Category Archives: CIL2007

Roy Tennant & Tim Spalding on OPACs

Notes from the session at CIL…

Tim Spalding: The Fun OPAC

Quote from Casey Bisson re: searchability, findability, usability

He wants more: “funability.” Serendipity is part of it. So are findability and usability.

We expect the web to be quick, easy, fun, and “the library is the most fun you can have with your pants on.” So, how can you make your current opac fun?

  • Bring it front and center—make it part of the website, not separate.
  • Make it dynamic. A site that doesn’t change isn’t fun.
  • Allow inbound links (increase search engine hits, make linking and sharing easy) can do by providing permalinks likeupper right-hand side of google maps
  • Link outwards—the more you link out, the more people will come to you. Link not just from website, but from catalog, too (useful links in records, etc. why not link out to local bookstore, amazon—why not? Patrons know about it already—if a book’s out they’re going there anyway, why not use as affiliate?)
  • Link around within your catalog and without—in librarything, everything is clickable (fun! increases serendipity, lets users get entertainingly lost)
  • Dress up your opac—if you use amazon covers, you’re supposed to link to amazon on your page (according to their terms)
  • Somebody needs to create open database of covers—someone is working on this?
  • Link to Wikipedia—students are going anyway, why not link to it? Or, even better, link to it but wrap some education about evaluating information around that link.
  • Get your data out there so superusers can use it—let people get involved, people will think of fun things to do with your data. Where are the ILS APIs?
  • RSS feeds (new books, searches) push things out from libraries. Patrons want to tell people what they’re reading, not just find out what’s available—how about widgets? No privacy issues when someone says “I want a widget that lists what I read.” The random-book-from-my-library librarything widget is really popular.

Librarything for libraries—add librarything data to opac (tags, similar books, other editions based on librarything user input) tagbrowser to look at library catalog through lens of librarything tags.currently tags are supplied by librarything tags—ultimately, libraries should be sharing tags, the more people tagging, the more successful

 

 

Roy Tennant: Catalogs for the Future

  • Won’t use “the o word”
  • Catalogs don’t have a future (at least as we know and hate them).
  • Discovery happens at network level, not necessarily at local level (i.e. people look for resources all over the place, not just in your library at a workstation).
  • Even at local level, people want to find more than books.
  • New finding tools are making catalogs obsolete.
  • By catalog, he doesn’t mean ILS—still need to manage collections, but need different tools for finding content.
  • Discovery needs to happen outside the ils (data needs to get out there).
  • Finding options available at network level—google, worldcat, worldcat local, primo (from ex libris).
  • Users want any useful info—format isn’t necessarily important.
  • Users want to search in one spot, not ten.
  • Most ils’s don’t offer the features users expect—openworldcat is doing some cool stuff (faceted browsing, clean display, relevance ranking, integrated article indexes, worldcat identities, fictionfinder)
  • Emphasize idea of finding tool (vs. library catalog)
  • Search box at top of penn library homepage—metasearch (e-resources, faq’s, books, video, research guides)

 

Predictions for successful future…

Integrated Library Systems:

  • Will refocus on library operations—getting the work done
  • Will be constructed with discrete components, able to work with other systems, exposed APIs, inexpensive, scalable, easy to maintain
  • Evergreen is doing these things

Finding tools:

  • Will integrate access to a variety of sources
  • APIs will be available
  • Will allow for relevance ranking, faceted browsing, etc.
  • Will be larger than library catalog, integrate library catalog




 

 

 

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Highlights from Computers in Libraries 2007

I might still post some more raw notes, but these are the things that stood out as high points of the conference for me..

Possible projects inspired by the conference:

Make library widgets/badges like librarything/flickr/etc. Bloggers, MySpace users, etc. want to share what they’re doing/thinking/reading with other people; make it easy for them to share the way they use the library.

Make Google My Maps for Academic Libraries of Brooklyn and for Metro. UPDATE: I’m making one for ALB. Next step: annotate and add photos, then see if I can mash it up with onNYTurf.

Look at relevant Greasemonkey scripts and maybe make some.

One possible useful way for libraries to use Twitter: library account that im’s twitters to public workstations for quick, spur of the moment instruction sessions (e.g. maybe assignment based when you get a bunch of students in a row asking the same question)

Presentations that were particularly inspiring:

Jesse Andrews gave an awesome talk: The Social Web (on the importance of happy robots). This was the highlight of the conference for me.

Chad Boeninger had some very cool suggestions for using web2.0 technologies to increase active learning: meebome widgets instead of clickers for in-class feedback, del.icio.us feeds for reference, using wikis for instruction instead of handouts.

Tim Spalding reminded us: “The library is the most fun you can have with your pants on,” and encouraged us to link around, both within and without our OPACs to foster serendipity and increase traffic. In another talk he suggested that Books aren’t just items of commerce—they’re conversations, identity, exhibitionism, integral to our perception of ourselves (if we’re book lovers). They create a network of shared mental space (think of the one book one city programs), so why not let people find them and use them in a way that reflects that?

Derek Willis gave a great presentation on implementation of Django at washingtonpost.com. He talked about “bringing beauty out of the data” and creating emotional investment in data, particularly by supporting browsability, not just search.

Marshall Breeding posed some good questions to keep in mind when looking at ILS’s: What’s the impact of who owns the company? Is it operated for long-term or short-term profits? Who’s making decisions? A board interested purely in profit, or people who know the library world? Can they understand libraries as business customers? Organic growth or growth via mergers and acquisitions?

Cool stuff I hadn’t heard of before (or had forgotten about):

From Jeff Wisniewski:
Yahoo Design Pattern Library
whatismyipaddress.com
Rasterbator— turn any image huge and print it out on multiple sheets of paper for a giant poster.

From Darlene Fichter:
Many Eyes— data visualization and sharing

From Frank Cervone:
openclipart.org
dbWiz— database selection wizard

From Steven Cohen:
opencongress.org
Citebite

From Mary Ellen Bates:
Kosmix—very beta, specific search areas are strongest (politics, health, video games—weird selection), can screen politics by leaning (left, conservative, etc.), satire, blogs, etc.

Exalead—lists search tools on advanced search screen, phonetic search, approximate spelling, adjacent words (near operator up to 16—only search engine that allows this?!) database not as large as google

Srchr—results on one page, creates rss feeds of searches, stores buttons, so you can revisit searches easily. Good for remembering complex searches.

Scandoo—metasearch, screens for hate sites, malware, etc.

Yahoo Search Builder—Search box builder. can limit results to specific sites, append keywords behind the scenes, creates search cloud to show what words have been used to search your engine,

Swicki—builds custom search engine, but then as people use it, swiki remembers what people click through to. As more people use it, sites gain weight.

Morgan & Gao: Using a CMS to Build Community– Joomla

Notes from the session…

South Carolina State LibraryCatherine Buck Morgan, Tao Gao

Joomla in libraries website—http://www.joomlainlibrary.com/home/

Reasons SCSU chose Joomla: Reliable, Easier than drupal, Used internationally, multilingual strong support community, continuous improvement (open source community development),

Drawbacks– doesn’t integrate w/ opac yet, but can use wrappers to embed, or link directly into new window

Use cmsmatrix.org to compare systems

Google search trends—mambo peaked in 2005 (rebranded to joomla), joomla’s increasing, drupal and plone staying at same level

SCSU went from static html, table-based layout, dead pages, basic perl scripts, no persistent nav, inconsistent style, not interactive, growing fast without oversight

Wanted Section 508 standards compliant, intuitive, interactive, collaborative, searchable, community-oriented, pushable, dynamic site

Used survey monkey for survey, best feedback from open-ended questions, used people from outside subject areas (fresh eyes) to review pages

Needed designer that understood libraries

People flipped out at first, but were happy in the end—CBM took the day off, monitored email, im

Streamlined admin, but opened up content creation (more authors)

Server specs, tutorials in powerpoint presentation (at joomla in libraries)

Wsiwyg editor, predefined styles for headings, etc., file handling, image management

Wisniewski, Fichter, & Cervone: Cool Tools & Toolkits for Webmasters

Notes from the session…

Jeff Wisniewski from U of Pittsburgh:

Yahoo Pipes—apply logic to feeds as you aggregate them, drag and drop, (e.g. scopusandwos pipe)

Google My Maps—MAKE ONE FOR ACADEMIC LIBRARIES OF BROOKLYN, METRO—mashup w/ onnyturf or hopstop?

Yahoo Design Pattern Library—like A Pattern Language! For web pages and interfaces! CSS examples, breadcrumbs, menus, etc.

What is my IP? whatismyipaddress.com

Rasterbator—upload an image and blow it up to about 20×30 sheets of paper to make enormous posters

Darlene Fichter:

Zamzar
Gliffy
Firefox Linkify—auto search for url on highlighted word
Linkchecker
Pixer.us online photo editor
Trailfire web tours—don’t need the extension to see the tour (works in IE) private, public
Myxter tones—ringtones
Mybloglog—site stats
Crazyegg—heatmap
Swivel—data visualization
Many Eyes (alphaworks IBM)— can upload data (e.g. tag cloud analysis from Gutenberg, comparison btwn multiple works)

Frank Cervone:

Google Webmaster Tools—help view website from outside (e.g. are some things protected that shouldn’t be?), links in from other sites

Google sitemap—xml file that tells google what it should be looking for
Sitemapbuilder.net—builds site map for you via spider, linkchecker

Opensourcewebdesign
Openclipart.org
Freedigitalphotos.net

Gvisit—map visitor log

Last.fm

Open source federated searching—
Dbwiz—simon fraser univ
Keystone ils—index data—portal, fed search, link resolver services

Huffman & Willis: Mashups, Remixing Info, & Making Data Browsable

My notes from the session (yes! more typos!)…

Cil2007—Monday—mashups, remixing info and making data browsable

National geographic soc.—magpie rss, php to aggregate feeds on home page, library podcasting led to society podcasting, series on itunes now. Including external info on intranet, rss feeds from public area to staff. News items—mobile access via newsgator, using google gadgets to paste in feeds from useful sources. Corporate intranet mirrored for distant partners/affiliates. Photos of partners for avatars for internal communication blog—builds team across org. easy input box for wiki (gets rid of “add a new page” need) online mindmap collab software (gliffy?) to map website plan. Extension allows rss feeds to wiki pages (using mediawiki)

Khuffman—del.icio.us

List of tools on presentation slides

Willis—Creating Browsable data w/ django (“bringing beauty out of the data” creating emotional investment in data—washingtonpost.com—thescoop.org

Way more information thrown away than actually gets put out to the public… what info do you have that’s not getting out? Search isn’t enough.

Django—opensource, python-based, “puts stuff on the web” powers chicagocrime.org, Washingtonpost.com database of congressional votes, faces of the fallen, recipefinder… emphasis on browse rather than search… can include metadata

Django lets you pick url (instead of .php, etc.)

Dreamhost, webfaction—any host that can support python

Jessamyn West: Heat Up Your Browsing with Firefox

My notes from the session (in all their typo-riffic glory)…

CIL2007—Monday—Jessamyn WestHeat Up Your Browsing with Firefox (Pimp my Firefox)

Ideal is to have a choice of browsers, Firefox makes good primary

Open Source

Multilingual dictionaries, spellcheck

Google icon extension—displays favicons next to google results—good cue for visual folks

Smart keywords—ctrl click any (?) search box, give it keyword, use keyword to leap straight to searchbox from address bar (e.g. make imdb search box keyword, then just type “imdb whatever” in address bar)

Greasemonkey— can use to change displays—db’s? campus sites? What are adblocker implications? Facebook scripts—anything esp. useful for us? Gmail signature float moves signature to bottom of your typing, rather than bottom of whole message.

Presentation slides have links to librarians’ lists of firefox extensions they use.

Pretty user styles and gmail skins, facebook colorizer, link evaluator—checks for live links, firebug—lists how long it takes to load individual items on page, css, etc. (alt. to web developer toolbar), large type themes, accessibar (color, text change, etc), multiple home pages open in tabs, library lookup

Lots of useful looking links from Jessamyn’s page

dive into greasemonkey—recommended resource for learning to write for greasemonkey

Mary Ellen Bates: Alternative & Customized Search Engines (SEs)

My notes from the session…

Exalead—personalized homepage with links to frequent visits, advanced search features with search tools listed, phonetic search, approximate spelling, adjacent words (near operator up to 16—only search engine that allows this?!) database not as large as google

Quintura—visual, split screen w/ regular results on right, taggy looking cloud on the left, clicking on terms reorders results on right with weight—no typing to narrow search or reweight—can mouse around

Kosmix—very beta, specific search areas are stringest (politics, health, video games—weird selection), can screen politics by leaning (left, conservative, etc.), satire, blogs, etc. cool! Computer generated?

Clusty—clustering on the fly, sources (search engines—numbered results from each source), sites (.org, .edu, etc.) “almost data mining” good for brainstorming, helping to find out “who cares about this topic?”—something librarians do almost unconsciously, but patrons don’t necessarily address. Build keyword clusters for your site.

Specialized Search Tools:

Crossengine
Compare results from different search tools—figure out which engine is best for a topic—good for example “see what you would have found if you’d just searched google”

Srchr—results on one page, created rss feeds of searches, stores buttons, so you can revisit searches easily. Good for complex searches, ongoing, current awareness

Scandoo—metasearch, [aside—link voting, google rank based on incoming links. Demonstrate critical analysis of sites like martinlutherking dot org, but don’t create links]. Reviews sites for hate sites, malware, etc.

DIY Search Engines:

Insert filter on top of search results from engines—create a search box to put on your site that applies your filters. Yahoo and google bothe offer. Benefit of looking familiar, but lets you apply appropriate limits. Can tweak ranking? “out google google” good marketing tool

Yahoo Search Builder—can limit results by domain or site (e.g. .gov, epa.gov). can say only give me results from these specific sites, append keywords behind the scenes, creates search cloud to show what words have been used to search your engine,

Google Co-op—inputs affect ranking, rather than “not”-ing, must include a search term, so use a noise word like “and” or “is” or something

Swicki—build custom search engine, but then as people use it, swiki remembers what people click through to. As more people use it, sites gain weight

Rollyo—can only specify 25 websites. Can see sites that someone has created an engine link to.

Gigablast—rudimentary, one of the earliest custom se’s, performance not very good