Early Experiments

Jeremy Nelson's early experiments with using NoSQL and other technologies for bibliographic entities began in 2007 when he was employed as the Electronics Resources and Government Documents Librarian at Western State College (now Western State Colorado University) in Gunnison Colorado.

Google App Engine

GAE Legacy Logo

In 2008, Google announced a new cloud PAAS (Platform-as-a-Service development environment they called Google App Engine (GAE). This preview offered a Python-based application SDK loosely based on Django that ran on Google's cloud with access to Google Data storage technologies through the underlying GAE APIs.

To explore this new environment, Nelson created three GAE applications, a GovDocs Manager for handling the shipping lists in the material processing workflow of Federal and Colorado State documents, an application for tracking and recording usage for print magazines and scholarly journals, and finally a "eLibrary" that presented a display of electronic resources organized by title, subject, and popularity.

Previous to the development of the GovDocsManager and Serials Management GAE applications, the Savage Library accomplished these tasks with complicated manual workflows using paper tracking marks and fragile Microsoft Access databases.

GovDocs Manager

Screenshot of GovDocsManager Google App

The GovDocs Manager stored Federal and Colorado State Government Shipping List information and included a feature to print SuDoc and Colorado State Document call numbers using an attached label printer.

Serials Management

The serials management GAE application was a replacement of an existing manual process that involved librarian or staff to make a pencil hash mark on a paper form that was then tallied and entered into a Microsoft Access Database a couple times a year. The application keep a list of the physical serials still being subscribed to by the library, where staff entered an entry every time an item was reshelved, offering near realtime metrics into the usage of serials in the library.

During the cost cutting measures of the worst years of the recent recession, this application was critical in the decision to retain or cut a serial from the library's steeply declining budgets during those years.

Screenshot of GovDocsManager Google App

WSC's E-Library

The E-Library project at WSC was the cumulation of the experiences developing the GovDocsManager and Serials Management on Google App Engine. The purpose of the E-Library was explained in a 2010 Code4Lib Article,

At the Leslie J. Savage Library… [the] E-Library, running on Google App Engine, to manage the presentation of purchased and free electronic resources. EBSCO's Academic Search Premier, LexisNexis, JSTOR, and others, along with vetted research-oriented websites from government, corporations, and non-profits, are presented to our primary patrons, liberal arts undergraduate students and faculty.