This project started in the best possible way: over a few beers and geeky book talk with Noah, Tim and myself after work one day. At some point, Noah asked something along the lines of “Wouldn’t it be awesome if we made a WordPress plugin for BiblioShare data?” …and the next day I had a new project on my list.
We started this project with a few key things in mind:
- Make it easy for book bloggers to get up-to-date publisher-supplied information about books.
- Make it even easier for publishers to use their own data.
- Make it easy for publishers to get their book information to bloggers.
- Take advantage of existing BNC projects and give BiblioShare data some legs.
- Build off of other plugins, if possible.
Many book bloggers and publishers—never mind the millions of other users out there—already use WordPress as a content management system for blogs and other websites. Combine that with the huge development community that contributes to both the core software and plugins, and WordPress was an obvious starting point.
Why open source?
If you love something set it free.
We want to see this project grow and be improved upon, changed and modified for other platforms. Basically, we want to see what other people can dream up that we’ve never thought of. Got an idea? Get in touch with us.
How did it happen?
We decided to outsource the development of this project, so I asked around for recommendations and Hugh McGuire pointed me to John Miedema. John is an Information Technology Architect with a Master of Library and Information Science degree who likes to work on open-source software such as the OpenBook Book Data WordPress plugin in his spare time. We were destined to collaborate at some point, and it has been a fantastic partnership so far. He’s also Canadian, and keeping the work close to home was a nice bonus for us.
John’s OpenBook plugin was almost exactly what we were looking to build and we’d rather collaborate than reinvent the wheel, so we hired him to modify his existing plugin to work with BiblioShare data. The result is two separate plugins: the BiblioShare plugin which only uses publisher-supplied data and the OpenBook one that has multiple data sources.
More about the OpenBook plugin on Google Code.
How does the BibliShare plugin work?
Once you install the plugin, a BookNet Canada section will appear in your settings. There you can modify the templates, choose your currency type, and add an OpenURL Resolver to link to library records. Your user token also gets added here so you can access the data from BiblioShare.
Pulling in book data
You can use the plugin for posts, pages, and widgets. Posts and pages can use both the button that gets added to the visual editor or shortcodes. Widgets only use shortcodes.
After the BiblioShare WordPress plugin is installed, a button with the BNC logo will appear on your Visual Editor toolbar.
When you click on that button it opens up a form where you enter the 13-digit ISBN, choose a template, enter a publisher URL, and preview the result.
Click Insert and the shortcode is dropped into your post or page for you.
The shortcode is a set of rules for the plugin to use when pulling dating from BiblioShare that looks like this:
[booknet booknumber=”9780978359898” templatenumber=”2” publisherurl=”/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=206&Itemid=323”]
To translate into plain language, this says: pull data for ISBN 9780978359898, put it into template 2 and link the publisher name to BookNet Canada’s page about The Canadian Book Market 2010.
You can put the shortcode into the visual or HTML editor of a post or page, but also in a text widget.
This plugin uses images from BNC’s Image Service and data from BiblioShare via a web service we’ve created called BiblioSimple and designed specifically for display.
BiblioShare is a database of publisher-supplied ONIX data. ONIX allows publishers to describe books in great detail, and we can take advantage of that detail to do things like add Canadian flags when a contributor was identified as Canadian. (See the above image for example.)
To install plugins you need to be using the open-source blogging software from WordPress.org—not the WordPress.com platform that uses that software. Confused? Take a look at this WordPress.com vs WordPress.org explanation right from the source.
You need to apply for a user token before you can use the BiblioShare WordPress plugin. Why? Because we’re watching you. Not in a ‘Big Brother’ kind of way, but more in a ‘don’t overload our servers’ kind of way. It also helps us troubleshoot any problems that might come up.
When can you get your very own BookNet Canada WordPress plugin?
In about 2 weeks. We’re just finishing up testing, and after we fix all the little things we’ll put it up for everyone to use!
Leave a comment here or contact us at biblioshare [at] booknetcanada [dot] ca for more information.