Almost Christmas in Libraryland…Ho Ho Ho Mr Blyberg


It’s been September 1st here in Western Australia for 23 hours and I’ve been w.a.i.t.i.n.g all day for John Blyberg to wake up and climb down the chimney of libraryland and deliver an early Christmas present.


September 1st is the day that John Blyberg’s new version of the Social Opac – SOPAC 2.0 will be unveiled at Darien Library in Connecticut. Two weeks ago he gave us a teaser by outlining the proposed structure and functionality of this new discovery layer over the top of an Innovative Interfaces catalogue: SOPAC 2.0 What to expect .

John has totally rewritten the SOPAC module he originally created over the top of Ann Arbor’s catalogue ( goes social ).

So, what does it do?

It will provide a discovery (search and display) layer that is independent of the Library Management System. As long as there is a connector written, it can sit over any LMS. The look can be customised to fit any theme or template used by the rest of the library website. As well as search and display of catalogue items, it allows social data like tagging, ratings and reviews.

Why should libraryland care about what is happening at Darien?

1) The module is designed and licensed so that it can be bundled up and spread over the top of any Library Management System, with no cost for the software or license.

2) SOPAC is a module for Drupal 6, a free Open Source content management system that has been adopted by many libraries to run their websites already.

3) SOPAC can be themed and templated to look however the library wants.

4) When the code is released it will be extensively documented (once the dust has settled)

5)  A community of librarians interested in Open Source is already watching the project and ready to start playing and working with it

6) The “social” elements like tagging, reviews and ratings can be pooled and shared across library systems through the use of the Insurge software library.

So, if you are interested, what do you need?

A linux box running PHP, MySQL and Apache. Downloaded and configured copies of :

  1. Locum – the bit that lets the catalogue data talk to SOPAC
  2. Insurge – the sharable repository for social data
  3.  Drupal 6 – the engine under SOPAC
  4. SOPAC – the catalogue discovery layer

A connector written for your brand of LMS that will allow Locum to talk to the LMS. Darien will have one for III libraries (although I am not sure whether one needs to have already purchased an API module$$$$ ).

You will obviously need tech savviness, a knowledge of your Library Management System and time too. This seems to me to be a prime project for a consortium to take on, or a good place to redirect the $$ we were considering spending on expensive proprietary discovery modules that locked us into the LMS-is-God-and-the-ultimate-starting-point model.

I’ve listened to the podcast that John threw to us on Twitter an hour or so ago to keep us happy, John Blyberg Talks with Talis about SOPAC 2.0 . I guess it’s time for bed and in the morning there will be something bright and shiny to unwrap. I won’t know how to play with properly, but will have fun pushing the buttons and watching the pretty lights light up.

One thought on “Almost Christmas in Libraryland…Ho Ho Ho Mr Blyberg

  1. Ho! Ho! Ho!

    Sorry you couldn’t get it before you went to bed, but I hope you enjoy it when you wake up! Now it’s time for me to go veg out!


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