NYU goes live with Umlaut

NYU has gone live with Umlaut. I’m holding my breath hoping that nothing will go wrong with their installation that’s my fault. :)

Hi all,
We’ve deployed Umlaut to our production Primo environment at NYU.

Umlaut is available through the “GetIt” link on a search results page at
http://www.bobcat.nyu.edu and is hosted at http://getit.library.nyu.edu


Scot Dalton
Web Development
Division of Libraries
New York University

It’s interesting to me that they are using Umlaut to work around an exceptionally poor part of Primo’s user experience — the page (or really pages in a ‘tabbed’  frameset wrapper) that actually gets the user to accessing the document (physical location/availability or electronic availability etc).

Turns out Umlaut is exceptionally well suited to replace this role in Primo, because Primo already well relies/supports calling out to an  OpenURL receiver, and because Umlaut is designed for this kind of ‘known item’ and/or ‘last mile’ service.  I think (un-humbly) that the mark of a well-thought-out piece of software is when it can serve well in situations that aren’t exactly like it was designed for.  A ‘known item service provider’ is something we needed all along but didn’t realize it, and once you have one you can find ways to use it I never thought of.  I expect that more Primo customers will become interested in Umlaut.

And, my understanding is that Summon will also rely on sending out an OpenURL for actual local ‘last mile’ access, so I predict that Summon customers will similarly be interested in Umlaut.

I hope anyway!  Thanks very much to Scot from NYU for spearheading the Umlaut deployment there;  I have been very impressed by how quickly Scot was able to get things up and running, with little help from me, including writing some new features and plug-ins to talk to Aleph. Although I’d like to think that the quality of Umlaut’s code and documentation gets some credit here, Scot has been a pleasure to work with, and I hope he will continue working on Umlaut.

Somewhat oddly from my point of view, NYU has deployed Umlaut only in the context of their Primo OPAC/discovery layer.  Traditional link resolver use still goes right to SFX.  Personally, I think that our users in most of our libraries already have too many different interfaces to deal with, and I place a priority on consolidating and integrating them. Umlaut’s goal is to serve this role by providing a ‘known item last mile’ interface in as many contexts as possible.  But I understand that politically it can be difficult to make big changes at once, and my understanding is that NYU does eventually plan to target Umlaut for traditional link resolver use too.


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