So Ross beat out 11 other projects to win the OCLC Research Software Contest for his next generation OpenURL resolver umlaut. Second place went to to Jesse Andrews’ BookBurro–so the competition was fierce this year. Much more so than last year when there were 4 contestants.

Those of us who hang out in #code4lib got to hear about this project when it was just a glimmer in his eye…and had front row seats for hearing about the development as it progressed. Essentially umlaut is an openurl router that’s able to consult online catalogs (via SRU), other OpenURL resolvers (SFX), Amazon, Google, Yahoo, Connotea, CiteULike and OAI-PMH. It’s all written in Ruby and RubyOnRails.

I feel particularly proud because Ross is enough of a mad genius to have found a use for some ruby gems I wrote for doing sru, oai-pmh and querying OCLC’s xisbn service.

Speaking of which we’ve been collaborating recently on a little ruby gem for querying OCLC’s OpenURL Resolver Registry. This registry essentially makes it easy to determine what the appropriate OpenURL resolver is given a particular IP address. So you could theoretically rewrite your fulltext URLs so that they were geospatially aware. For example:

  require "resolver_registry"

  client =
  institution = client.find('')
  print institution.resolver.base_address

If you want to take a look direct your svn client like so:

svn co

I imagine it’ll get released to rubyforge sometime shortly.