November 22, 2017

 
Project Overview

      Bradford West Gwillimbury and Innisfil Public Library systems have been partners in a wide variety of projects. This year, a joint application to the Ministry of Citizenship, Culture and Recreation for a digitization grant was successful. The project arose from the growing requirement for information on Local Heroes as a result of the changes in the elementary school curriculum.
      A small but significant change in the funding encouraged staff to review the way that the Local Heroes database would be structured. The study revealed that most small to medium sized libraries would not be able to afford to take on the task of database development, much less the licensing and software costs; therefore, open source software became the basic requirement for the project.


Technology

      In choosing software we looked at several different platforms and configurations. We wanted a solution that was powerful and was not too restrictive in terms of licensing. After a great deal of consideration, we settled on the following software:

Red Hat Linux Operating system for both the database and web servers.
MySQL Database engine that powers the site.
Apache Web server software for serving web pages.
mod_ssl Secure Socket Layer (SSL) module for Apache.
OpenSSL Provides cryptography for SSL encrypted web pages.
PHP Facilitates communication between the Apache Webserver and MySQL. PHP3 also dynamically creates required HTML pages.
XML/XSL Essays included in the database are in Extensible Markup Language (XML). XML files are formatted for display with Extensible Style Language (XSL).
jpgtn A piece of software that allows thumbnails of images to be created dynamically.

Summary

      The resulting database is secure and affordable. This open source solution provides a way for libraries to publish information created by their municipality, local community groups or businesses.
      The templates for data entry can be modified to suit local information needs. In this first version, off-site workers must use a password to sign into the data entry area. The passwords are database specific to allow for protection of sensitive information and for quality assurance.
      In subsequent versions of the database we will be adding tables for local history information and municipal by-laws. Opportunities for revenue generation or e-commerce abound.

Acknowledgements

      The Bradford WG Public Library would like to thank Kenneth (Joe) Saint for the initial compilation of information for the vital statistics database