Wednesday, December 11, 2002
An update on Jon Udell's LibraryLookup project to create bookmarklets for searching Innovative catalogs. It totally rocks!
Jon has added a couple of screenshots to help illustrate what the bookmarklets actually do. There are 900 libraries listed on the page now! Phil Windley, the Utah's CIO (for a little while longer, anyway), is already highlighting its use for Salt Lake City Public Library.
Of course, the next question is can this be done with other ILS vendor catalogs. Unfortunately, I don't know enough about this stuff to answer that question, but I have to think the answer is yes. As Jon said in an email, "This feels HUGE to me. A Web service that could be useful to millions of people, *deployed on a blog page*. Wonders never cease..." Major ditto on that one!
I'm also still thinking about library catalog toolbars that can be installed within the browser (much like Google's toolbar). What if a patron could download a library's toolbar for direct searching of the OPAC, and it included Jon's LibraryLookup bookmarklet with it? How can I make this a reality for SWAN?
Of course, from there, we could start combining library reference portal projects and start our own librarian pagerank project for use within the toolbar. World domination - it's only a cilck away! Bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!
Architect Barbie in the Offing?
"Barbie (the famous doll) has had a few careers since she was 'born' in 1959, including as a pilot, an astronaut, a presidential candidate and, in the newly launched 'I can be...' career series, a 'children's doctor' and art teacher. Now Barbie's maker, Mattel Inc., is asking young girls and their parents for their opinion on what Barbie should be next: a librarian, a policewoman or an architect.... [Kids poll, parents poll]
The poll results don't count in Mattel's decision as to which doll to make, says Julia Jensen, spokesperson for Mattel. 'It's not going to impact to a scientific degree the next doll we create....'
That isn't stopping architects around the country, presumably older than barbie.com's target audience of girls three to 11 years old, from voting with a vengeance in both the kids and parents polls, as, apparently are the librarians. The police, which have badly trailed consistently for a week, presumably have other things to distract them from voting.
E-mails have been flying from members and staff of the American Institute of Architects. One of the early senders was Sonya Jury, principal of Jury Designs Inc., Shawnee Mission, Kansas. She got an e-mail with a link to the kids poll from an architect friend and checked it out. Librarian Barbie was ahead. 'I thought, 'Wait a minute--we can't lose to a librarian.' I thought I'm going to have a chuckle and send it around.' She heard back from a male architect who designs libraries. He defended librarians mightily and asked why he should vote for architect Barbie, to which Jury replied, 'Well, she has cooler clothes!...'
As to why librarians have, until now, been leading in the poll (and may again--feel free to vote!), Jensen speculates that possibly little girls go to reading groups and the person doing the reading may be considered the librarian. But Jury has another explanation: 'Librarians are online all day--they can vote....And, guys have this thing with librarians: 'I really like frumpy librarians with glasses who, after a couple of tequila shots, take their hair out of the bun and get crazy.' ' " [McGraw-Hill Construction, via LISNews.com]
There's a depressing story in today's issue of The Star newspaper, Library Labors: Autonomy makes it harder to raise money for expansion, new programs. It illustrates the funding problems library districts are facing due to tax caps. Some of the larger municipal libraries in the area are undertaking large construction projects, while smaller district libraries are coping with undersized, over-cramped buildings. All but one of the libraries mentioned in the article are members of my Library System, so it's difficult to watch the dichotomy from the inside.
"Municipal libraries in home rule communities are not tied to state tax cap laws, which limit the increase taxing bodies can levy for each year. Some home rule communities, however, do have self-imposed tax caps.
'Tax caps are killing libraries,' said Pam Nelson, director of the Alsip-Merrionette Public Library District.
This year's Consumer Price Index — the federal government's measure of inflation — is 1.66 percent. That's all the district can legally increase its levy by without asking voters to approve a referendum.
Meanwhile costs such as book prices have risen by about 3 percent at the library, Nelson said. The district also had to give raises of between 2 ½ and 3 ½ percent in order to keep some of its employees.
The library board cut the adult book and youth services budget about $25,000 to make up for the shortfall in revenue, Nelson said. The staffing budget was also cut because some positions were left open after employees left, she said."
It's a sad situation that's only going to get worse. Please make sure you support your local public library, because it's there to support you.
With hopes that Jon won't be mad at me, I'm quoting his entire post about LibraryLookup bookmarklets. I highlighted NOBLE's Innovative scripts back in February, which inspired me to make an identical title search bookmarklet for our SWAN catalog, but this is heading down a very exciting path!
"I love the Internet. I knew that posting yesterday's partial solution to the library lookup problem would prompt someone to prompt me to take the next step. Via Technorati this morning:
jon udell has created a neat tool for quickly checking libraries in north america for books by ISBN. all this needs is some geographic location data for each library, and a bookmarklet to parse an amazon URL for ISBN, and he'll have a wonderful tool allowing anyone to use amazon's recommendations to find books at local libraries. if you following the previous links, you'll discover that all of the required parts of this tool already exist. someone just needs to put them all together. [randomchaos]
I knew that a bookmarklet was part of the answer. The example given is Amazon-specific, so I generalized it to use a regexp that I've tested with Amazon, BN, isbn.nu, and All Consuming. The geographic piece was what was really bothering me. You'll laugh when you see the solution I came up with:
It's just a page of bookmarklets, one per library. Pick your library, drag it to the toolbar, and then hit the link when your current URL is book-related."
My only question is why aren't my SWAN libraries included in the list? :-(