It’s essential for public and school libraries to have collections that cater to the reading interests of their patrons. In addition, their catalogue must inspire readers and encourage exploration. However, due to the ever-increasing choices available, selecting new titles can be overwhelming. Fortunately, NBD Biblion is there to help, offering personalised recommendations and supplying libraries with the necessary books and media titles. We’ve had a long-term partnership with NBD Biblion, starting over twenty years ago. We’ve developed many of their in-house systems and commercial websites and delivered technical advice and software support. NBD Biblion recently asked BSL to support their system management team, helping to support software and services not developed by BSL.
NBD Biblion – modernising their business
Over the last few years, NBD Biblion has undergone a metamorphosis, investing in new technology such as AI and evolving its business by introducing many innovations and services. They have invested in products such as Skillsdojo, which takes children on fun online missions in technology and science. For example, they can design a robot, work on artificial intelligence, build an app or learn how to program. And by acquiring Bookarang, they can now automate metadata production for their vast collection of titles. And by applying AI techniques, they can predict the popularity and sales of individual titles.
NBD Biblion and BSL
We’ve worked alongside NBD Biblion for over twenty years – an extraordinarily long period in the IT sector. This long-term partnership, our flexibility, and constantly evolving technology within BSL allow us to match the tempo of change within NBD Biblion.
Initially developing their Media Information and Production System (MIPS) and (later) their More over Media database (MOM), we’ve regularly enhanced and improved these systems, keeping up with current trends and technologies and fulfilling the many change requests we receive each year. Along with developing other NBD Biblion products, such as their online web databases (Literom and Uittrekselbank), we’ve created many APIs and web services, sharing and transforming MIPS and MOM data for use by many other products, both within NBD Biblion and also by third parties.
Long-term partnership with clear benefits
We’ve enjoyed a good, constructive, long-term relationship with NBD Biblion. At their request, we have recently expanded our role, temporarily taking over various system management tasks while their IT team focuses on migrating to a new ERP system. This is straightforward for BSL, as we are familiar with their organisation, infrastructure and technology and can respond quickly. We are also assisting NBD Biblion in other ways, moving some of their systems to the Cloud and linking their data with services provided by other organisations, such as the Dutch national library service. In the following text, we describe some of our recent work on their behalf.
We previously integrated our Media Information Production System (MIPS) with Bookarang, a unique service that can quickly determine book metadata, such as title, author, genre, keywords and review text. As a result of our long-term partnership with NBD Biblion, we’ve been able to devise and introduce many optimisations. For instance, in managing metadata requests, exchanging title processing information with Bookarang, automatically cleaning up archived titles, and recognising and merging earlier title editions to match existing metadata with attributes derived from Bookarang. For the latter case, we present Bookarang metadata alongside existing metadata in a comparison window so that users can choose the best values.
Processing PDFs from publishers and via OCR
Publishers send PDFs of new books to NBD Biblion daily, and an external company delivers digital copies created using OCR. For processing reasons NBD Biblion requires an ISBN number within the name of each file, which many publishers fail to include. Therefore, working closely with NBD, we developed various methods to automatically read the ISBN from the PDF, renaming the source file to include the missing information.
MIPS keyword management
NBD Biblion assigns keywords using MIPS, but they have over 50.000 different terms in their thesaurus, which can slow the selection process. However, we have now further optimised the interfaces so that users can select the correct keywords more quickly.
MIPS-API service for metadata
We developed the MIPS-API service to deliver the edited metadata of titles as XML. However, before the metadata is output, we sometimes apply hundreds of edits and transformations, as the data comes from many different sources. As a result of recent development work, we can perform these edits and transformations in advance and cache the results. The service now returns the results for (often several hundred) titles as much as 500 times faster.
SISO Online Drupal 9
We (re)developed the website (originally from NBD Biblion) for viewing and browsing through hundreds of hierarchically structured SISO codes using Drupal 9. Previously, the developers used Oracle functions to return the data. However, in the new system, the data is stored in MySQL, meaning that BSL had to rewrite the Oracle functions for MySQL. After migrating the data, rewriting the Oracle functions and redeveloping the functionality within a new interface design (provided by an external agency), the project was a great success. The site is available online, for use by their clients.
Management and support
NBD Biblion has transferred the management of a broad range of services to BSL. Under these new agreements, we also support NBD Biblion with production systems we did not supply. As part of this work, we are migrating several Oracle databases from internal servers to the Cloud and upgrading the databases to the latest Oracle releases. Our research indicated that Amazon Oracle RDS was the best option, and we made several costed recommendations.
After demonstrating a proof-of-concept and obtaining the client’s approval, we’ve migrated a set of databases to an acceptance Oracle RDS service. The migration of the production databases will take place shortly. Some of the many advantages include an up-to-date (supported) Oracle version, well-regulated backups, easy recovery, automated upgrades, a single service fee (including hosting and Oracle licenses), and the ability to adjust storage or CPU capacity to meet demand dynamically.
Placing these management activities with BSL has the advantage that we can quickly carry out installations and configuration changes, delivering a highly optimised support service.
Get in touch for dedicated support
We’re flexible and offer dedicated long-term support and development services that we can tailor to meet specific demands. If you’re looking for software developers with more than 25 years of web development experience or would like help from BSL to migrate your systems to the Cloud, we’d like to help. Please get in touch.