Library 2.0

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I've convinced myself that sites like Netvibes are the wave of the 2.0 future. This wave is characterized by modularity, where you mix, match, and mash the applications you want. Rather than keeping a set of your favorite bookmarks, you simply have them as widgets on your homepage.

Up till now, you had to go to the library site to use their catalog. But what if the catalog was a widget? You could simply drag and drop it on your blog, website, anywhere, and there it is to be used.

And what about Firefox? How come OCLC has not made itself easily available to Firefox users by allowing you to search the catalog by simply going up the upper right corner search box? Shouldn't all OPACs allow that opportunity to our users?

How many of you have OPACs that are widgets or add-ons?

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I agree - it may not be Netvibes per se, but modularity and widgets are where the catalog is going. Not only will it make life easier for individuals, but also for libraries hamstrung with limited IT funding. Plus, if it's a widget, it's a short step to turn that into a federated search as well. Worldcat online, if you know the (very) limited API, can allow you to make that kind of widget, but I don't know that other OPACs have that... yet...

Perhaps it's worth noting that in the new IE7, any search box can be integrated with the browser (including an OPAC front end) - but that requires user know-how to make it work. And, of course, it is IE....
Nice ideas.

I just heard about this article:
BREAKING THE TRADE-OFF Between Efficiency and Service.
Harvard Business Review; Nov2006, Vol. 84 Issue 11, p92-101

This is sort of on the theoretical side here, but I think a key underlying question to all of this is our ability to balance service variability with a need for consistency.
I finally was able to read through that article. I'm not sure it's totally applicable, but Whoa, Troy! It does imply that part of the 2.0 idea is dangerous - that adding more services to meet users on their terms could lead to reduction in quality of a business.

Do you have any additional thoughts on the matter, Troy?
It not only makes perfect sense, but it's also one of the principles described in management. It is better to shrink one's products in order to offer the best, rather than spread oneself thin by doing many things.

In this current Library 2.0 environment, when every day some new tool comes along, I fear that those who are quick to harness too many of these tools will suffer. I tend to be more cautious (although I wouldn't mind adopting IM for reference, since that has been around for quite a long time).

I keep thinking what the landscape will look like five years from now. How many of these tools/companies will still be around in their current forms. Who knows....
But when's the last time you saw a restaurant offer fewer choices after deciding to offer more? There may be, as Bob states above, a "reduction in quality", but I think only for the short term.
At least here in New York City, there are definitely a number of restaurants who, either through change of chef or examination of their business, reduced their menu in order to improve upon what they served.

This principle is articulated in the book Good to Great.
You can add a search to Firefox, and a search box to your website. See the right hand box on

I experimented with a Greasemonkey script based on the Amazon Linky script. Instead of going to a specific library, it goes to WorldCat via the FRBR xISBN. I haven't updated them recently (ah, another summer project) so they probably don't work anymore. There is another script that "finds" ISBN's on pages and creates a link Amazon (I think it was Amazon.) I wasn't able to modify that one, since I don't know enough javascripting, but it's on my list of fun things to do in my "spare time"!
Yep, this is it. After checking out how easily Netvibes works and how easily I was able to make a widget for our catalog, this IS the future. Google's latest repackaging "iGoogle" is a knock off of Netvibes. Thanks for the insight. Bob should get credit for nailing it.
I recently released the first integrated UWA OPAC widget. Unlike other OPAC widgets, it displays the results within the chosen platform rather than just linking to another web site. A demo can be found here:

On a side note: It is z39.50 based, so the compatibility rate for other libraries is suprisingly high. The code will be open source soon - after a short code cleaning.

I really like your widget! Nicely done. Could you fill me in on how something like this is created?

Portsmouth Public Library
jOpac was programmed in Javascript. Using a framework that places this javascript inside the various widget platforms, multiple platforms could be reached with the same code. Facebook did not allow this, thus I have ported jOpac to flash, which also works in facebook - a demo will come soon.

The trick in javascript and flash programming is, that the user's pc calculates and loads the response to the user interaction directly, unlike typical web pages, where user interaction is send to the server to generate a response and send it back.

Since you also seem to use Millenium III ILS, it's fairly easy to set up the same service for your library - just send me the address of your public z39.50. If you need any more information, please don't hesitate to contact me:
We have a widget which searches our catalogue, ejournals and online resources. (You can see it embedded in the top left of I also have it embedded in my Netvibes and Facebook pages and I find it very useful for a quick and dirty search (I'd use the OPAC for anything more complex). We've only just released this widget and I think its going to be interesting to see what the up take among our readers is - will they embed it in their Facebook pages etc?


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