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The FirstSearch User Interface Architecture Universal Access for Any User, in Many Languages, on Any Platform. Gary Perlman, perlman@oclc.org Consulting Research Scientist OCLC Online Computer Library Center. Outline. What is OCLC and FirstSearch? Goals for New FirstSearch - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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  • The FirstSearch User Interface ArchitectureUniversal Access for Any User, in Many Languages, on Any Platform

    Gary Perlman, perlman@oclc.orgConsulting Research ScientistOCLC Online Computer Library Center

  • OutlineWhat is OCLC and FirstSearch?Goals for New FirstSearchThe User Interface ArchitectureHow the Architecture Meets the GoalsSummary and Conclusions

  • What is OCLC and FirstSearch?Non-profit member library association Furthering access to the world's information and reducing information costs. 37,000 libraries, 74 countries/territoriesShared cataloging 43M+ records, 779M+ holdings, 103M+ ILLUniform interface to 80+ Databases100M+ records, 6K+ full text serialsTTY 1991, Web 1996, 16K+ libraries, ~10M searches/month

  • FirstSearch: The Second SystemMany New FeaturesLimit to library holdingsLimit to available full textCross-database searchingRanking and sortingIntegrated thesaurusMore wildcardsLibrary customization

  • Goal: Retire Related SystemsMany Legacy RequirementsFirstSearch TTY: 24x80 telnet versionEPIC: query languageElectronic Collections Online: full text journalsFirstSearch Web (original)

  • Goal: Avoid All Old ProblemsMany New VariablesNew functionalityNew application layer (SiteSearch), concurrent developmentNew programming language (Java)New version of UNIXNew high performance file systemNew server hardware

  • General RequirementsMany with One-Line of DetailMulti-platformMultilingualLevels of usersText-only versionUniversally accessible (ADA compliant)Help system

  • General Requirements:Multi-PlatformBrowser: Netscape and ExplorerVersions: 4.x (and then 3.x)JavaScript: available or notScreen size: large, medium, smallHardware: Windows, MacintoshColors: down to 256

  • General Requirements:MultilingualEnglish (en)French (fr)Spanish (es)

  • General Requirements:Levels of UsersHome (welcome)Basic (most nave users)Advanced (most experienced users)Expert (query language users)

  • General Requirements:Text-Only / Accessible VersionReplacement for FirstSearch TTYPossible ADA-compliant versionNo real experience in the area

  • General Requirements:Better Group CoordinationDevelopment: functionalityDatabase: loading dataMarketing: requirements & terminologyDocumentation: help & translationGraphic design: icons, fonts, colors, layoutUsability: evaluation & re-design

  • Goals for the UI ArchitectureAdapt to inevitable requests for changes (due to new requirements, usability, performance, etc.) Allow incremental development (due to so many unknowns)Defer decisions & allow global changes

  • Partitioning and ConstructionFunctional Partition (Pages): database selection, search, resultsPlatform-dependent Partition (Style): browser, version, options, hardwareLanguage-dependent Partition (Lang)Cross-products of pages and styles and languages using Templates

  • Functional Partition:The FSPage Objectpagename: an internal identifier pagetitle: a title displayed to users pagelabel: a short phrase for links in menus tips: on-screen help tips status: on-screen status information controls: page-specific controls action: a form action panel: a main form panel ...

  • FSPage for Expert Search[expert] pagename = expert pagetitle = &Lang.pagetitle.expert; pagelabel = &Lang.pagelabel.expert; tips = &Lang.tips.expert; status = &Lang.status.expert; controls = &Style.dbinfo.gadget; &Style.scanindex.gadget; &Style.thesaurus.gadget; &Style.news.gadget; action = QUERY:searchtype=expert term = termexpert index = indexexpert focus = termexpert panel = &Style.dialog.begin; &Pages.basic.submit; &Pages.expert.searchbox; &Pages.expert.index; &Pages.advanced.limits; &Pages.advanced.options; &Pages.basic.submit; &Style.dialog.end;

  • FSPage for Expert Search:search box[expert]searchbox = &Style.dialog.rowbegin; &Style.font.labelbegin; &Lang.label.find; &Style.font.labelend; &Style.dialog.elementbegin; &termexpert; &Style.dialog.elementend; &Style.dialog.rowend;

  • Expert Search (Lynx)Current database: WorldCat

    Type search terms and choose limits. Click on Search.Use the reference information on the screen.

    [Search]dog_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Indexed in: [Keyword (kw:)_________]Limit to: Year 1990-______ Document Type [Books________] Language [English___________] Library Code ___________ [_] Items in my library (OCL)Rank by: [No ranking__________][Search]

    [info] [index] [subjects] [news] [help]

  • FSPage for Detailed Record [record] pagename = record pagetitle = &Lang.pagetitle.record; pagelabel = &Lang.pagelabel.record; tips = &Lang.tips.record; status = &Lang.status.record; controls = &Style.thesaurus.gadget; &Style.ill.gadget; &Style.holdings.gadget; &Style.email.gadget; &Style.print.gadget; action = FETCH:fetchtype=record panel = &Style.dialog.begin; &Style.navigate.gadget; &Style.record.gadget; &Style.navigate.gadget; &Style.dialog.end;

  • Style Abstraction/Presentationextractformats/stylesstyleentitysubstitutionPlatform-independentHTML fileStylefile

  • Platform-Dependent Partition:Replace Styles with EntitiesMark up text with entities (constants, variables, and methods)

    &ErrorBegin; Something bad happened&ErrorEnd;ErrorBegin = ErrorEnd =

  • Platform-Dependent Partition:Modify Entities with Entities&ErrorBegin; Something bad happened&ErrorEnd;ErrorBegin = ErrorEnd =

    [screensize=default]ErrorSize = 4[screensize=small]ErrorSize = 3[screensize=large]ErrorSize = 5

  • Internationalization/LocalizationreplacelanguagestringslanguageentitysubstitutionLanguage-independentHTML fileLanguagefile

  • Language-Dependent PartitionReplace all language with entities&ErrorBegin; &Lang.msg.bad;&ErrorEnd;

    [msg]bad = Something bad happenednohits = Your search &query; matched no recordsnojs = your browser does not support JavaScript

  • Multilingual Advanced Search

  • Result of PartitioningPages.ini: functional decisionsStyle.ini: platform-dependent decisionsLanguage files:en.ini (English)es.ini (Spanish)fr.ini (French)

  • Template-Based Page Generation &pagetitle; &pagestatus; &pagestips;
  • Dynamic Page GenerationStyle fileLanguagefilesPages fileGUI templateLynx templatePrint template

  • Adapting to Levels of UsersPage names: Basic, Advanced, ExpertSearch box: 1 small, 3 small, 1 largeIndexes: 3, 10-15, 20-30Limits: full-text/library, all, allHelp: simple examples, complex examples, reference material on screen

  • Lynx Text-Only VersionUsed same style file as graphical, but used vertical page templateLynx knows that starts a new line, so tables could be left in HTMLLynx-only format entities used to tune the display: space, bar, break, line, paragraph, comment

  • Accessibility Issues: WAI Guidetitle attribute: shows popup help on form elements and linksLABEL tag: associates prompts with form elementsaccesskey attribute: associates Alt-x key with form elementtable attributes: not yet supported

  • Coordination IssuesINI files were easy to edit by non-programmers, but validation scripts were run for allPartitioning style and language centralized decisions, providing control to the right authorityLarge- and small-scale changes were made independently

  • Summary of ArchitectureStyle, Language, and Functional partitions stored in INI files - required the user interface police, armed with validation scriptsHeavy dependence on dynamic entity substitution, including page templatesBoth required a change of development paradigm - more rigorous control

  • Cost-Benefit Analysis:Cross-Product of PartitionsPagesadd/change screens independentlyStylesadd/change templatesadd/change (conditional) attributesLanguageschange terminology in one placeadd a new language

  • ConclusionsAddressing many access issues helped with individual (unexpected) issuesNot critical to get design right; need to be able to change what is wrongExpect the unexpectednew/changed requirementsopportunities from usability testing

  • Thank You!Gary Perlmanperlman@oclc.orghttp://www.acm.org/~perlman/

    Not going to focus on FirstSearch, but on UU goals and methodsAs a multinational member library organization, OCLC has a special commitment to universal accessIN SHORT: many requirements in unfamiliar areas

    A lot of backed-up demand because of old system inflexibility.

    Brooks Mythical Man-Month - Second System EffectMaintenance costs for redundant systemsSiteSearch is Z39.50 IR server

    Major changes to SiteSearch during our development(We did a lot of testing and performance evaluation)

    Discarded high performance file system

    only Unicode note attempted (old dbs were EBCDIC, new are ASCII)Each was one line in the detailed req

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