August 4, 2006

Watch those meta-tags!

Stephen Hearn pointed me to an article in the Register ( that outlines the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, a recently passed piece of US legislation that, among many other measures, bans the willful use of meta-tags on web pages "with the intent to deceive a person into viewing material constituting obscenity." More thoughts...

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March 28, 2006

One approach to "tagging" in OPACs

I'm a little late coming to this, but I wanted to point out some new functionality that the Ann Arbor District Library has put into their catalog. The "card catalog" function generates an image that resembles an old, dog-eared card for a selected book. Users can leave comments on cards, which are designed to mimick handwritten notes. users can also save cards to a personal collection.

An example record is here, click on the "card catalog image" link to see what I am talking about; a post explaining the genesis and use levels is here.

Your thoughts? I can think of a few enhancements and critiques, but is this an approach that deserves more exploration? Is it more or less suitable for a public library, vs. other types of libraries?

March 23, 2006

"Library 2.0" reading list

The term 'Web 2.0" is already on a backlash to the backlash to the backlash to its ubiquity and misuse, so what better time to jump on the "Library 2.0" meme?

This term is generally designed to describe a new wave of library services that focus on creating community, incorporating user input and customizing views and perspectives. Some of these ideas and approaches are not that new, but the momentum of the discussion is growing rapidly.

Michael Stephens, who has recently been hired as a professor for the MLIS program at Dominican University, has published a bibliography on the topic, which can be found at I recommend it for anyone who wants to explore this area, which is important not only to those involved in designing user services, but also to those selecting and describing materials.

March 22, 2006

MyLibrary documentation released

Eric Lease Morgan at The University of Notre Dame has been doing some really interesting things with library services online. In a nutshell, much of it revolves around the idea of harvesting metadata from the home institution's various digital library applications into a central store that can then be indexed and searched more efficiently.

Eric and cohorts at UND and elsewhere have collaborated on a manual to describe the effort. I'm excited to dig into it and would love to hear your comments. It can be found at:

Plenty more info and applications at

January 12, 2006

New NCSU catalog apps

Just a short notice to publicize the new North Carolina State University catalog interface. One of the most impressive things is how they have allowed the user to 'drill down" through the subject headings in the browse mode. The functionality showing newly cataloged books is also very nice. I've spoken with a few of the staff at NCSU at the various Digital Library Federation events, and they are really aggressive in trying new approaches to matching behind-the scenes data processing with new user interfaces.

See here:

September 14, 2005

Google Search Appliance

I recently attended a meeting on the implementation of Google's search appliance (henceforth "GSA") on the University web. It provided an intriguing look into the information architecture of the University, and pointed out some possible future roles for the University Libraries.

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August 24, 2005

Observations on recent LUMINA testing

I recently sat in on the usability testing of the LUMINA redesign. The testing highlighted both the new seeking behaviors of the academic library user and the old issues of nomenclature that we have been struggling with.

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March 28, 2005

Archival Description and Library Work

Recently, I attended an event held by the Andersen Library: Archival Processing in an Age of Abundance: New Approaches to Old Backlogs. It gave me some food for thought as to the nature of library work and metadata creation.

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