As we continue to charge towards the Taylor Family Digital Library here at the U of Calgary, the idea of unified discovery services is suddenly popping up frequently in casual (work) conversations and meetings. This is especially relevant at the UofC as our umbrella organizational structure is called Libraries and Cultural Resources (LCR) and consists of the Library, Archives, Museum, and University Press. We desperately want to be able to allow our users to search across all our collections, not just bibliographic.
One of the products we're interested in is Summon, by Serials Solutions. I just watched a 5-minute marketing video, and liked what I saw (though of course that's the purpose of a marketing video, eh?). Primo is another example of this newish type of beast, and just earlier this week at the Code4Lib conference Bess Sadler of UVa presented Blacklight as a unified discovery platform (slides in PDF). Holy cow, I just stumbled across Blacklight when trying to come up with any more examples for this post, and I think I'm in love!
Blacklight is an open source OPAC (online public access catalog). That means libraries (or anyone else) can use it to allow people to search and browse their collections online. Blacklight uses Solr to index and search, and it has a highly configurable Ruby on Rails front-end. Currently, Blacklight can index, search, and provide faceted browsing for MaRC records and several kinds of XML documents, including TEI, EAD, and GDMS. Blacklight was developed at the University of Virginia Library and is made public under an Apache 2.0 license.
Ok, where was I going... Crap, I got so sidetracked by Blacklight that I completely forgot where I was going with this post.
Well, I guess stay tuned. There are some starter links for you to explore. Are you guys coming along for this ride, or do you only care/need to search bibliographic records?