Update for week ended 31 July 2020

ak19. Friday, July 31st, 2020.

Hi again GS blog readers,

This week has been eventful but only involved a little work on general Greenstone code.  That was mainly in the form of a fix to allow the recently-introduced “Export/Convert (GLI) metadata to CSV” GLI feature to work on Java 6 and 7 too, and not just Java 8. This was a necessary change, as our nightly builds are on systems where Java 6 and 7 are installed. Thanks to Kathy’s keen eye which caught the cause of nightly linux GS3 binaries not going through, this was solvable and solved.

There’s a new bug that I discovered this week when working with someone who uses client-GLI to connect to their remote server. Unfortunately, this is a dreaded encoding bug and may take some time to resolve (or, if I’m really lucky, will be easy and quick to solve!) I will be looking at it as soon as this blog post is done.

During the past few months and ongoing, I’ve been assigned to help an institution who hired the university’s CS department to set up their own Digital Library. So I’ve been learning hands-on what it is like to use Greenstone with real-world purpose, rather than just using Greenstone when testing it for a release or investigating it for bugs discovered by mailing list users, or just using the basic collection design. It’s been quite full on work, but it simultaneously benefits the larger Greenstone community: all bugs discovered so far have been fixed for everyone and are made available in the nightly releases. Most of the bugs discovered had to do with client-GLI and its interaction with the remote Greenstone 3 server. As a result of this process, client-GLI has become far more robust to use.

A consequence of working with our colleagues at that institution to set up a GS3 DL for them is that I had to understand format statements and collection design, so I could pass my understanding on to them. While most of our remote conferencing sessions mixed both general needs and needs specific to the institution, I’d created 2 general pre-recorded tutorials covering all those major topics, which I believe could be of use to all persons learning to become Greenstone librarians. The topics covered are collection design from scratch, ranging from configuring browsing classifiers and search indexes, and configuring the UnknownPlugin for MP4s and associating files/equivalent documents, to understanding and working with format statements, including creating basic reusable templates in the global format statement. The second video covers using MetadataCSVPlugin with document metadata in the form of a CSV spreadsheet and ends by going over how to add collection/document level security (pasword protection).

The first video is 3.5 hours long and has some sensitive content visible at present in the form of passwords and private server connection details that would first need editing out before being made public. The second video clocks in at 1 hour and is more or less ready for viewing, except both suffer from my embarrassing grating voice and from format statements being very slow to edit back then, plus I’m not comfortable that there’s a brief shot of my head in the first video. After editing the unwanted segments out of the first video, a task which I have no experience in yet, I’d ideally like to subtitle the videos and then strip out the audio altogether, which would also allow the subs to be translatable, assuming the videos are found useful. I don’t know when I’ll have the time for this, but I’ll do my best to work.

That about covers what I wanted to blog on this week. Until next time!

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