Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Techie Looks at Libraries

Digital Web Magazine has an article on libraries, Getting The Most Out Of Your Library by William Hicks. Some interesting statemnents:
  • Think of the library system as something akin to the open-source movement before software.
  • You will not be happy with many library websites.
  • So you found the library catalog, fired off a search and found an item that sounds mildly intriguing. The result page probably didn’t have any real reviews of the book, it is doubtful there was a book cover, nor apparently any other related items. You’re most likely staring at a title, some notes on the author, a bunch of useless publication data, some subject headings, notes, and a string of letters and numbers. it is not. It’s not built for you the user. It’s built for the vendors, librarians, and their staff.
  • While you may not get instant gratification from a library, and few if any are really cutting-edge when it comes to their use of web technologies, there is something to be said for the diversity and quality of information they provide you in your daily development tasks.
WorldCat and the LibX Firefox toolbar are both mentioned.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Telescope Library Exhibit

Apply by Sept. 19 to host "Visions of the Universe: Four Centuries of Discovery"
Public libraries are invited to apply to host “Visions of the Universe: Four Centuries of Discovery,” a traveling exhibition developed by the America Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office in cooperation with the Space Telescope Science Institute Office of Public Outreach and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, to mark the International Year of Astronomy in 2009. The exhibit will travel to 40 selected public libraries from January 2009 through December 2010.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Free Covers from LibraryThing

LibraryThing is making nearly one million book covers available for free. It is pretty simple coding to grab them. Thanks Tim et al.

Update 12 Aug. 2008 I just added 37 links to covers from a page and none of the items had covers in LibraryThing. One million might be enough for a public library, not so much for a research library. Oh well.

WorldCat Search API

Nice for members of OCLC, WorldCat Search API (Web service).
The WorldCat Search API allows your application to search the WorldCat catalog—which indexes the collections of thousands of member libraries around the world—and retrieve:
  • lists of bibliographic records, and individual records, for library-held items;
  • information about WorldCat libraries that have cataloged a particular item; and
  • direct links to those libraries' Web catalog records for the item, when available
Your application will allow users to discover books, videos, music, electronic content and more through WorldCat.

How the API works
  • Send searches in OpenSearch or SRU CQL syntax
  • Receive OpenSearch responses in RSS or Atom format
  • Receive SRU responses in MARC XML or Dublin Core
  • Receive MARC XML content for a single OCLC record
  • Receive geographically-sorted library holdings information (each including the institution's name, location and a catalog link) within requests for single records
  • Receive records in standard bibliographic citation formats (APA, Chicago, Harvard, MLA, and Turabian)
Who can use this tool.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Panama City Beach Library

Panama City Beach Library
Originally uploaded by dbigwood
While on vacation I stopped into the library to check my e-mail. I was greeted by a person at the front desk. Very friendly, not like the Wal-Mart greeters. I was able to use the machine to check my email, Facebook page, and OK some comments to this weblog. Nothing seemed to be blocked. There was a 30 minute a day time limit, it seems a silly rule, if the machines are empty, but....

While I was there other folks were using the computers browsing the fiction, reading a magazine. It was a very small library, but they did have a childrens' collection and provided story time.

They caught me taking this picture and asked about it, curious not snooping.

Koha 3.0

The Koha folks have announced that a packaged release of Koha 3.00.00 is now available. It can be download from the usual location:

The 3.0 manual is available and will continually be updated.