Thursday, May 31, 2007

Once in a blue moon...

Hi all! It's been exciting lately, hasn't it? Like a month with 2 full mooons - aka, a blue moon - so it finally became once in a blue moon, eh? Whilst I was busy touching up a revised Museum website (yes, still working on fixing it up further... debugging, etc. ... your feedback / comments are always welcome - see the official blog/forum for such feedback (or you can post here, I don't mind, but everyone will see the official ones & only the few who actually read this blog will get the comments here... I'll see them either way!), Loose Cannon Librarian was busily rolling out innovations the likes of which CT has not seen in a while. For those not already "in the know" - Danbury Public Library (which has, in my experience, always been a progressive and technologically innovative library!) - has added LibraryThing to their catalog.

To understand what that means, see "Hey, you got LibraryThing in my catalog" or the entry from LibraryThing's blog (Thingology) on the project. My comprehension - such as it is - is that the service patches in - on top of (or should I say along with) - LibraryThing users' tags and recommendations, as well as a FRBR-like ability to see all editions of the work that the library has, rather than requiring you to enter multiple separate bib records). One of the great things (how many times can I use the word "thing" in a post?) about this project is that Danbury & LibraryThing integrated these services so nicely in a single web interface, so the user doesn't have to care about where the info is coming from - they see it all at once.

Back in the day, I remember integrating a Syndetics-based add-on into a CARL OPAC - it was called "You See More" as I recall. It was great because it added Amazon-style features (e.g., book jackets, tables of contents, excerpts, and book reviews) into the catalog. And the presentation was largely integrated so - for the most part - the content looked like it was in the catalog itself, though it was drawn from another source & matched to the catalog search result via ISBN. What's different nowadays is that the content LibraryThing pulls into a catalog is user-generated, not created by publishers & corporations. Real users create "tags" for books in their LibraryThing collections. It's this type of data that LibraryThing adds. How wonderful! And it's not like Danbury's losing anything - the integrity of their catalog remains - they've just added end-user generated tags as additional access points. (because not everyone thinks like a librarian!)

I'll learn more about it in a meeting soon & you can, too - the CT Library Consortium will offer a look at the service - a presentation by Loose Cannon Librarian and Coordinator of Library Automation herself, Kate Sheehan on Tuesday, June 19 from 10:00 to noon at Danbury Public Library.

What else? Oh yeah, if you've ever thought about doing the Google Custom Search Engine for your site, I can highly recommend it. Use a wildcard in the keyword field when you create the search if you want the search to automatically go through your entire site (minus - of course - any robots.txt disallowed pages). The little wizard that creates the Google Custom Search Engine even offers a widget for people to automatically add the customized search that you've created to their personalized Google (iGoogle) home page.

I was looking into the Spry AJAX framework from Adobe earlier today - will need to get CS3 soon, just to be able to take advantage of the new options that it offers. But I don't have time right now. Maybe in the next blue moon.

1 comment:

kate said...

thanks for the plug, Sharon! I can't wait to show off our catalog to the CLC crew (and to your development division the week before).

Congrats on the museum site- it is spectacular! I'm going to have to fall at your feet when I see you next :)