I may be giving a presentation at the summer MIUG meeting regarding uses of the III XML Server. Regardless if that ends up occurring I figure I should post some of the applications here. I’m sure it will help the presentation as well if people fix all my mistakes ;-) The first of these is the Shrew project by David Walker of Cal State San Marcos.

Shrew itself is a SRU server that lays on top of the III XML Server and allows you standardized access to the III OPAC. For an idea here is a simple diagram:

You may think this is a needless layer. Why not just build the interface on top of the XML Server itself. Here are a few reasons:

Here are some links that should get you going:

For a better example of the usefulness of this, let’s take a look at a more elaborate example. One of David’s uses of Shrew is to integrate the III holdings with a metasearch product. They have decided to look at MetaLib by Ex Libris which can consume SRU-based servers and has an XML-based product that allows custom interfaces to be built on top of it. This means the III server becomes another holding source like any other that can be included in results. Here is a brief diagram:

There are some articles up on David Walker’s site regarding this project (codename Xerxes). The interface is currently under development and isn’t public but here are some screenshots to give you an idea of what’s possible. As far as I know this is far from the final interface so don’t get too attached ;-)

Here is the search screen for the Biology Topic area:

Here is the results screen for a search. You can see the book holdings mixed in with the other results:

As you can probably tell abstracting the III opac under a SRU layer can make things easier and open quite a few possibilities with integration. As SRU becomes more popular the possibilities will grow.