Friday, December 15, 2006

Books in, Part 2

Success! Thanks to footnote #2 on Jon Udell's LibraryLookup Bookmarklet Generator page, I was able to create a link into individual book records via ISBN.

Thanks to Librarians' Internet Index, I've selected a few good websites to drop in there too. They are now sitting together in harmony here, on my personal account.

Not bad for a Friday afternoon.

Books in (or, égalité, fraternité, library!)

I am intrigued by the idea of using to organize the library's "suggested websites." This is one of those offerings that I think is a hold-over from the pre-LII and pre-IPL online world. It is getting to be a duplication of effort for individual libraries to be in the process of maintaining their own set of "best reference links."

That being said, there is still a place for us to compile websites that will help students with a particular class or assignment. And to be an equal opportunity promoter, we may as well sling some books at them, too. So, the task at hand is to find out how to get a permanent URL to a book record and tag it in with everything else.

To distinguish the books from the websites, we can use the [book] convention utilized by Google Scholar, which I really like. For that matter, we can use the brackets to classify the website content, too: I could see [statistics] or [news] being viable categories.

This allows two things to happen:
1. We can distinguish the format of information in brackets, which will help reinforce the importance of finding the right size "chunk" of information.
2. It gets students back into the catalog.

Two things to look into:
1. Adding permanent URLs to articles that would send students through the proxy server. I don't know if this falls under's desire to help people find resources open to them (they may see it as, but, it will help the students.
2. Adding permanent URLs to search strings in databases - example searches?
3. Will the URLs into the catalog (we have SIRSI) "expire"?

Time to play this afternoon. Finals week is wonderful project time.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

New books list using LibraryThing

First experiment is up and working here on the Flip That Library blog. Cool new widget from LibraryThing will pull random books or books with a certain tag and display covers, titles, or both. Very, very, very easy to do. Very!

We can finally show some cover... the equivalent of showing a little leg in the library world.

A couple of uses I can see for this:
  1. A new books list, adaptable for different subjects by tagging.
  2. Adding new books lists to subject guide pages

A few things I still need to look into:
  1. What happens if something happens... ie. what appears if the connection to LibraryThing goes down, for whatever reason. I'm assuming some kind of ugly "Java not found" message would appear, so I need to add to the code to make it default to something more helpful and possibly even witty.
  2. LibraryThing allows users to add their own stylesheets, so when we put this wherever we put it, I can take some time to make it look built-in. Fortunately, this is the level of "coding" that I can handle, and even enjoy.
  3. When we're using the library's books, we need to get a paid, non-profit account, which is very reasonable and makes everything possible.
Thank you, wonderful people behind LibraryThing.