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Safari: new code search + custom textbooks

August 25, 2006

Okay - *now* I see the folks at Safari doing something creative with all that electronic content they have. I like the way the O'Reilly Labs guys described it:

'Code Search, lets you search through the more than 2.6 million lines of example code from almost 700 O'Reilly books. You can limit your search to a particular book, a particular category (e.g. Perl, or Java), or a particular author.'

Safari always let you search just for code. I guess what I'm really happy to hear about is that it is in a MarkLogic xquery database - a new kind of XML content server that should vastly improve the searchability of the content. A great locating tool! But just keep in mind that it does not provide full-text access right there. Drexel students would then need to log into Drexel's own Safari Books account to look up the references they have found.

And now here's something for all those faculty readers:

'... our SafariU platform ... allows professors or trainers to build custom books using the entire corpus of books from Safari as a resource, mixing in their own materials at will...'

Sound too good to be true? Well there's no free lunch. But some faculty may want to offer students the option to pay for the convenience of a custom textbook compiled from a variety of sources. It could be a boon if students were required purchase two or more OReilly books when in fact only portions of the books were needed. SafariU will print custom books that faculty compile and have them for sale in our bookstore within twelve business days. OR students can subscribe for per month to an online version of the same custom book, or as many as ten custom books compiled by their faculty. Sound good? I just wish it somehow took into account that Drexel already pays for online access to the full text of most of their e-books. Oh well. Can't blame them for trying to repackage the content to reach schools without the full subscription!

By the way - with the new budget I am pleased to announce the Provost supplied some funds to increase the access to our Safari Tech books subscription by one extra seat! That brings our license to 4 concurrent users. Hopefully that will lower our turnaway rate! Just a reminder to practice good netiquette and LOG OFF after you are done using Safari to open it up for the next user who may be waiting.

Until next time. best - Tim
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