CIL2008: Library Web Presence

Widgets at Penn State

Ellysa Stern CahoyEmily Rimland. Facebook application for the library. Led them to think about simple pages. Build “Research JumpStart” aimed at beginning users. Uses widgets — little bits of content taken from their source and dumped into another page.
Widgets provide easy access to popular, most valuable resources. Once you have widgets, you can place them in other environments (iGoogle, for example). Widgets help you compartmentalize your information and provide just what’s needed, when it’s needed.
Widgets on JumpStart page: 1) Catalog search. 2) ProQuest 3) Research guides for specific courses/subjects — just the guides that are most used by undergraduates. 4) Chat widget (they use AIM).
iGoogle widgets have proved very popular. Faculty and students have liked taking the search tools and RSS feeds and creating a personalized page.
Binky Lush. How these were developed. Uses WidgetBox. Provide widgets for all sorts of services (iGoogle, PageFlakes, social networking sites, etc.). Provides code for your own site, to include in a blog, etc. All of Penn State’s widgets are hosted by Widget Box. This is the “get widget” chicklet that appears on the JumpStart page in each gadget. This gives you a window with options for all sorts of places the widget can be embedded — code customized for each site — or raw HTML.

I wonder about whether this makes sense; to host this sort of content on an external site. What are advantages? There’s obvious ease of creating the widget, but shouldn’t core services be hosted locally?

WidgetBox lets you create a Facebook widget, but doesn’t fully take advantage of Facebook’s social graph — so PennState is developing their own.

LibraryGuides at Temple

DerekDerik Badman and Kristina DeVoe
Original subject guides were static pages, long lists of annotated links. There were based on Contribute, which was not easy to use, according to DerekDerik. No functionality other than what was on the page.
Brought in LibGuides in spring 2007. Had a semester to migrate all 90+ guides into LibGuides. Was fairly easy to do. Creating and maintaining guides easy. Also very flexible. Content of guide can be organized by resource type (like always), but also by any other categories library wants — time period, topic, etc. Units of class, paper topics, anything that’s needed. And that librarian has time for.
Content is modular. Easy to take a content block from one guide to another. Easy to share.
Users can find guides by subject, by tags, by “featured resources”, by recently updated, by ratings. Users can comment on guides — either on guide as a whole or on a section. Allows community building to start. LibGuides also has a polls feature — about the guide, or anything else.
They’ve added widgets (chat, calendar, etc.) as well as direct search boxes so that users can search directly in featured resources without having to first go to a page and then search. Similarly, tailored federated search. Pull in RSS feeds from various sources — for example, table of contents for specific journals or news.
Have used for course guides — a guide not just for a subject, but for a particular course. Resources are targeted to specific classes and contain resources that are relevant at that point in the semester.
Usage… Usage has gone up significantly (static guides vs. dynamic guides).
Marketing is important. Students need to know the new guides exist, that they are better than the old.
What else can LibGuides be used for? Ideas… 1) Information literacy. For example, adding descriptions of “primary sources” to the Temple history guide. 2) Co-opt faculty; invite them to get involved and become partners in creating the resources, tailored for their needs.
Question: What are privacy implications of using a service like widgetbox or libguides?
Answer: LibGuides doesn’t save any data. No user accounts are created. It is hosted at LibGuides. Widgetbox… Widgetbox is similar, but not clear how much data is stored.
Question: How easy is it integrate guides into local web site?
Answer: We don’t know yet. Redirected old URLs to new. But since LibGuides is hosted, it’s not on the same server.
Question: Are other sites embedding PSU’s widgets in their sites?
Answer: We don’t know — don’t have that level of detail as to where it gets embedded.
Update 4:30 PM 7 April Corrected name of first PSU speaker and corrected link. Update 11:20 PM 7 April Corrected Derik’s name. Not my day for getting names right.

4 thoughts on “CIL2008: Library Web Presence”

  1. Just a quick note, Emily Rimland was presenting with Binky Lush in the first half. Also one difficulty in hosting the code locally is that it must be supported by internal IT.

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