Future of Library Catalogs

Juice Your OPAC

Richard Wallace’s Juice project (Javascript User Interface Componentised Extensions) is a “simple componentised framework constructed in Javascript to enable the sharing of Ajax Stye extensions to a web interface.”

WordPress or Scriblio users might do well to think about it as a way to put widgets on systems that don’t support widgets, though as Richard points out, “the framework is applicable to any environment which, via identifiers contained within a html page, needs to link to or embed external resources.”

Scriblio Integrates Google Book Search Links

(crossposted at Scriblio.net) Using the newly released book viewability API in Google Book Search, Plymouth State University’s Lamson Library and Learning Commons is one of the first libraries to move beyond simply listing their books online and open them up to reading and searching via the web. Take a look at how this works with […] » about 200 words

Scriblio Feature: Text This To Me

Take note of the “New Feature: Text this to your cellphone” line above. Adam Brin of Tricollege Libraries explained that the “text this to me” feature he built to send location information about items in the library catalog as text messages to a user’s cell phone is being used as many as 60 times a […] » about 100 words

Scriblio 2.3 v4 Released

Scriblio 2.3 v4 is out. See it. Download it. Install it. Join the mail list. What’s new? Lots of small bug fixes. Implemented wp_cache support. Revamped SQL query logic for better memory efficiency. New widget options. Search suggest/autocomplete support (implemented in the new theme). New theme. New Theme! By Jon Link. » about 100 words

Is Automated Metadata Production Really The Answer?

(It’s old, but I just stumbled into it again…) Karen Calhoun’s report, The Changing Nature of the Catalog and its Integration with Other Discovery Tools, included a lot of things I agree with, but it also touched something I’m a bit skeptical about: automated metadata production. Some interviewees noted that today’s catalogs are put together […] » about 300 words

Presentation: Designing an OPAC for Web 2.0

MAIUG 2006 Philadelphia: Designing an OPAC for Web 2.0 (interactive QuickTime with links or static PDF) Web 2.0 and other “2.0” monikers have become loaded terms. But as we look back at the world wide web of 1996, there can be little doubt that today’s web is better and more useful. Indeed, that seems to […] » about 400 words

Cataloging Errors

A bibliographic instruction quiz we used to use asked students how many of Dan Brown’s books could be found in our catalog. The idea was that attentive students would dutifully search by author for “brown, dan,” get redirected to “Brown, Dan 1964-,” and find three books. Indeed, the expected answer was “three.”

As it turns out, my library has all four of Dan Brown’s published books, including the missing Digital Fortress. The problem is that three books are cataloged under the more common Brown, Dan 1964-, but Fortress was cataloged under Brown, Danielle.

The problem is that cataloging is imperfect.

Yeah, it takes some marbles to say that, but the fact is that cataloging is a human endeavor. Humans make mistakes. The challenge we face is to build systems that tolerate error, and then make it easy to fix those errors when discovered.

Tags, Folksonomies, And Whose Library Is It Anyway?

I was honored to join the conversation yesterday for the latest Talis Library 2.0 Gang podcast, this one on folksonomies and tags. The MP3 is already posted and, as usual, it makes me wonder if I really sound like that. Still, listen to the other participants, they had some great things to say and made […] » about 600 words

It’s Official

WPopac, a project I started on my nights and weekends, is now officially one of my day-job projects too. We’ve been using our WPopac-based catalog as a prototype since February 2006, but the change not only allocates a portion of my work time specifically to the development of the project, but also reflects the library‘s […] » about 200 words

NELINET 2006 IT Conference Proposal

I recently submitted my proposal for the 2006 NELINET Information Technology Conference. It’s about WPopac, of course, but the excitement now is that the presentation would be the story of the first library outside PSU to implement it. WPopac is an open source replacement for a library’s online catalog that improves the usability, findability, and […] » about 300 words