1. Christopher
    August 23, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    I have several ideas.
    I would very much appreciate it if your system embedded your search terms in the URL so that when they were doing a search that returned multiple results a user didn’t have to complete looking at everything within a finite amount of time- and the search results could be bookmarked.

    The best way to do this is to use a web app that slices the URLs into its component pieces and uses them as variables to do database queries, This can be made transparent to the user to make any number of (database resident) documents look like a file system to a web server. Then a search URL could be saved and whenever you typed that string into your browser the same search would be executed. That would make it easy for users, to say, periodically launch the URL in a tool like lynx and save the output to a file and diff it against the last search they did to see any new changes. It could be run by a script and the results parsed to show changes automatically. Also, it would be great if people could set up an account and save searches that would run, say once a week and email them the results (like they can do on PubMed.)

    Also, are there any plans to ever use cryptographic hash functions (like an MD5 checksum) or public key cryptography to allow all documents to be “authenticated” simply? Similar to what is done in the open source software community using the md5sum(for simple checksums to show if a file has been modified) or gpg/pgp software (sophisticated digital signing capability)

    Also, its great that you are digitizing the old records. What is the timeframe for that? (You’re probably just working backwards from 1978?)

  2. Wayne Eastep
    August 23, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    Having the LOC utilize the most robust search technology is the service we need to easily access all information within the Library’s holdings. I applaud the LOC for working to make available via digital technology this new resource.

    August 24, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    I agree with Christopher. A modernized functionality will be a great help to all users.

  4. Mike Burke
    August 28, 2012 at 9:44 am


    Thank you for your ideas about improving the search capability. The notion of saving search terms for later use makes sense. Searches can be bookmarked in the current system but as you probably know they are only good for about the length of one search session. Maybe we could improve on that.

    We actually have experience with digital signatures, the encryption of a checksum over an object using PKI, and have used them for many years in one of our ingestion systems. Are you thinking of them being used with the downloading of a copy of a record?

    Good progress is being made on the digitization of the catalog cards. More than 22 million have been scanned, quality checked, and copied to secure storage. We began the scanning with the most recent time period, 1971 to 1977, and we are now about halfway through the 1946 to 1954 period. The decision to work backward in time was based on a survey of public users who indicated that they search the most recent cards more often than the earlier ones. With continued funding we plan to finish the card digitization by the end of 2014. We are also exploring the option of making available a virtual card catalog which I described in posts on March 22 and April 5, as an interim measure to share the card images sooner rather than later.

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    October 19, 2012 at 6:46 pm

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