Regarding the caching issue, when I restructured the bookcover.php module a couple of months ago, I made a shared function that takes care of processing images retrieved from the various APIs.  This function takes a "$cache" parameter which controls whether or not the images are stored in the cache, so it's very easy to change which images get cached on a service-by-service basis.  Looks like by default, it caches Syndetics, LibraryThing and OpenLibrary but does not cache Google or Amazon images.  I'm not sure where these defaults came from originally; I believe I just maintained existing functionality when I refactored…  but it's a trivial matter to change the behavior or even make it yet another config.ini setting.

 

- Demian

 

From: Greg Pendlebury [mailto:greg.pendlebury@gmail.com]
Sent: Wednesday, January 27, 2010 5:28 PM
To: Demian Katz
Cc: vufind-admins@lists.sourceforge.net
Subject: Re: [Vufind-admins] External content providers and terms of service

 

USQ had a long-standing issue with the caching... but it was a quiet concern. The issue came to light after finding some 60k+ images in out 'cache' which never expires... so it's not really a cache.

Many vendor's ToS (Google and Syndetics at least, which is what we looked at) explicitly deny caching at all, although I think the practical reality of web sites is minor caching could be seen as implicit in normal and fair usage... permanent caching however is a blatant breach.

Worse, it could possibly reduce usage stats against the external service, giving budget review staff a misleading idea as to its true usefulness (if such stats are kept and used anyway).

I think the idea of the comments in the config file has merit, and it is viable to at least consider a cache clearing function (perhaps in the session garbage collector?). Ultimately the responsibility for both rests with the implementing institution, so it's a question of how helpful should the software be to them in compliance? One counter-argument is that software that appears to do all the work for them will lead to complacency... but it's not a strong argument. :)

Greg

2010/1/28 Demian Katz <demian.katz@villanova.edu>

Hello,

 

Somebody just brought to my attention the fact that there's been some discussion in recent months about Amazon disapproving of use of their content in library catalogs.  This in turn makes me wonder if any of our other external content handling might be in violation of terms of service (or might become problematic in the future if terms change).  To make users aware of this potentially dangerous territory, I've added a disclaimer to the external content wiki page and the [Content] section of config.ini:

 

; IMPORTANT: Review content providers' terms of service before turning them on.

;            Terms may change, and not all content sources are appropriate for all

;            applications.  The existence of functionality in VuFind does not imply

;            suitability for any particular situation.

 

I'm wondering if anyone feels that any additional action is necessary or has any further thoughts on the matter.  I realize that there is a lot of ambiguity in this area, and I don't want to remove functionality from VuFind unless it is very clearly unacceptable, but I do want to behave as responsibly as possible.  It would be unfortunate for VuFind's reputation to be tarnished by careless handling of a relatively minor feature!

 

- Demian


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