Re: [greenstone-users] Project help requested

From Michael Dewsnip
DateFri, 18 Aug 2006 12:39:05 +1200
Subject Re: [greenstone-users] Project help requested
In-Reply-To (021c01c6c254$74da41e0$5c016c0a-hq-prl-ab-ca)
Hi Michael,

I have to start by saying that I'm jealous of your location: I have many
fond memories of Alberta, Banff, Waterton Lakes, camping in the Rockies,
bears... :-)

Also, you don't need to apologise for sending a more general post to the
list. Although you're probably less likely to get a reply, these type of
posts certainly aren't frowned upon, and in fact they are often very
useful to other people.

I've just been working on a project that is quite similar to what you
are trying to do. The collection is based on a big survey of campus
architecture in the US, and all the information (except for the images)
is stored in a Microsoft Access database, with a dozen or so tables. The
collection in its current (not quite finished) state is available at
http://puka.cs.waikato.ac.nz/cgi-bin/cic/library.

Briefly, the collection works like this:

- The Microsoft Access database is set up to be an ODBC source

- The Perl DBI stuff had to be installed (what OS are you using?)

- A new Greenstone plugin was written that uses Perl DBI to query the
database (perhaps DBPlug could be used, but I've never understood how to
use it!)

- Greenstone objects are created for each of these four things:
institutions, places, designers, and references

- The appropriate metadata is retrieved from the database using SQL
statements and added to these objects

- The Greenstone format statements and macrofiles were heavily
customised to display the different objects and link between the pages

- Custom Javascript was written for the Advanced Search pages

Your situation is a bit simpler, since you have fewer tables and fields,
and less scope for customising the way the pages look. However I think
you're still going to have to get dirty in a Greenstone plugin (how is
your knowledge of Perl?).

Before I forget, there is a new CSVPlug for Greenstone
(http://www.cs.waikato.ac.nz/~mdewsnip/greenstone/temp-2.70w/CSVPlug.pm)
that will process CSV files. I don't think it will let you link things
together as you need, however.

Regarding contracting this to someone else, you might like to get in
touch with DL Consulting Ltd. (http://www.dlconsulting.com), who are
very experienced with Greenstone. I work for them half-time.

You might be in for a busy fortnight :-)

All the best,

Michael

Michael Silver wrote:

>Hello,
>
>I emailed once before with some newbie questions, and I'm still wearing the
>newbie dunce hat. I usually like exploring things on my own, even if it
>takes me a little longer because I learn the system better that way.
>
>Unfortunately, I've got a deadline for this project that is looming, and I'm
>very concerned that I'm not going to make it. I severely underestimated how
>long it would take for me to do this, and am now looking at needing to
>finish in 2 weeks. As in August 31. This deadline is why I'm breaking down
>and posting this plea for help.
>
>My apologies in advance to anyone offended or bothered by this post. I do
>know that it is better to post specific problems with details than a cry for
>help like this, but I'm at the point where I'm not sure I'm choosing the
>correct path from square one in terms of data format.
>
>I'm looking for some help. I would be happy to accept help from the group at
>large, but I don't want to burden folks with the inevitable series of
>questions to the list. (I have read the tutorials, and the book, but I
>haven't had as much time working with the actual software.) If sending to
>the group isn't a problem, I can do that, but I was thinking I might be able
>to get a person that would be willing to help me with this project.
>
>I'm also open to the idea of a consultant to help with this, depending on
>the cost. If you are such a person or company, please feel free to contact
>me to provide an estimate.
>
>Below is the general challenge.
>
>The desired end result doesn't seem that hard. I need a searchable catalog
>of items, very similar to a bibliographic collection. In fact, what
>convinced me that GSDL was the choice was the ease with which I was able to
>build collections from MARC records. The collection has just under 5,000
>records in it. Current access by users is a paper catalog with subject and
>series indices pointing to an alphabetical title list with associated
>information including an annotation, dates, grade level, etc. Hopefully, the
>end result will allow full-text searching of annotations, keyword searches
>of series and subject, possibly limiting by grade level, as well as browse
>searching of series and subjects. If that's biting off more than is
>possible, minimum needs are browse searching of subjects, series, and title.
>Ultimately, it would be nice to be able to provide advanced options, such as
>limiting searches by date of production or date of acquisition, but....
>
>Creating that collection from a MARC file would seem to be simple.
>Unfortunately, the records are in a relational database. My database skills
>are limited, and I think the big problem here is getting the information out
>of the existing database files in a format that can be used by Greenstone.
>My attempts either result in a collection with no items, or a collection
>with one file. I've tried using CSV and XML formats, but I'm obviously
>missing something.
>
>The database files are:
>
>Catalog - contains most of the information, including a primary key of
>CatID. Series, Producer, Distributer link to lookup tables, but Series is
>the most important of those.
>
>Series, Distributor, and Producer tables each contain a list of ID and
>Description pairs. The ID is the primary key, and matches the entries in the
>Catalog table.
>
>CatSub - contains a list of CatID and SubID (Subject ID) pairs. There is no
>primary key - the table keys off the combination of the two. Each item can
>have multiple subjects.
>
>Subjects contains a list of SubID and Description pairs. The SubID is the
>primary key, and it links to the SubID in the CatSub table.
>
>The database files are in a Paradox database. I have attempted to get DBPlug
>working, but I'm obviously missing something in the database connection
>setup.
>
>In the past, the paper catalog has been produced by exporting the data from
>Paradox using CSV files, and importing into MS Access, and manipulating from
>there.
>
>
>That is where I am at. Any assistance, pointers, estimates, etc. are
>appreciated. Unless it's obviously the will of the group, I won't do another
>mass posting like this. Replies can be directed to me at msilver@prl.ab.ca.
>
>Thank you for your patience in reading this far, and for any help.
>
>Michael
>
>Michael Silver, Network Administrator
>Parkland Regional Library
>5404 56 Avenue Lacombe, AB T4L 1G1
>Phone: 403.782.3850 Fax: 403.782.4650
>http://www.prl.ab.ca/
>
>
>
>
>
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