Project Updates

July 29, 2008

If you'd like to try out Citations Helper as well as the Research Guide tool prototype that we're currently developing, please visit the Sakaibrary Free Instance. This is a demo instance of Sakai 2.5.0 with all Citations Helper features enabled and configured to search free resources.

July 22, 2008

The Sakaibrary project has posted a brief online survey for people in the Sakai community who have implemented, evaluated, or looked at the Citations Helper feature in the Sakai Resources Tool.

The survey will be available through Thursday, July 31.

The purpose of this survey is to gather information on adoption and use of Citations Helper for the Sakaibrary project's final grant report to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and also to help guide future work on Citations Helper and other tools for integration of library resources and services within Sakai.

The survey is relatively short, and we expect that it will take only 5-10 minutes to complete. Thanks in advance for your participation, and please let me know if you have any questions.

May 1, 2008

New features for the Citations Helper released with Sakai 2.5 include importing RIS files (EndNote, RefWorks, etc), citation sorting, and adding individual citations to any rich text document in Sakai throug use of the FCKEditor rich text editor. Sakai 2.5 also features improvements to the Citations Helper configuration process. If you are interested in configuring Citations Helper at your institution, please see the configuration documentation linked from the Sakaibrary project Wiki, and feel free to contact us at if you encounter any problems or have questions. If you have Sakai 2.4.1 or Sakai 2.4.x., we recommend using the post-2.4 Citations Helper branch. For post-2.4 Citations Helper configuration instructions, please see the post-2.4 Configuration Instructions page.

Currently we are in the process of implementing a prototype of a Subject Research Guide tool that will allow a librarian or instructor to create a subject research guide using an interactive dynamic Web-based interface. Functionality includes the ability to integrate text, links to databases, constrained search boxes, citations, citation lists, and other types of content, and to store it within the context of a course site in Sakai for students to access.

During December 2007, we attended the 8th Sakai Conference in Newport Beach. Jon Dunn, Susan Hollar and Diane Dallis conducted a session to share and demonstrate the functionality of the Citations Helper, including new features in Sakai 2.5, and to discuss plans for the implementation of Subject Research Guides. Additionally, we presented a technical session to describe the various technologies the Citations Helper employs, including Metasearch engines, OpenURL Link Resolvers, OKI Repository OSID, and modifications to Sakai Content. We also will be attending the Sakai Conference in Paris during July 2008, where we will demonstrate a working prototype of the Subject Research Guide and discuss future directions.

If you have any questions or comments on Sakaibrary, please contact Jon Dunn or Susan Hollar

August 1, 2007

The Sakaibrary "Citations Helper" was released in Sakai 2.4 in May. Operating within the Sakai Resources tool, users can search licensed library databases and manage both citations and persistent links to articles and other online items. The tool leverages existing library technology infrastructure - namely metasearch engines and OpenURL link resolvers - to deliver this functionality, while also providing integration between Sakai and Google Scholar as an alternative approach for resource discovery. We'd like to thank all of our project partners for helping us reach this important milestone in the Sakaibrary project.

If your institution is interested in configuring the tool for pilot testing on your campus, please see the configuration documentation linked from the Sakaibrary project Wiki, and feel free to contact us at if you encounter any problems. In Sakai 2.4, the Citations Helper default is set to off. Because this is the first production release, we recommend you select specific courses with which to pilot the tool during fall 2007, rather than promoting it campus-wide. This will give us the opportunity to collect more use data and improve the tool for future use.

We are also happy to announce that we have received a no-cost extension to our grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to allow us to continue our project work through spring 2008. Now that we've completed our work for the 2.4 release, we're focusing on subject research guides and will be soliciting feedback through the e-mail list for the Library & Repositories discussion group site at

If you have any questions or comments on Sakaibrary, please contact Jon Dunn or Susan Hollar

December 31, 2006

Phase I of Sakaibrary development is complete. The citation management and library search tool developed in the first phase of the project allows users to search and retrieve citations from individual databases such as ProQuest and JSTOR, as well as from groups of databases specific to the subject needs of a course, in order to create citation lists. Copies of these citation lists can then be attached to other items (assignments, discussion postings, calendar items, etc.) within Sakai. Quality assurance testing was conducted in October, and in November, usability testing was completed on both the Indiana and Michigan campuses. Faculty, librarians, teaching assistants, and students completed a series of tasks that provided us with valuable feedback on how our users want to work with the citation list tool, and what we can do to improve functionality. We are currently working on improving this tool for incorporation into the Sakai 2.4 release due in summer 2007 and are beginning work on developing prototypes for subject research guides to allow faculty and librarians to present students with information on library resources relevant to a course or subject.

A second Sakaibrary partners meeting was held in December prior to the Sakai Conference in Atlanta, in which the tools developed so far were presented to the partner institutions (Johns Hopkins, Yale, UC-Berkeley, Stanford and Northwestern). The partners provided input as to additional features required and the prioritization of new development work. We also discussed potential technical and user testing during spring 2007 at several of the partner sites. Moreover, we received many expressions of interest from library and instructional technology staff at institutions beyond our current set of partners after we conducted several presentations on Sakaibrary at both the June Sakai Conference in Vancouver and the December conference in Atlanta. Jon Dunn also gave an invited keynote presentation at the September conference of the International Group of Ex Libris Users in Stockholm, Sweden on the Sakaibrary project and library course management system integration issues. Additionally, a representative from the University of Michigan presented on Sakaibrary at the CIC Learning Technology Conference in November 2006 in Minneapolis. Susan Hollar has been invited to present on Sakaibrary at the 2007 American Library Association midwinter conference and the March 2007 Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) Library conference.

We have implemented an openly visible project Wiki at where intra-project collaboration takes place, and we have posted many project documents to the Sakai Library and Repositories discussion group worksite at Finally, we have updated our project web site to include the paper titled "Providing Library Reserves to Sakai using RSS" which provides a roadmap for institutions planning to deliver access to library services to Sakai via RSS (

If you have any questions or comments on Sakaibrary, please contact Jon Dunn or Susan Hollar

August 1, 2006

In March, librarians and technologists from project partner institutions (Northwestern, Yale, Stanford, UC Berkeley, Johns Hopkins) met in Ann Arbor to begin shaping the design and functionality of Sakaibrary. Usage scenarios were developed as a basis for defining requirements. (Scenario and requirements documentation is available on the Library DG site at Thanks to all of you who provided feedback on the draft requirements. We are now in phase one implementation, which we plan to have complete for pilot testing at IU and UM in October. In the current design, communication with the federated search engines is accomplished via modules that conform to the Repository OSID interface, a public programming specification developed by the Open Knowledge Initiative. We will initially create two such modules (targeting Ex Libris' Metalib and Sirsi SingleSearch), but "plugging in" OSID-compliant modules to interact with other search systems should also be possible. On the user end, instructors will be able to create a citation list within the Sakai Resources tool. Upon completion of a search, instructors will select citations and save citations, providing students will OpenURL links to retrieve the full-text or physical location information. Students and instructors will also have the option to export citations to bibliographic programs such as RefWorks and EndNote. We plan to demonstrate phase one functionality and present pilot test results at the December Sakai conference.

If you have any questions or comments on Sakaibrary, please contact Jon Dunn or Susan Hollar