In the world of books, book publishing and bookselling, the metadata exchange format “ONIX” is the preeminent method of communicating information about a book. In spite of the fact that ONIX is a rather flawed standard and protocol for exchanging bibliographic information, it is the standard which everyone has settled on. Mugo has been working with ONIX since 2003, first building a freely available ONIX management system as a proof of concept for the Centre for Canadian Studies in Publishing at Simon Fraser University and most recently building a turn-key system for an ONIX website - that is - an ONIX powered website.
One of our favourite projects, The 49th Shelf, aggregates a lot of data from a diversity of sources. Naturally, there is a range of quality; but even more than that: different sources often refer to the same physical object in different ways. Specifically, a person who writes several books can be referred to in a variety of ways:
There are are some heuristics to resolve most of these cases, but there are always seem to be some that defy the code and require a manual fix.
This process has to be performed on the production site, so we want to minimize the amount of time that the data is inconsistent and we don't want to run untested code.
Mugo has a tool that we use internally to help with the main aspects of a developer's life: development, debugging and maintenance. The tool is called "eep", short for "Ease eZ Publish". It's a command line tool which provides many functions and allows for accomplishing tasks quickly by integrating with tools like awk, grep and xargs for powerful one-liners and supports rapid development of powerful bash scripts by leveraging eep as a library of eZ Publish specific operations.
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