Re: [greenstone-users] setting up law library in Nepal

From Michael Dewsnip
DateMon, 23 Feb 2004 12:30:50 +1300
Subject Re: [greenstone-users] setting up law library in Nepal
In-Reply-To (BC5ED8C0-F87C%john-prokosphoto-com)
Hi John,

Thanks for your interest in Greenstone. I'll do my best to answer your
questions.

> We are about to set up a law library in Nepal and are trying to find
> software that will allow users to browse our collection of documents online.
> We will be scanning in books, journals, case notes, etc. sometimes using OCR
> and sometimes not. What are the benefits of a program like greenstone over
> any of the others (none of which we are aware of yet)?

I'm not really used to blowing Greenstone's trumpet, but here are a few off the
top of my head:

- Greenstone is open-source, so the source code is available if you need to
make modifications
- Greenstone runs on a wide range of operating systems - Windows, Linux, Mac OS
X, some Unixes
- Greenstone has been around for quite a while, and it is now a mature and
fairly stable piece of software
- Greenstone is under active development
- You need nothing more than a standard web browser to view Greenstone
collections
- Greenstone supports a range of document formats
- Greenstone is well documented
- We endeavour to answer user questions via the mailing lists
- Greenstone has a graphical tool to assist developers in building collections
(the Greenstone Librarian Interface) -- you don't need to be a computer expert
to create collections
- Greenstone has interfaces in nearly 30 languages (and we have someone working
on Nepali too!)
- It's free

And one disadvantage:

- It's free. This means that, although we love to help people using Greenstone,
we can't guarantee to. We do our best, but you can't always expect prompt
replies, or any reply at all.

> Each step of this
> process is a new thing for us and we are doing the best we can on a
> shoestring budget. From what I have seen the interface seems very limited in
> greenstone.

In some ways the Greenstone interface is limited by using HTML, but I think
you've missed quite a lot of stuff. As well as the very basic interface you've
seen, Greenstone also has form-based searching:

http://www.nzdl.org/cgi-bin/library?a=q&c=coltbib&ct=1&qto=3&qt=1

and advanced form searching:

http://www.nzdl.org/cgi-bin/library?a=q&c=coltbib&ct=1&qto=3&qt=1&qf=1

If you don't like the look of the Greenstone interface, you can change it to
look how you want. Many of the sites on our examples page
(http://www.greenstone.org/cgi-bin/library?a=p&p=examples) have customised
Greenstone's interface for their needs. I recommend you have a look at some of
these sites, as well as http://www.nzdl.org, to see what can be done with
Greenstone.

> Are there other ways to search stored data than just author and
> title?

Yes, you can search on the full-text of the documents, as well as metadata. You
can use any metadata you like (not just title and author).

> Will it interface with any other software? For instance cataloging
> software, barcode reading software etc?

Not sure about this one. For cataloging software, it would depend on the data
format the software used. Greenstone can read data in a lot of standard formats
(eg. MARC), and has some support for OAI etc. Don't know anything about barcode
reading software, so I'd say probably not.

All the best,

Michael