Features of the

Open Source Course Reserve


Modern Database Design

OSCRuses four tables in an SQL database: Courses, articles, and a third which links a particular course to a given article. This architecture means much less work at the end of each term since you can reuse article entries by linking them to new courses. It's also much faster than the flat file scheme common to many systems.



OSCR gets maximum performance from the combination of PERL, PHP3, MySQL and UNIX. Our system design supports large installations--in fact, you can even split the system across two servers: One to maintain the database and another to serve up the requested PDF files.



OSCR supports PDF files (for paper-based reserve readings) as well as URLs (when you link to a full-text source on the web). OSCR also records PDF downloads and reports statistics on this activity by course and by article.



OSCR offers two options...the security built into the Apache web server to control access (an .htaccess file and/or IP restriction) or a course-based password system (where each course has a password which the OSCR software validates).



Our design goal has been a system that not only manages a semester's online reserve readings but one that reduces the tedium of preparing for the next term's work. With OSCR, while it is not automatic it is relatively easy to move courses from a previous term to a new one.



All software used in anOSCR system is free. If you choose to run on a Linux server, even the operating system poses no budget problems...


100% Web-Based Product

OSCR is a fully web-enabled product. All data entry as well as search and retrieval is done via a web browser. With release 1.70, we've added web-based editing by course. If desired, it is also quite simple to use a product like Microsoft Access for data entry or subsequent editing (using the freely-available MySQL ODBC driver).



OSCR has been in production for over 2 years. Our in-house testbed contains a database of over 5000 articles.