Since we are starting to work on final projects for my Digital Libraries course, I will be posting regularly on my status and progress.
During today’s LEEP on-campus session, we worked on installing the Greenstone program onto a publicly accessible web server which includes our own running instance of Apache to configure to our heart’s content. Greenstone is a funky platform that has developed over the course of twenty or so years. It includes a series of modules (called macros) that all work together to build collections and create interfaces. Getting Greenstone up and running basically involved creating a space for it on the webserver, getting the package, unpacking the package and compiling the code
I’m making it sound easy-breazy, which it was, with a little bit of hand-holding. The end result is a public-facing collection building and collection presenting tool, which you can see at http://classrm01.lis.illinois.edu:9001/greenstone/cgi-bin/library.cgi.
You can see that the default configuration and style is pretty terrible. The instructor keeps tellings us to ignore the style, but the wavy green lines kind of give me a headache. Of the collections listed, I have created two of them, which were really nothing more than experiments. For the first one–pictured below–I took a few items from the Beloved and Gothic primary source packet that I wrote about last week, and added a few of the items. Greenstone lets you add custom metadata to each record, which I did to help create nice browsing and search capabilities. I also heavily edited the results page (which is the image below) to make it look nicer and to present information in a cleaner way. The link to search the Newberry Catalog was something of my own devising, which entails nothing more that passing the title as an encoded text string to the catalog.
The Anti-Slavery Almanac = The%20American%20Anti-Slavery%20Almanac
The second example (http://classrm01.lis.illinois.edu:9001/greenstone/cgi-bin/library.cgi?site=localhost&a=p&p=about&c=estepno2&l=en&w=utf-8) was less successful because I was trying to harvest metadata that is embedded in simple HTML pages. The pages were created from notes that I took at the American Medical Association’s archive a few years ago about the quack doctor, William Estep. I did, however, do some pretty extensive CSS customizations, as seen below. I’m trying to get a Greenstone collection to look as much like a “modern” webpage as I can. Seems like a worthy task.