Internet Librarian – Epilogue

I’ve been back for a little over a week and I’m still doing the catchup thing. Overall, Internet Librarian (IL) was a great experience. Got to do a little bit of everything: teaching, learning, networking…. you get the idea. One of the great things about IL is the small scale of it all. Enrollment tops at a little more than a grand which makes it easier to connect with all of the attendees. I had some extended conversations about libraries, code and workplace scenarios with a whole range of people. I’ve blogged most of the sessions I attended in earlier posts, so I won’t bore you again with the details. Here are a couple of quotes from the conference:

Favorite Library Quote from the week: “Libraries are a collection of services, not books”

Favorite Non-Library Quote from the week: “I just checked the il2006 tag on Flickr. Who is that brunette you were talking to?” (from my wife jokingly…)

One of the major themes from IL 2006 was libraries using social software – Flickr, MySpace, Facebook, Wikis… It’s a rich topic and most of the tech is easily implemented. But there are other parts of the conference where I struggle to understand the “where does the rubber meet the road” code questions. Most of the IL sessions offer the broad ideas and have little time for explaining how to do it. (I’m including myself here…) That’s not a criticism; that’s just the structure of the event. There are some ways to get at the “how’d they do that?” code questions.

  1. Attend conference workshops to answer some of the in-depth code questions.
  2. Ask for code examples from presenters (I had a number of people stop me after the presentation and over the course of the conference to talk a bit more about code questions.)
  3. Network and talk to librarians with some programming chops. Talk shop with those who are building apps in your field of interest.

As I said earlier, it was a great conference and I haven’t even mentioned Monterey, CA which is just a beautiful setting. I would suggest Internet Librarian for any public services librarian looking to understand what’s on the horizon for libraries. The smaller scale of the conference and the forward-looking nature of the presenters makes for a great mix. If you have the means and the time, check it out.


Internet Librarian – Day 4: The Mobile Web

Trends in Mobile Tools and Applications for Libraries
Megan Fox, Web & Electronic Resoures Librarian – Simmons College

I missed a similar session at a previous conference. Wanted to hear about how our resources are displayed in all kinds of settings. Fox has got a broad perspective on the topic and had all kinds of tips and gadgets.

Notes from the presentation:

Mobile tools – PDAs, cell phones, ipod
Mobile information needs – on a flight, stuck in traffic

The market
75% of all US adults have mobile phone service
90% of college students

The Devices
smartphones are the device of choice – nokia, samsung
-camera, calculator, phone, web browser, radio, interactive gaming
-large screens (relatively speaking) and keyboards
– other devices, UNPC, sony reader

The future network – 3G, even faster wireless to allow for streaming – think video conferencing on the bus
-not yet available in US, but taking off in Japan

The mobile web
– formatting content is the challenge – optimize for web
– limit images, simplify html, mobile css stylesheets, avoid device intensive programming languages (large javascript files)

Library mobile web options:
– hours pages
– quick lists
– library catalog search (Sirsi and Innovative)
– ready reference on the go – Handango,
– ebooks – mobipocket (U of Alberta has directions on downloading netLibrary into PDAs)
– databases (Ovid and LexisNexis have some mobile partnerships)
*Los Angeles public has ipods and smartphones, Thomas Ford Memorial, Duke Freshman Reading project – Billy Collins reading his poetry in a podcast

*check IMDB and New York times for examples of optimized web; convert web pages on the fly can be another option

Third party sites – google mobile optimizer, skweezer
– convert your sites for mobile “transcoding”

Mobilize your content with an RSS feed – simple format for display
Mobilize your mashups – Frucall (compare prices), RealTime Traffic

Drawbacks to mobile web:
1. Cost
2. Comfort with small size
*people are using the devices to text message because it’s much cheaper

Content via SMS – texting: more acceptance
Communicating with mobile users

Next generation prefers the texting environment – we need to get in their network
– check
– extending ready reference or library record lists
– JOOPZ web texting – fill out simple web form and translate to text message

LibriVox – auidobook version of project Gutenberg
Expected n 2007 – PVR (personal video recording on your mobile)

What’s next?
*problem with data entry
– communicate using images “photo to search”
– voice recognition
– taking advantage of GPS – location interaction, geotagging
– face recognition for security

full url for presentation –

Internet Librarian – Day 3: Repositories, a library opportunity

Repositories & The Impact on Digital Librarians
D. Scott Brandt

D. Scott Brandt talked about getting into the research network at the university. Brandt was pointing to a new library initative at Purdue to involve libraries earlier during the research process. It’s not about managing finished, publishable objects; we need to insert ourselves in the data management, access and preservation needs when the research is happening in the lab. I like the sound of that.

Notes from the presentation:

The story of how Purdue Libraries got into repository initative?

Need for approaches, protocols and systems to store all of our natiaonl data
New dean, new directions – collect, organize describe, curate – for university community

“Librarians as participants – putting libraries salaries on grants for limited times”
-librarian does work or is project manager

Library faculty are better integrated into campus research agenda

How to foster interdisciplinary collaboration?

Researchers have data management needs
– seek researchers who undrstood that collecting and organizing and providing access to data
could make grant need stronger

Initial Questions:
Do researchers have data discovery management and organization needs?
Can library science solve some of these problems

Data related faculty needs they found:

  1. not sure how to share data
  2. lack of time organize data sets
  3. help describing data
  4. want to find new ways to manage data
  5. need help archiving datasets/collections

Departments served – Ag, Chem Eng, Biology

Brandt used the onstar car data example

Collaboration: crucial to research
– different aspects of dealing with data = library opportunity

Agronomy example:
1. working with simple data generation model, determine data/metadata workflow
2. libraries role is helping data producers

Chem Engr – discovery informatics
1. investigation of small science data needs
2. issues of what gets shared, when and how
3. libraries role is developing dataset ontologies – utilitzing language of electronic notebooks to define, navigate throughout research process

Library roles:

  • metadata creation
  • providing access
  • providing preservation
  • consult on ontologies and vocabularies

scholarly communication – data analysis

  1. published data/datasets
  2. unpublished research
  3. published research (non-traditional)
  4. published research traditional
  5. secondary tertiary resources

Libraries are being invited into the levels of development before these top 5 peieces of scholarly communication are finished
– actually participating during research and development – COOL STUFF

Data Curation Matrix – Johns Hopkins, looking at 5 types of scholarly communication and the opportunities across disciplines

Repository as a research platform
– focus on active verbs: access, preserve
– Distributed Institutional Repository

Going forward – new role for librarians
– serve as “bridge” between researchers and libraries
– library data research sceintist

Purdue e-Scholar library

Internet Librarian – Day 3: Mashups + APIs

Mashup Apps: Community Dev
Chris Deweese, Lewis and Clark Libary System
John Blyberg, Ann Arbor District Library

I’ve been thinking about how we might open up some of our library data to an API. Chris Deweese and John Blyberg have taken some different approaches.

1. Use someone else’s – e.g., Google Maps API
2. Build it yourself – PatRest add on to Innovative OPAC (XML REST web service)

It was interesting to hear their thoughts on encouraging users to “re-purpose” library data. I was wondering about using XML-RPC as quick and easy alternative to full-on SOAP and REST web services.
Notes from the presentation:


New buzzwords – Mashups = consuming and recombining two separate systems
Preparing for what’s next – many parts, loosely joined

What’s so great about them?
– don’t require wicked coding skillz
– results are instant
– results can be striking
– Masups = the evolving web

Two categories of mashups
1. simple mashup
2. statement mashup – web as an authoring language – profound statement

“Net as a global operating system.”

Call for “an open standards based API”
A first part of the semantic web – web services

Can libraries mash?
We already have a goldmine of data

It’s all about markup
– xml + rdf (applying schema to loggically group data)
– OWL ontology definitions
– help machines read the data

REST? Sounds lazy
– representational state transfer
– accessed through URI
– simple for developers

PatREST (Patron REST)
– schema that was simple to use, easy to understand

Stuff you can do – electronic signage
Ed Vielmetti’s (SuperPatron) Wall of Books
Library Gadgets

Why let the public do it?
– creates a sense of stewardship
– unlocks a potential brain trust
– encourages innovation
– benefits other libraries
– solicits high-quality feedback
– puts library data into new contexts


Google maps mashup: Mash-it-up Google Style

Google Maps API

1. Get Google Maps API key
2. Get Hello World example
3. Add markers to the map – lat AND long

Google maps API allows you to plot a series of points using a custom xml file
Lewis and Clark Library System – delivery routes

Internet Librarian – Day 2: Data Dump

Got a chance to see some great speakers today. Wanted to collect some of my thoughts about Steve McCann’s study of academic library web sites.

Analysis of US College and University Library Home Pages
Steve McCann, University of Montana

He’s been analyzing the organization of popular academic library index pages. Steve was mostly interested collecting trends and then running a usability test to determine best practices. He hasn’t conducted usability testing to hammer out the last part of his thesis, but it was still really informative to see library web design trends catalogued with the long view in mind.

Here are my notes from the session:

Making data work harder; talked about his business experience

Study of library college websites by analyzing wayback machine

Users are bypassing on-site navigation – getting to object directly
-search engines, weblogs, rss
-commercial sites have had sucess – flickr, youtube

Library Access: a long tail problem
-social software strategy; it can’t all be on the front page
-how to address the bypassing of content
-does the index page even matter?


  1. google search: 1803 library websites found
  2. ranked with – tracking ip
  3. isolated sites ranked in top 100
  4. categorized top page strategy – browse OR search

Two Site Strategies for library web sites


  • grid
  • cascade
  • frame
  • radial


  • no search box
  • library search box
  • site search box
  • university search box

Data results:

  1. grids and cascades are most popular
  2. browse strategy has become most popular on sites
  3. search strategies are pretty evenly distributed – search is becoming a standard

-browse = grid, cascade with grid showing most momnetum
-search = some form of search strategy will exist

Next steps – usability testing with your user groups about preferences
hybrid – search and browse – u of oregon libraries (

Internet Librarian 2006 – Day 1: Open up the Network

After teaching the Ajax workshop with Karen Coombs, I guess I should have been tired, but I wasn’t. Someting about being around all kinds of people with novel ideas… Props to one of our workshop attendees, Josh Kline, who made me rethink how my library might use ContentDM and JPEG2000 to display our large maps and architectural drawings. Met up with Karen and Michael Sauers (Travelin’ Librarian) for a bite to eat. More good conversation. Took a stroll along the Monterey pedestrian path, talked about book publishing, library tech skills and all matter of things.

All of this reminds me that chance meetings and frank conversations can easily be the best part of the conference. When you have an opportunity, strike up a conversation and learn about your colleague’s work. Open up the network and see where it takes you.

Proof of concept – Ajax page update

Yesterday, Karen Coombs and I had the opportunity to conduct an “Ajax for Libraries” workshop at Internet Librarian. The workshop went pretty well and it was encouraging to work with a group of attendees who were engaged and willing to learn. (Note to self: create a cross-domain Ajax query to show workshop attendees.) I wanted to start with Ajax basics so I created a simple Ajax example that pulls WorldCat data and a WorldCat “find in a library” search form onto a page. It’s very basic, but it showcases the fundamentals of the Ajax method – take a look at the demo here.

The example uses the XMLHttpRequest object to make a micro-HTTP GET request behind the scenes creating a seamless date update without a full page reload. Feel free to download a zip of the sample files in an active server directory. Use modern browsers – Mozilla, Firefox, IE 6 and up.

Just wanted to share a bit, dig in and learn…

Update: Karen has posted links to the workshop files: presentation (.ppt) AND handout (.pdf)