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.

1 comment:

Tim (LibraryThing) said...

Hey. I saw this post up on Google Blog search, so thought I'd chime in on what happens if there's a problem.

1. When LibraryThing goes down "voluntarily," as for scheduled maintenance, we redirect to an empty Javascript script.

2. When something "bad" happens (a database error, for example), can echo the error to the script, but this just causes invalid Javascript, not correctly printed error messages. Invalid Javascript just doesn't print to the browser.

In sum, while it can go down, it fails pretty gracefully. Let me know if you have any problems.

Tim Spalding
LibraryThing