REST output from Huddersfield's catalogue

Inspiried by John Blyberg’s middleware which provides REST output from the Ann Arbor catalogue, I’ve put together something similar for ours:

http://webcat.hud.ac.uk/rest/info.html

Here are some sample results:

http://161.112.232.203:4128/rest/keyword/author/tolkien
http://161.112.232.203:4128/rest/keyword/subject/yorkshire railways
http://161.112.232.203:4128/rest/record/id/411760
http://161.112.232.203:4128/rest/record/isbn/1904633048

I’ve decided to include more information in the output than John did — primarily because I want to use the REST output to power a staff OPAC.  Amongst other things, the output includes:

The output is littered with xlink links, which can be used to issue further REST requests.

For those of you who like gory techie details, the REST output is generated by approx 1,000 lines of Perl coded as a single mod_perl handle.  The code works by fetching the XML output from HIP and then parsing it to strip out anything that’s not required in the REST output.  At the same time, extra information is pulled in from other sources (e.g. direct from the Horizon database, and from the xISBN service).

Unfortunately, looking at the XML output from other HIP servers, I doubt the code can quickly be used by other Horizon sites.  Also, not everyone has their own mod_perl server to the the code on.  However, if anyone wants to play around with the code then please send me an email (d.c.pattern [at] hud.ac.uk).  There’s also a cloud on the Horizon (pun itended) relating to getting XML output out of HIP 4 — it seems Dynix have chosen to make it harder (not easier) to do this with the latest version of their OPAC (boo! hiss!).

I’ve already said that I’m planning to use the REST output to power a staff OPAC, but what I’m really keen on is letting our students loose on the data for use in final year projects, etc.  I’m also planning to use the output for a revised version of the Amazon Greasemonkey script.

The University is gradually moving towards a portal environment and I’m hoping the REST output will come in handy for dropping live catalogue content into other systems.

There’s still quite a bit of work to do, especially with adding information for journals.  We’ve already got live journal information from our SFX OpenURL server appearing in our OPAC, so I might as well include that in the REST output too:

Have fun!