Mirlyn Mobile

November 11, 2010

MirlynMobile image
Have you ever wanted to look up a book when you were deep in the heart of the library stacks, riding the bus, or between sets at the gym? We have! The User Experience Department, along with Library Systems, is proud to present Mirlyn Mobile. Mirlyn Mobile is designed to bring the powers of the library catalog to your handheld device. Take your research needs in stride with the smartphone-optimized mobile catalog.

To access Mirlyn Mobile, point your mobile device's web browser to m.mirlyn.lib.umich.edu (works with desktop browsers, too).

Posted by Suzanne Chapman at 05:23 PM. Permalink | Comments (0)

Searching for MBooks in Mirlyn

August 15, 2008

There are three ways to find MBooks in Mirlyn, the U-M online catalog:

1. Click on "Find Other Library Catalogs" in the upper right side of the Mirlyn screen, and you'll see the entry for MBooks/HathiTrust in the center of the page.

2. Limit searches in Advanced Search to "MBooks only" using the checkbox.

3. In Command Language, search for "wct=mdp"

You may have noticed that many MBooks records contain this reproduction note:

Electronic text and image data Ann Arbor, Mich. : University of Michigan Library 2008 Includes both image files and keyword searchable text. [Michigan Digitization Project]

These notes are going away. Searching on the phrase "michigan digitization project" in Mirlyn no longer retrieves all MBooks. Instead, use one of the methods described above.

Finally, we have gotten questions about items in Mirlyn with links to Google Book Search, but no link to MBooks. This occurs when Google digitizes a book from another source before they digitize our copy. An example of this can be found (for the moment) in this record. The link to GBS is created using Google's API. Eventually, Google will digitize the U-M copy and a link to MBooks will appear in Mirlyn.

Posted by Perry Willett at 08:14 AM. Permalink | Comments (0)

New REST-ful API for Mirlyn

June 02, 2008

Earlier this week, I had a chance to give a brown-bag session on a new API into our catalog, Mirlyn (Ex Libris's Aleph software).

One of the great things about working at a library is the depth and breadth of data at our disposal. One of the more frustrating things is how terribly locked-up all that data is.

What, I wondered, would happen if I could radically lower the bar of entry to the catalog for programmers of even marginal ability? The University of Michigan has a pretty big collection, and there's no telling what people could do with that data if getting at it was a lot easier, if they didn't need special permission or access to a particular machine, and if it was useful inside the browser using Javascript as well as in server-side operations?

So I went about trying to create a system that fulfilled, at least partially, those criteria. Unlike many ILS systems, Aleph already provides a whole suite of interfaces, including an XML-based API they call the XServer. Unfortunately, the XServer has, in my opinion, a number of shortcomings:

  • As its name suggests, it's based on XML, which can be confusing to deal with to the uninitiated. Remember, my focus is on weekend programmers, maybe just writing javascript inline in an HTML document.
  • URLs for an XServer search don't mean anything. First you do a search, and get back a search set. Then you ask for some records using that search set in the URL. It's essentially a random identifier, and looking at the URL doesn't tell you anything about what search was done or what you're getting, and you're sure not going to construct one by hand.
  • The interface is...messy. It's clearly a system that grew up organically, and there are a lot of inconsistencies concerning how things are named, what parameters are called, etc. I wanted an interface where you could take a good guess at what the URL should look like and be right 90% of the time.

When I was all done, I had a system that supports queries like this:

A book by ISBN:
Or a couple:
The most recent 10 books by anyone named 'Bonk'
And how about the next ten?

You can search by title, author, keyword, most standard numbers -- just about anything you can use to search the catalog via the website. The full list of searchable indexes and their aliases, as well as all the current Mirlyn API documentation, is on the new MLibrary API wiki.

While all the above examples return a subset of available data in the JSON format, you can also return XML if you're more comfortable with it, and besides the "basic" data you can get circulation status or full MARC records (expanded into either XML or JSON). Just replace "basic.json" in the above URLs with something like "marc.xml" or "circstatus.json".

There's still a lot to do (allow user-defined sorting, let people browse by callnumber, etc.) but it works and is useful and is certainly friendly, in enough ways, that people can start digging into it if they want.

I've put some simple javascript examples on the MLibrary Labs page; check them out, and drop me a note (or, better yet, comment here!) if you have questions or ideas.

Posted by Bill Dueber at 08:51 AM. Permalink | Comments (1)

Full-Text MBook Searches from the Library Catalog

May 30, 2008

At the University of Michigan Library, in partnership with Google, we have been busily scanning our collections. This opens up lots of possibilities, including an exciting one that launches today: search the full text of a book from within Mirlyn, the library's catalog.

If a book has been scanned by Google, there is a "search in in this book" field within the library catalog record. Depending on the particular book, a search will result in full text results (if the book is in the public domain) or search-term only view (if the book is in copyright).

Here is an example of an out-of-copyright book (with full-text results available): 1931: A Glance at the Twentieth Century. The record in the catalog looks like this:

Screen Shot of Mirlyn Record with "Search in this Book" Option

Screen shot of Mirlyn record with 'search in this book' option

And here are the results of that search:

Screen Shot of MBook Search Results

Screen shot of Mirlyn record with 'search in this book' option

All books that have been scanned -- one million and counting -- are searchable. Search results are linked to the full text for those works that are in the public domain. Search results for books that are still under copyright are shown in brief view. Brief view displays a phrase or two on either side of the search term, but doesn't include full-text display of the page. In either case, the search in the book tool will help you know if you want to get the actual book off the shelf before you visit the library or make a delivery request.

Try these sample records:

Full-text: The Miscellaneous Writings of Lord Macaulay

Search only: 500 Bracelets: An Inspiring Collection of Extraordinary Designs

Posted by Ken Varnum at 09:25 AM. Permalink | Comments (8)