Thursday, July 5, 2007

reclaiming the OPAC real estate

Here at Watzek Library, we've been working on a project that might be called a "mashup" of our library catalog and regional union catalog, Summit. We're slowly releasing it to the public to get feedback and to see how well the technology holds up (see previous two links).

Basically, we're using JQuery and JSON to add some little widgets to the full bibliographic record displays of these Innovative Interfaces OPACs. This is a tricky process as control over the HTML output by an III OPAC is highly locked down by Innovative. By using javascript to go out and get value added data and insert it into the records, we're doing something fairly similar to the LibraryThing for Libraries widget, discussed here in panlibus.

Technology-wise, most of the heavy lifting is done by the JQuery javascript library as well as the JSON for JQuery library, which we use to employ the common technique of moving data across domains using JSON.

The services that we've added so far to the open beta of the catalogs include:
  • Amazon images
  • Link to RefWorks export
  • Link to Google Book Search record and a search box if it is searchable
  • Direct link to search for book reviews in one of our general research databases
Note: we're using the technique described by John Blyberg to do our link to Google Book Search. We haven't yet been shut off by Google, but our volume isn't that high.

In our alpha version of the catalog, we've also implemented wikipedia link for the author, Google map of holding libraries, and similar items driven by Amazon web services.

The goal here is to hook are users up to valuable related services and linkages that they might not otherwise find.

1 comment:

Robin Ashford said...

Mark, I really like what you guys have done with adding Amazon pics, links to guides and databases and especially Google Book Search. It definitely adds value and works very nicely. I plan to show this to our tech services guy.