The Shifted Librarian - Shifting Libraries at the speed of byte
 Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Proud Parent Moment

Mr. Man made the baseball all-star team! Not only that, the all-stars coach told us that Brent has gotten a reputation in the league as "the home run king." Congratulations, Brent!

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How Do We Make Library Resources Searchable in Outlook?

Plaxo, Yahoo Make Deal on Search

"From the article, 'Today Plaxo integrates Yahoo's search engine directly into the Outlook e-mail program. Under the deal with Yahoo, Plaxo will get paid for channeling people to Yahoo's search engine. The search box will be placed beside a Plaxo icon that sits atop Outlook. Plaxo will eventually make Web searching possible from individual e-mails, according to Masonis. Ultimately, he wants Plaxo to search individual words within the e-mails. You would click on the word and Plaxo would do a Web search through Yahoo.' Thanks to Searchblog for the tip. J.B. also comments on the deal." [ResourceShelf]

And the reason we can't integrate into Outlook searches of local library catalogs, library-subsidized databases, or library web sites is what?

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Library Journal Highlights Illinois Clicks Portal!

Illinois Volunteer Librarians Create Statewide Information Portal

"In an attempt to save themselves time and their libraries money, 70 volunteer librarians have created Illinois CLICKS!, the online information portal customized for Illinois citizens.... Phase II of the project will be released later this spring. Funding comes from LSTA money distributed by the Illinois State Library. Illinois CLICKS! provides 24/7 online access to librarian-selected and reviewed webs sites on an array of subjects. The site makes available special collections and collections that previously have been difficult to access. It simplifies the search for government information through links to the Illinois State Library. Phase II will expand subject options, links, and search capabilities; introduce subject-related news feeds; enable the creation of personalized homepages; improve database capabilities; and raise awareness of the sites." [Library Journal - Features]

Let's hope the programmer comes through on this one, because it will help realize the "big picture" vision for IC! Full credit for this project goes to Fran Roehm from the Skokie Public Library and the great group of volunteers she has rounded up to work on this.

Interesting story about the one existing RSS feed that currently displays on the Illinois Clicks home page. We wanted it to show Illinois news, which pretty much means the Chicago Tribune. So we contacted them and asked if 1) they would create an RSS feed we could display or 2) if we could do it externally. They refused on both counts. So we contacted the Chicago Sun-Times, and the folks there were quite happy to work with us. So now they get all the clicks from our home page instead of the Tribune.

There's a lesson somewhere in there for publishers if they could just look past the noses they cut off to spite their faces.

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More Utah Gov Feeds!

"The Utah State Legislature has a bill tracker with an RSS feed. You create a customer list of bills to track and then subscribe to the RSS to get updates in your feed reader. The only thing I'd wish for is some way to browse bills, but this is functional. There's a second application for tracking committee actions. Very cool!"  [Windley's Enterprise Computing Weblog]

Not terribly surprising since Utah is the land of RSS, but all this does is point out how slow other states are at figuring all of this out. Let's get with the program, folks!

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Kansas City Public via RSS!

How sweet is this?!

Kansas City Public Library RSS Feeds

"I just got an IM from David King at from the Kansas City Public Library, who linked me to the RSS Feeds for the numerous subject guides that they have on their web site. Not only do they have the feeds, but they have an explanation on RSS, which is key. Congrats to KCPL, David King, and his staff for being on the forefront of content delivery via RSS." [Library Stuff]

I've been waiting with great glee for this! At the Computers in Libraries conference in March, David King did a great presentation about KCPL's new web site. [Side note: I hope he's doing a write-up somewhere about it so that everyone understands just how cool it really is!]

One of the things that impressed me the most was their decision to group content by subject matter, rather than by format. One example David used was Harry Potter; rather than pointing to database articles on the topic in the "databases" section, listing the book titles in a separate section, linking to web sites in another section, displaying related events in still another section, etc., KCPL made a decision to group all of the HP stuff on a single page. That way, anyone looking for Harry Potter info could find everything in one place. I really like this approach, and it's one we've been trying to implement here at SLS. It's nice to have a model to show others what I mean.

Anyway, during the presentation, David noted that he was going to display subject information from external sites using RSS, which led to the natural question of whether KCPL would be offering its own feeds. I could tell by David's reaction to the question that the answer was "definitely," so I've been patiently waiting to see this in action.

Since I grew up in the Kansas City area, I'm especially thrilled to see KCPL leading the way with this, and you can bet I'm going to show off these links in my RSS class. I hope his administration is suitably impressed, even though they probably don't understand the whole thing (who does?). Congratulations to David and his staff!

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