Google Scholar's broken Recaptcha hurts libraries and their users

Posted on Fri 02 September 2016 in Libraries • Tagged with coding

Update 2016-11-28: The brilliant folk at NCSU figured out how to fix Google Scholar using a pre-scoped search so that, if a search is launched from the library web site, it will automatically associate that search with the library's licensed resources. No EZProxy required!


Screenshot of a broken RECAPTCHA preventing Google Scholar from working

For libraries, proxying user requests is …


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PHP's File_MARC gets a new release (1.1.3)

Posted on Thu 01 September 2016 in Libraries • Tagged with Coding, PHP, coding, php

Yesterday, just one day before the anniversary of the 1.1.2 release, I published the 1.1.3 release of the PEAR File_MARC library. The only change is the addition of a convenience method for fields called getContents() that simply concatenates all of the subfields together in order, with …


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Library stories: 2020 vision: "Professional research tools"

Posted on Sun 08 May 2016 in Libraries • Tagged with Coding, coding

For a recent strategic retreat, I was asked to prepare (as homework) a story about a subject that I'm passionate about, with an idea of where we might see the library in the next three to five years. Here's one of the stories I came up with, in the form …


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Querying Evergreen from Google Sheets with custom functions via Apps Script

Posted on Fri 15 April 2016 in Libraries • Tagged with Coding, Evergreen, coding, evergreen

Our staff were recently asked to check thousands of ISBNs to find out if we already have the corresponding books in our catalogue. They in turn asked me if I could run a script that would check it for them. It makes me happy to work with people who believe …


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That survey about EZProxy

Posted on Thu 19 November 2015 in Libraries • Tagged with Coding, coding

OCLC recently asked EZProxy clients to fill out a survey about their experiences with the product and to get feedback on possible future plans for the product.

About half-way through, I decided it might be a good idea to post my responses. Because hey, if I'm working to help them …


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"The Librarian" - an instruction session in the style of "The Martian"

Posted on Thu 29 October 2015 in Libraries • Tagged with Coding, coding

I had fun today. A colleague in Computer Science has been giving his C++ students an assignment to track down an article that is only available in print in the library. When we chatted about it earlier this year, I suggested that perhaps he could bring me in as a …


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Library and Archives Canada: Planning for a new union catalogue

Posted on Tue 03 March 2015 in Libraries • Tagged with Coding, Structured data, coding, structured data

Update 2015-03-03: Clarified (in the Privacy section) that only NRCan runs Evergreen.

I attended a meeting with Library and Archives Canada today in my role as an Ontario Library Association board member to discuss the plans around a new Canadian union catalogue based on OCLC's hosted services. Following are some …


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Library catalogues and HTTP status codes

Posted on Mon 29 December 2014 in Libraries • Tagged with Coding, Evergreen, coding, evergreen

I noticed in Google's Webmaster Tools that our catalogue had been returning some Soft 404s. Curious, I checked into some of the URIs suffering from this condition, and realized that Evergreen returns an HTTP status code of 200 OK when it serves up a record details page for a record …


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Dear database vendor: defending against sci-hub.org scraping is going to be very difficult

Posted on Wed 10 December 2014 in Libraries • Tagged with Coding, Libraries, coding, libraries

Our library receives formal communications from various content/database vendors about "serious intellectual property infringement" on a reasonably regular basis, that urge us to "pay particular attention to proxy security". Here is part of the response I sent to the most recent such request:

We use the UsageLimit directives that …


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How discovery layers have closed off access to library resources, and other tales of schema.org from LITA Forum 2014

Posted on Sat 08 November 2014 in Libraries • Tagged with Coding, Evergreen, Structured data, coding, evergreen, structured data

At the LITA Forum yesterday, I accused (presentation) most discovery layers of not solving the discoverability problems of libraries, but instead exacerbating them by launching us headlong to a closed, unlinkable world. Coincidentally, Lorcan Dempsey's opening keynote contained a subtle criticism of discovery layers. I wasn't that subtle.

Here's why …


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