I worked the registration desk in the morning and missed the product overview session and UUGI Business Meeting so nothing to report about those events.
There was an interesting commonality about the two sessions I did attend.
First up was The Google Experience in which a systems person at Novo Nordisk, an healthcare company and leader in diabetes care based in Denmark, described how they responded to the user suggestion that they be more like Google. Basically they take their bibliographic information (25,000 records) and authority records out of Unicorn and put them into a Google appliance. From that they can build subject portals and provide a Google search experience for their users. There is a lot more to it than this brief description allows. For one thing, they do a lot of work on the authority records to allow them to provide subject groupings. They have more information in the Google appliance that the catalog information so the user has a much better opportunity to find everything on their subject within the Google intraweb.
The next session, Extracting XML from Unicorn with OAI and SRU, was presented by the head of automation at Universite Libre de Bruxelles Librarie. He described how OAI and SRU protocols were used to build a searchable union catalog from data in Unicorn. I can’t say that I followed the technical details but the end result was nifty.
So what is the commonality? In both cases information was taken from Unicorn, massaged, and presented to the user NOT using a vendor’s interface. We have products like Endeca and Primo (Ex Libris) that can sit on top of Unicorn data and homebrewed applications that use the data but not the interface and you have to wonder if this isn’t the future.