Monday, November 9, 2009

LibGuides Search Box Standardization...

At Ohio University the method of search box creation has been standardized in a simple format for LibGuides. Though if anyone here, in the library, asked for it I could create more custom search forms for specific disciplines. At the moment we are using one simple search per field. See the search box page as an example.

This way subject librarians who want to use the different search boxes can just copy the appropriate box to their LibGuide and change the content to suit their needs. A good example of this would be this english studies research guide that a colleague made for a specific class.

From a usability standpoint I think this is a pretty good model for opening up search boxes to every subject librarian in the college. There are two downsides... If there had to be any updates to boxes then the inheritance structure would not work. There are still many databases out there that can not be searched this way directly. Oh well I can still bootstrap by using Metalib if I have to. Hopefully when OhioLINK releases their new OSearch interface it will allow for direct searching. I also hope other database vendors will allow for search widgets.

I'm evaluating the construction of an engineering based research portal (similar to the engineering subject based research toolbar that I created for Mozilla Firefox.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Libguides ... widgets

So over the summer and here recently I have been harvesting the URL search codes for many of Ohio University's library databases and creating tiny widget search boxes for Libguides. Libguides seems to be a great place for search widgets.

ProQuest - CSA has a search widget option...

So if you have access to an administrative account for ProQuest's Cambridge Scientific Abstracts you can build search widgets for CSA databases. This is great because the search URLs that are created for the widgets have enough malleability that they can be adapted to the toolbar and widgets.

So the OU Engineering Toolbar is now up to version 1.0.10 and includes the ProQuest CSA database Electronics and Communications Abstracts. Subject searching for engineering just became that much smoother.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

ASEE 2009

This is a late post. The ASEE Annual 2009 Exposition in Austin was excellent. It is always good to see what other library professionals are implementing in their own organizations. I sort of see it as a revitalizing experience.

I think my presentation went well. If you want to check out the paper you can either contact me or here is the citation:

Wilson, E.M. (2009) Academic Library Internet Information Provision Model: Using Toolbars and Web 2.0 Applications to Augment Subject Reference. Proceedings of the 2009 American Society for Engineering Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, TX. ASEE, Washington. Paper 471.

Just a little addenda if you are working on your own research toolbars: Like I emphasize in the paper using these types of tools to provide information requires constant updating. The engineering toolbar is now in version 1.0.9. It had to be updated to be compatible with the new Mozilla Firefox 3.5. It was a minor change but still a maintenance task.

I now have a Acer Aspire One 8.9" netbook. That little beauty was amazing in extending what I can do on the road and in the work that I do here on campus. I have yet to install the full development suite I use for maintaining the toolbar on the netbook.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Article published in the coming ASEE Annual

Well I have an article that is being published in the upcoming 2009 ASEE Annual conference in Austin Texas. It is in print.

Wilson, E.M. (2009) Academic Library Internet Information Provision Model:
Using Toolbars and Web 2.0 Applications to Augment Subject Reference.
Proceedings of the 2009 American Society for Engineering Annual Conference
& Exposition, Austin, TX. ASEE, Washington. Paper 471.

The paper touches on the way that academic libraries are delivering information on the Internet. It then goes on to examine additional tools and resources that we can use as librarians to make research easier.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Our department is test-benching Twitter as an informational tool for communication between all of us. Here is the link to my profile.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Widgetized Applications! (for most html based browsers)

Well I have been working on polishing some applications that are designed to make life easier here at the library. We found some active library widgets at Widgetbox and I decided to try and work with it. Here is an example of what I came up with:

Constructing the widget was a bit difficult at first as there were no real instructions on how to start. In effect an html based widget requires html and can also take javascript. There was an issue with the way some of the components interacted and it took a bit of tinkering with the scripting and code to get the widget working correctly.

The problems I experienced were related to the straight searching of the catalog. It required that I create a new window in the browser, shift the focus to the window, and load the page. Rather than using a normal form, action command. The code also required javascript for the construction of appropriate urls.

On the plus side hosted widgets localizes the location of files and allows for a singular location where everything for the construction of the file is located. Say for instance that someone came in as a freelancer and created widgets for us then we would know where they were located and could easily access the code. Which could have been a problem with flash, or flex based widgets.