Director of Development
State and University Library
Summa, the search system of the State and University Library in Aarhus, Denmark, addresses many of the issues raised in a number of recently published studies, including the observation that the traditional library catalog cannot compete with other services when it comes to explorative search, as well as the realization that the catalog is only suitable as a localization tool for known items. The challenge is to develop an application which will satisfy the users’ expectations for a modern search system.
Summa is an open source system implementing modular, service-based architecture. It is based on the fundamental idea “free the content from the proprietary library systems,” where the discovery layer is separated from the business layer. In doing so, any Internet technology can be used without the limitations traditionally set by proprietary library systems, and there is the flexibility to integrate or to be integrated into other systems. A first version of a Fedora – Summa integration has been developed.
Summa is the search system behind a national service offering music to all citizens registered as patrons at a Danish library, and it also provides the search interface for library material at the State and University Library, Aarhus. Presently the search system indexes approximately eight million items, of which two million are books from the library catalog and the other six million records are provided by other sources. Many libraries in Europe have expressed an interest in the software and as a result of this demand the code will be open sourced. The system is still being developed but the release is to encourage the creation of a community to support the development of an open source approach to integrated search.
The talk will present the ideas behind Summa, the architecture, and the plans. Examples will be shown to demonstrate the potential for this kind of approach.