May 14, 2023 RAP
Here are some of my thoughts on Library Collaboration. I’d be happy to discuss this with anyone. If what I’m saying isn’t clear then please contact me by phone or email. I’d like to get us all thinking about these things and working together more efficiently. - Bob Proctor, Technical Committee, Database, Website, Digital Archives, and Search Tools.
Libraries ANRL, NEFRL, WNRL and NWNRL
Sharing Material between Libraries I’m all for this and I want to help make it as easy as possible to share material.
Sharing material with Educational Institutions We have talked about this but have not investigated ways of making it happen.
Database ANRL now uses FileMaker 18 Pro Advanced. I know how to build relational Database solutions. I’m pretty good at creating layouts and reports. I have programming skills that are useful in converting raw data or comma separated variable (CSV) files into something that can be imported into a FileMaker Database. I highly recommend use of a Relational Database over simple spreadsheets such as Excel.
Naming Conventions The key to sharing material between libraries is using common naming conventions for the material. When every volunteer invents unique names which are different from names used by others, then sharing material is difficult and becomes a manual process. For example, an inventory of material within one library created by two volunteers may be inaccurate and creation of a composite inventory of two or more libraries would be a nightmare. We see this problem at ANRL. The magazine names are somewhat abbreviated from the real magazine names and it’s unlikely that these same names are used by other libraries, the names of the scanned magazines are quite different from names in our Legacy Database, the names of our .pdf files use coded numbers for Issue, Month, Year but have no Volume numbers. The names of the .pdf files are not included with the Shelf List. Names of the Surplus Magazines do not match those of the Shelf List. Getting this information into a FileMaker Database has yet to be done and will be a difficult task. Nevertheless, we are marching ahead with inventories and scanning and plan to solve the Database problem later. This is how I visualize the situation. If I’m wrong, then please correct me. I’m not trying to step on anyone’s toes.
Library Science It would be wonderful if the organizational structure of all the material in ANRL’s Library was well thought out and in line with current Library Science conventions. We have yet to find an individual with Library Science skills.
FileMaker Although learning FileMaker isn’t for the faint of heart, you can get pretty good after watching training videos on either the FileMaker web site or on lynda.com. I watched the lynda.com videos to get going. Lynda is now a part of LinkedIn. I use FileMaker 18 Pro Advanced today. This version will give me additional tools for scripting and will help me improve and simplify my scripts. Just about everything I do in FileMaker has a button and a script in back of the button. I dislike doing things manually as that is error prone and inefficient. Once scripted, each task is simple, accurate and repeatable.
FileMaker Server I visualize a server solution which would include the FileMaker Server software installed on a server computer. It would:
- Exist in the ANRL facility at Cypress Cove Resort in Kissimmee, FL.
- Support multiple simultaneous users who are logged in from multiple locations.
- Have a dedicated server computer which is connected to the Internet and which hosts multiple “Database Solutions.” A Database Solution is a Database which contains a special kind of information. The number of solutions would be open-ended. For example:
- ANRL’s Database of Books, Videos, Clubs, Members, Audio Files, Who’s Who, Newsletters, and Magazines
- The Naturist Education Foundation Research Library
- Somebody’s Wine Collection
- Some other Nudist Magazine Collection
- Household Inventory
- Test Database for User A
- Test Database for User B
- Learning Database for Training
- The server would be available 24/7 and accessible anywhere with an Internet connection.
- Solutions could be cloned and used by others. For example, ANRL’s Book model could be used by NEF and then records from each could be easily imported into a composite Database.
Installation of FileMaker Server at ANRL Although I can visualize having a FileMaker Server as described above, ANRL needs to decide to do that. It would involve purchase of both the server computer and server software. It would take some learning to install, tune and maintain. I believe I could do this but I’d surely want a backup person to step in if I were unable to continue the support. It would help if other libraries became involved and supported this initiative.
Data Sharing ANRL uses a 2 TB Dropbox and a big part of our digital collection is in the Dropbox. With this, we can share parts (folders) with others. Examples: A volunteer may want only the Project and Correspondence folders but not the entire digital archive; A member may want all issues of a magazine. A Dropbox user can control which folders are downloaded to his local machine. Sharing can be with non-Dropbox users by going to the Dropbox web site and setting up a shared folder.