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OpenACS Home : Forums : OpenACS Development : The "correct" way to handle users demographics and interests

Forum OpenACS Development: The "correct" way to handle users demographics and interests

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Is there a standard way for handling user demogrpaphics and/or user interests?  It seems like this would be a common requirement, so I thought I'd check if it's already been done.

I'd like to be able to keep track of some basic demographic information, like gender, ethnicity, etc. and user interests.  I know some of this used to exist in previous versions.

Its not standard yet, the code is still in contrib, but I'd try the new complex survey package and the predefined questions feature.

Predefined questions allow you to create a question and use it in more then one survey. They also keep track of the user's answer if he takes a survey already has one.

Survey also has built in the ability to view and CSV download responses.

The code is not yet bug free but its still probably faster then writing your own.

The other choice is photobook. Do you want to display the information to other users and let the user control privacy? If so photobook might be your choice.  Its a bit slower to set up and is also not bug free.

Thanks for the suggestions Caroline.  I'll check out the packages you pointed me to.

I guess these are really two separate issues:

1) Demographics - some standard demographics used to be handled by the table users_demographics.  Grepping around in the 5.0.2 code, I found references to this table in the ad_user_class_query procedure in ad-procs.tcl, although I didn't find any other matches.  I would like to extend the user information to include more complete personal information.

2) User Interests - this used to be handled by the "categories" and "users_interests" tables.  It allowed you to  create a hierarchy of categories and subcategories, and then you could track user interest levels in the different subject areas.  This was used on photo.net, and although it was simplistic it did work.  However, at the moment I just need the ability to set up a flat list of topics and be able to assign (or have the user select) areas of interest.

I would suggest using HR-XML if it has a spec for these, which I imagine it does, after all that is what HR does. It really does get old reinventing the wheel all the time.
Thanks Jon.  I didn't know anything about HR-XML, but I'm checking it out now.  There does seem to be a Demographic Detail schema as part of the HR-XML Staffing Exchange Protocol.
The IMS Learner information spec also covers demograpics and interests. Has anyone from the dotLRN community worked with this area of the spec?