systems in question at the moment – which puts the problem of displaying this information in an understandable format to one side for the moment.