Tag Archives: resource-feed

vLib Resource Types revised

Resource types have been revised.

The former resource types Factual Database, ePrint Server, and Subject Gateway are now generally typed as Miscellaneous.

Old links should redirect if defined for interfaces /start or /resource_type (more info on service interfaces).

A complete list of eBook-related resources is now available at http://vlib.mpg.de/start?type=Book%20Collection.

Hence the option eBooks has disappeared from the Special Content dropdown at http://vlib.mpg.de/start?srv=locate. Former deep links, for example http://vlib.mpg.de/start?special=ebooks, should continue to be supported if set up using the above service interfaces.

vLib Resource Feeds get down to the nitty-gritty

There had been two major usage scenarios which motivated us to introduce various RSS feeds for vLib resource lists about a year ago:

  1. Updating individual users about new resources available in the Max Planck Society
  2. Enabling MPG librarians or developers to re-use the resource information available in the vLib portal

Our experiences show that the first use case is pretty obvious to most vLib users while the second requires a lot more explanation… but we are willing to share! Check out the revised documentation of the vLib Resource Feeds to get some ideas and working examples.

information resource feeds – is this the data we want?

vLib information resources are available in RSS 2.0 format, see http://vlib.mpg.de/vlib-rss-feed.html

What’s the benefit of this? A news stream to hook interest? A huge list of entry points to be filtered and maintained in a user’s own environment?

As items basically consist of a title, a description and a link, crucial information about the vLib resource represented by an RSS 2.0 item may fail to be conveyed.

This may be a mere mapping issue as discussed at https://devtools.mpdl.mpg.de/projects/vlib/wiki/RSS (i.e. map more fields to RSS 2.0 item description) – where we are not taking into account additional atom elements yet (to contain, for example, an html-formatted description), or atom format to contain more detailed data about a resource.

Or we might even consider pointing subscribers to our own interface to a resource rather than to the resource’s original web interface.

The vLib resource interface URL is actually present within items as guid, and, in fact, it is meant to be a permalink – however, certain feed readers appear to prefer a permalink in guid to the URL in item link, that’s why guid isPermaLink is presently set to false.

Integration of electronic resources

On the one hand, there’s a rich abundance of electronic resources, on the other hand, it requires some effort to maintain and organize them.

An integrated platform may be a solution, but at least to some degree we’ll always be dealing with multiple interfaces and decentralized data.

From a user’s point of view, it may be desirable to integrate the various interfaces like links to web platforms, search engines, lookup tools, etc., with his or her own browser environment. Maybe this is actually a good place to combine everything, because this is where other useful tools and interfaces provided by third parties are to be found, see

e-resources in browser environment

If a browser search engine does not deliver results as desired, access to a more specific search interface is probably the best solution. By using vLib resource feeds, it is possible to organize these links in a feed reader or as bookmarks. Above I’m using Wizz RSS, a Firefox add-on feed reader.

Combining resources tends to blur the precision of a search, but on the other hand covers a wider range of content. Hence it may be useful to organize resources (with search interfaces) in sets, such as

vLib resource set

or use a deep link to point users to the interface which may best serve their purpose, examples: a list of resources, vs. a specific search triggered right away.

Documentation about deep linking may be found here.

vLib resource feeds

Resources referenced under http://vlib.mpg.de are available as feeds in RSS 2.0 format.

Resource feeds may be created by applying the usual filters to the complete list of resources as they appear in vLib.

Feeds are either created on the fly, for example, by requesting all Full Text Databases, or they can be addressed as static feeds which are updated daily, for example resources recently added or complete list of resources (A-Z).

Local views exist for every feed.

Please see http://vlib.mpg.de/vlib-rss-feed.html for detailed information.