Holdings of other locations

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Thomas_Lerman
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Holdings of other locations

Postby Thomas_Lerman » Thu Mar 20, 2008 10:52 am

I serve at the BYU Family History Library (yes, it was changed to a library from the previous name, Utah Valley Regional Family History Center). They have a series of "blue binders" that have Research Outlines and other information for the locality. The Research Outlines has new and updated information written in them as well as highlighted text indicating that has that book/microfilm/microfiche/etc. within BYU's holdings.

Recently, they started scanning and putting these binders on-line in PDF format. I suggested that they contribute and make use of the Research Wiki. This seemed to have sparked not only interest, but also questions. I post this thread so that we may discuss and hopefully come up with a solution that will work.

So far, I have come up with a few thoughts:
  1. BYU would have these on-line with no attention to the Wiki. I really would rather have BYU as part of the contributing process.
  2. BYU only uses the Wiki as we have it. I feel it was be great to have BYU's contributions. This would be very beneficial. However, how could they include their holdings? If BYU includes their holdings, then why not Allen County Public Library, Ogden Regional Family History Center, and every other Family History Center, Library, and Society. Obviously, this would become a huge mess and what would need to happen if multiple locations have the same resource?
  3. BYU could contribute everything other than their holdings . . . in other words, all general information that would be useful to the general public. They could monitor each of these pages and copy them to their website. Finally, they could modify their copies to include information on their holdings. This sure seems like a tedious work that I do not think I would want to do . . . that would be quite a few pages with all of those binders.
  4. Some variation of the above (just brainstorming). Leave all of the information in the Wiki. To get the BYU holdings, maybe have a parameter in the URL . . . or one of several other methods . . . to indicate that they are requesting BYU specific information. Then with templates, allow the BYU holdings to be "highlighted" or other specific information. BYU still could monitor the pages to make sure their information is not lost, changed, or need to make other additions. Every location that does this kind of thing would be responsible for their own information. I could see that this would be very helpful for those that participated in this manner. However, I do not know that we want to open up the Wiki to indicate holdings of every place.
  5. Another variation on #4 that just came to mind. I do not know if the FHLC will ever be brought into the Wiki, but that would be very nice at some point. If it is, all film/fiche/books/etc. could always be referenced through a template. This template could, for example, produce other styles (such as highlighting), links, or whatever based upon the facility. They could maintain a table in the database of their holding and actions (style, links, etc.). If they do not hold the resource or no link exists, it would like to the FHLC entry. I could see this as being very nice if it is maintained. I could see if my location has a particular holding before I visit.
Anyway, those are my thoughts for now. I hope this thread sparks some discussion. Another subject for discussion will be coming in the next few days.

The_Earl
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Postby The_Earl » Thu Mar 20, 2008 11:04 am

Keep in mind that whatever they publish to the wiki becomes public domain subject to the Creative Commons license on the wiki.

That means that the person entering the information needs to have the permission of the copyright holder to publish it.

This only applies to the 'Blue Binders' as it does not sound like you would be putting the holdings up. It is likely that the 'Blue Binders' are not tightly controlled as to copyright, but some footwork may be needed to make sure that no one would get upset about it.

I like the idea of a subsection, or tagged template that would attribute this work to BYU, but exist on the FS wiki like #5. BYU could even build a nice infobox that would point to their library resources from the wiki, and have pretty pictures or whatnot.

The Earl

JBParker-p40
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BYU Holdings

Postby JBParker-p40 » Thu Mar 20, 2008 11:08 am

Would another possibility be that BYU would maintain their own sire with details of their holdings, and a link be placed on the Wiki to those holdings? I have done something similar with the Idaho State Historical Society Library from various pages under the "Idaho" portal page. Also, I have added information about how to search a library's catalog for a specific subject (American Indians). See "Archives and Libraries" under the"Indians of North America" Portal Page. Could this be at least a partial answer?

Thomas_Lerman
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Postby Thomas_Lerman » Thu Mar 20, 2008 11:28 am

So far, the only things that have been published from the "Blue Binders" are the Research Outlines. BYU is very careful about copyrights.

6. As The Earl mentioned, an info box may also been another great solution.

7. As JBParker mentioned, BYU coulld maintain their own site with details on their holdings, etc. and that may be another great solution. An advantage that I can see in the BYU and various sites that especially have FHL films is that a search through the FHLC would automatically indicate whether the location has the film or not.

Keep those great thoughts coming. Thank you.

ritcheymt-p40
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Postby ritcheymt-p40 » Fri Mar 21, 2008 4:36 pm

A library catalog database feels like a very different thing than a wiki. In a library catalog, the data is very structured using strictly-defined fields, which allows users to delimit a search in many, many ways. A wiki, by contrast, has almost no structure and generally does not force data entry into a strict, many-field template. I'm not saying an extension couldn't be written, or that templates couldn't be written, or that our search engine couldn't be wildly modified to accomodate all the functionality a good library catalog would need, but it would be such a huge project that it would distract people from the core purpose of this wiki, which is to offer research advice. Such a project might even detract from the functionality needed to offer research advice. Since a library catalog is so far from what this wiki currently is, I have to wonder, too, whether there isn't some better solution for the BYU FHC to catalog its holdings. OCLC? A Plone site with their library plugin installed? An open source app which was specifically designed to be an online catalog? There has to be some other tool which is better suited to BYU's needs and is already built. Building this wiki into a library catalog feels like taking a Jeep and trying to make it into a Ferrari. The question isn't whether a Ferrari is needed, it's whether it's a good idea to use a Jeep as your starting point.

Thomas_Lerman
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Postby Thomas_Lerman » Fri Mar 21, 2008 11:53 pm

I would agree although it seems like I heard rumblings about the possibility or maybe I misunderstood. It does seem like the rumblings were about everyone being able to update the descriptions about the individual films and not about the other fields. Even with the FHLC separate as it is now, a template would be great to be able to link the film referred in the Wiki to the entry in the FHLC. This template could do some special things for BYU, etc. In any case, I am just brainstorming to try to see what other ideas may be generated.

ritcheymt-p40
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Postby ritcheymt-p40 » Sat Mar 22, 2008 7:34 pm

Thomas_Lerman wrote:[SNIP] Even with the FHLC separate as it is now, a template would be great to be able to link the film referred in the Wiki to the entry in the FHLC. This template could do some special things for BYU, etc. In any case, I am just brainstorming to try to see what other ideas may be generated.


This sounds interesting. What use cases would you like to satisfy? I like the idea of the wiki adding value to catalog entries that need some help.

Thomas_Lerman
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Postby Thomas_Lerman » Sat Mar 22, 2008 8:25 pm

I did a couple of "Random Page" links and found:
https://wiki.familysearch.org/en/South_Dakota_Genealogy

Within this page, it refers to a few films including

(FHL film 855209)


Instead of referring to a film like this, my thought is to include it in a template something like {{FHL|filmno=885209}} that would automatically generate the link such as:
http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=filmhitlist&columns=*%2C0%2C0&filmno=885209

If the URL changes in the future, we would just change the template and all links would magically be fixed.

In the case of BYU, good question . . . that is one of the things I am trying to figure out. If the Wiki knows that it is querying BYU's holdings, maybe query a database somewhere (over the Internet, MySQL table from Wiki, who knows where) and if it holds the resource, highlight the text.

Maybe the real place to take care of this issue would be to see if the FHLC can change. Have the FHLC continue to always show the SLC holdings (as it does), but optionally also show other location's holdings. Then, someone can browse the Wiki, click on the link to get to the FHLC. In the FHLC, the patron can read about the film, see where it is located in SLC, and see if their selected FHC (or wherever) has that film.

scion-p40
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Postby scion-p40 » Sat Mar 29, 2008 12:29 am

About 20 years ago, the FHLC CDs had location data on them. Once a researcher found a particular desired film or fiche (it did not work for periodicals or books), a function key could be pressed. A list of FHCs with the film/fiche on permanent loan was then displayed. This feature was frequently used in our FHC, even though we were a good 60 or 70 miles to the next closest FHC.

Now I find books on OCLC, then request them on interlibrary loan through my local public library.

ritcheymt-p40
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Postby ritcheymt-p40 » Sun Mar 30, 2008 9:37 pm

Thomas_Lerman wrote:[SNIP]
Instead of referring to a film like this, my thought is to include it in a template something like {{FHL|filmno=885209}} that would automatically generate the link such as:
http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=filmhitlist&columns=*%2C0%2C0&filmno=885209

If the URL changes in the future, we would just change the template and all links would magically be fixed.
[SNIP]


I like the idea of being able to fix all the links if the Family History Library Catalog URL changes. I may not understand the template idea, though -- is there another problem it solves? Isn't there a way to solve a URL change problem without requiring users to add template code each time they link to a Family History Library Catalog entry? I'd think that if the FHLC URL changes, engineers would be able to do something like a global find and replace on the database to change all the FHLC links. I'd rather have a single engineer solve the problem than implement a template workaround that would make it harder for hundreds of contributors to create links. What am I failing to see?


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