Tuesday, July 01, 2008


Okay, I have to say this...we're looking at preservation tools here, to automatically identify formats and spit out metadata about the size of the files, etc. And one of the tools we're looking at is JHOVE. And I quote: "JHOVE provides functions to perform format-specific identification, validation, and characterization of digital objects."
Which is right up our alley in terms of what we need. So I download it, and start to read the installation instructions when I click on the file and nothing happens. And guess what? JHOVE doesn't have an automatic installer?! You have to go into the config file, and the home directory, and change lines to get it to work.
Um....hello? It's 2008. I don't mind doing this to set up a piece of software, but if you want people to use your system (especially in libraries), you might want to make it just a TAD easier to use.
Did I mention that you can use the command line to use this product? They have a GUI, too, but come on...any system that says "you can use command line!" is not going to have a great GUI. It's just a gut feeling. This reminds me of early Greenstone software, where you had to know PERL just to make it work at all. The GUI was a joke.


Gary McGath said...

I agree that there really should have been an installer. I've spent more time answering questions about how to get JHOVE working than about any other support issue. But that wasn't a design decision for me to make. At present, there's no allocation in our schedule for changes to JHOVE; all future work will be with JHOVE2, which Harvard isn't involved in.

But JHOVE is still alive on SourceForge, so there's an opportunity for someone to write an installer.

A lot of the action with JHOVE is on the API level, e.g., use of JHOVE to check ingests to repositories, and the command line is used with scripts. So there is a real reason for the command-line interface.

Scribe said...

I'm glad to get this information! JHOVE itself seems very useful, just hard to make it work for a person uninformed about the installation.

Anonymous said...

Uhh, yeah, command line installs suck!

/me hides the Evergreen install documentation from scribe's eyes for at least a few more months...

"Wicked people never have time for reading. It's one of the reasons for their wickedness." —Lemony Snicket, The Penultimate Peril.