Library Widget System

Infrastructure for assembling and serving dynamic and reusable bits of library content.


The Library Widget System provides an infrastructure for assembling and serving dynamic and reusable bits of library content. By breaking up complex problems into simpler widgets, larger projects can be built using different combinations of Widgets, which each draw their content from different data sources. As a result, the maintenance cost of these complex systems is reduced and useful library content is packaged for reuse. For example, creating Course Views that were both maintainable and appropriately specific relied heavily on the encapsulation of content provided by the Widget System.

How We Did It

The Library Widget System is a RESTful web service designed to manage and simplify the development of independent PHP classes which deliver easily reusable content drawn from diverse sources. This system consists of a dynamic handler, one or more abstract classes for building widgets, and a structured directory, file, and class naming pattern. It is relatively easy for a developer to create new widgets in this environment by following a few simple naming and programming conventions.


Publications and Presentations

Casden, J., Duckett, K., Sierra, T., and Ryan, J. (2009). "Course Views: A Scalable Approach to Providing Course-Based Access to Library Resources"The Code4Lib Journal, Issue 6.

Sierra, T., Casden, J., and Duckett, K. (2008). "A Scalable Approach to Providing Course-based Access to Library Resources"Digital Library Federation Fall Forum 2008, Providence, Rhode Island, November 13, 2008.

Duckett, K. and Casden, J. (2008). "Scaling Up Library Resources for Students: Course Views at NCSU," part of the "Course Management Systems: Integration Library Content" series of presentations, 2008 LITA National Forum, Cincinnati, Ohio, October 17, 2008.

Duckett, K. and Sierra, T. (2007). "Course Views: A Scalable Project to Connect Students to Library Resources"EDUCAUSE 2007 Annual Meeting, Seattle, Washington, October 26, 2007.

Duckett, K. and Sierra, T. (2007). "Connecting Students to Library Resources through Course Views", poster presentation for EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative 2007 Annual Meeting, Atlanta, Georgia, January 23, 2007. [poster]