December 4, 2007

Mashing on the Library, Part I

“Copy and paste” is becoming a more frequently used tool to build websites as online services continue to offer their services and content for use anywhere, not just on their own pages. As I show in presentations, these days you can build a very decent community site using either RSS or “copy and paste” (see a proof of concept I built around the La Grange Park Public Library almost two years ago).

It’s a different way of thinking for libraries, that we can actually integrate external content and services into our sites, not just link to them, but the world around us is changing and everyone else is mashing up. It’s not just the growing unstickiness and promiscuity of bits and bytes but also the disintermediation of content and the fact that people want to – and now can – get a particular piece of something, not just the whole. Again, a different concept for online library services.

So, in this type of environment, what services make good mash partners for libraries? Who do we want to play spin the bottle with?

The first time I saw MeeboMe, it seemed like an obvious candidate. Integration in library websites as a cheap (read: free), lightweight reference chat client was a no-brainer. I’ve highlighted libraries that provide links to live help in their catalogs, especially ones that are based on what our patrons use, instant messaging. Using MeeboMe for this type of services offers two advantages:

  1. The user doesn’t need to have IM software installed.
  2. MeeboMe offers the equivalent of web voicemail, allowing the patron to “leave a message” if the library is closed.

So I’ve been wondering if a library would add this service to its catalog, but because there is sometimes a lag in either page loading or chat window loading with the Meebo widgets, I wasn’t sure how feasible this is. Plus, I still have some privacy concerns because the chat goes through Meebo’s servers, a company that may or may not protect privacy to the level libraries do. Still, I found the idea intriguing, as apparently did others, since at least four libraries have started doing this recently.

Technically, I think the University of Calgary was the first to do this, probably because Paul Pival works there. And they didn’t integrate MeeboMe halfway or on a test page. No, they integrated it everywhere – on search results, item records, and my favorite, the “no results found” page. That last one is particularly brilliant, as it provides a lifeline at the point of need at a dead end for patrons. So I immediately added this mashup to my core set of slides.

MeeboCat2

Around the same time, McMaster University did the same thing, proving that great minds do indeed think alike. Then a month later, David King announced that the Topeka Shawnee County Public Library had also integrated a MeeboMe widget into its catalog on the “no results found” page. Thanks, David – I love that I now have a public library example to show. How is a small city library matching services with a big university one? Simply by using copy & paste.

meebo in the catalog

Since pretty much anyone can copy and paste, now Baylor is doing it, too. Can you do it, as well? You bet. Just go to MeeboMe, create a widget, copy the code they give you, and paste it where you want the chat box to appear on the page. So far the results seem to be positive, but I’m hoping these folks will gossip about their mashing in a few months to let us know how it’s going.

In the meantime, I’m waiting for a library to be the first to implement Twitter for catalog or website status updates, to display the latest articles from a database (such as EBSCOHost) on their website using RSS, or to do a Google Maps mashup of local history sites that is displayed on the library’s site. Please let me know if you’ve spotted any of these in the wild.

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23 Comments

  1. “to do a Google Maps mashup of local history sites that is displayed on the library’s site.”

    There’s been an attempt at the National Library of New Zealand to do something similar, using images from their historical archives. See http://librarytechnz.natlib.govt.nz/2007/10/longitude-and-short-on-maps.html for the blog post, and http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=103527190641945015852.000001128d78293985831&z=15&om=1 for the Google Maps page. (I’m not the Simon who wrote the blog post).

    Comment by Simon Chamberlain — December 4, 2007 @ 7:53 pm

  2. Thanks for the nod, Jenny. Wouldn’t have been possible without the help of our Manager of Integrated Systems, David Brown, and the support of our IM team :-)

    Comment by Paul R. Pival — December 4, 2007 @ 8:02 pm

  3. Thanks for the mention, Jenny. We just implemented it yesterday morning at Baylor, and by the afternoon we’d had 3 IMs from the catalog already. It’s definitely meeting students at their point of need!

    Comment by Ellen Hampton — December 4, 2007 @ 9:47 pm

  4. It’s not on our website as such (it’s a local council site, so things move slowly and need to pass through a lot of standards and people first), but the Frankston Library Service’s Blogalogue is into mashups and other copy and paste gear. It’s our L2.0 website and it includes Google Maps for locations and directions, a Google Custom Search and a Google Reader RSS feed for our “Read Alert” what’s new SDI emails via mailbucket.org, etc. The Discover a new book RSS feed for book reviews is sourced from our Ebscohost and Gale databases.

    We’re experimenting with Meebo and want to put it into a redesigned library website, but before then it will go onto the blog early in 2008. Love the IM on the catalogue idea.

    harps

    Comment by Glenn — December 5, 2007 @ 3:25 am

  5. […] Original post by cogdog […]

    Pingback by Fear Factor » Blog Archive » The Shifted Librarian " Mashing on the Library, Part I — December 5, 2007 @ 6:23 am

  6. Western Springs History has a nice google maps/local history thing happening:

    http://www.westernspringshistory.org/map/

    Comment by Mike — December 5, 2007 @ 9:25 am

  7. Hi Jenny,

    I’m playing around with Hab.la (www.hab.la) widgets here at U Waterloo. Hab.la works with Meebo or Pidgin. The nice thing about them is that (unlike MeeboMe widgets) they retain a user’s chat transcript from page to page. The same user doesn’t appear multiple times in Meebo as they navigate from page to page. With MeeboMe, a
    ‘moving’ user will initiate multiple user IDs in the Meebo interface.

    Hab.la widgets can be customized so that they _don’t_ appear when the librarian is offline. This is nice, because MeeboMe patrons sometimes leave messages (when the librarian is offline) without leaving their name, email address or phone number. This is also a nice feature to have because MeeboMe widgets can take up a lot of space unnecessarily when the chat reference service in offline.

    Hab.la widgets take up less space (they start in ‘collapsed’ mode) and stay in the bottom-right corner of the browser — good for screens that require scrolling.

    Now, I’m coming across as a Hab.la commercial. I should state that I’m not fully converted from MeeboMe. More testing needs to be done, and Meebo may yet make some changes to their widgets that make Hab.la unnecessary. The MeeboMe website is also a _lot_ more intuitive to use.

    Cheers,
    Dan

    Comment by Dan Sich — December 5, 2007 @ 10:25 am

  8. MRRL has done most of what you are asking to see, Jenny! We have our twitter feed (which includes Bookmobile status updates, blog updates and flickr photo upload updates) on our home page (www.mrrl.org), as well as displaying EbscoHost results via RSS on our Genealogy page (www.mrrl.org/local/genealogy) – and hopefully we’ll get more libraries doing that soon – I’m going on a bit of a roadshow next spring to offer workshops on just this topic. We don’t have a Google Map of local history sites, but we are in the process of creating a Google Map of our bookmobile route (http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=111939670474782835957.00043bc4521247f17afd0&z=10&om=1 – sorry about the nasty URL…). It’s mostly done, just needs to have a couple more routes added and be embedded in our site. Feel free to use us as examples anytime!

    Comment by Robin Hastings — December 5, 2007 @ 11:02 am

  9. […] 相關文章: The Shifted Librarian - Mashing on the Library, Part I […]

    Pingback by Library Views 圖書館觀點 » 當 OPAC 遇上 IM — December 6, 2007 @ 7:13 am

  10. […] are trying it out – check the comments on my original post and on Jenny Levine’s post titled Mashing on the Library, Part I to find them. Others have been emailing me, asking for […]

    Pingback by More MeeboMe Ideas : David Lee King — December 7, 2007 @ 9:59 am

  11. […] in the catalog. In Mashing on the Library, Part 1 Jenny over at the Shifted Librarian  profiles examples of libraries who have integrated Meebo […]

    Pingback by meebo in the catalog. « infomational — December 8, 2007 @ 1:01 pm

  12. Thanks for the great links and comments, everyone! I’ve already started showing off some of these sites, and I plan to follow the others. It’s heartening to see such great work!

    Comment by jenny — December 10, 2007 @ 6:51 am

  13. […] A colleague of mine at work forwarded information about this to our reference librarians, but I just read about it on Jenny Levine’s blog: the idea of using Meebo’s IM widget in the library catalog to create a user-librarian […]

    Pingback by Creating constantly changing websites « Social Networking Libraries — December 11, 2007 @ 10:17 am

  14. […] A colleague of mine at work forwarded information about this to our reference librarians, but I just read about it on Jenny Levine’s blog: the idea of using Meebo’s IM widget in the library catalog to create a user-librarian […]

    Pingback by Creating a useful library catalog « Social Networking Libraries — December 11, 2007 @ 10:19 am

  15. For around a year we have been using Liveperson (http://www.liveperson.com/sb/sb_chat.asp) as our “Ask a Librarian” service at Ludwig von Mises Library (http://www.biblioteca.ufm.edu/) in Guatemala City. It has been quite impressive after one year of use and we are now very happy with this service. Also, I liked a lot Meebo´s design and that it is free.

    I wonder if you have any point of view regarding this two software services? Which one do you prefer? Meebo or Liveperson? and why?

    Comment by Guillermo Pineda — December 16, 2007 @ 11:21 pm

  16. […] course, due to Jenny’s post mentioning Baylor, we also had lots of queries from people looking to implement this in their own libraries. Shout […]

    Pingback by Two weeks with Meebo in our catalog « Instructional Design Resources — December 17, 2007 @ 4:36 pm

  17. […] about negotiating speaking engagements. Librarians looked at the salary gap, published manifestos, mashed up the library, and much much more. In all, it was an exciting year, here’s to making 2008 just as eventful […]

    Pingback by iLibrarian » Happy New Year! — January 1, 2008 @ 6:49 pm

  18. Is anyone using the new AIM widget, WIMZI, for aska service?

    Comment by Jana Ronan — January 9, 2008 @ 7:49 pm

  19. […] on the Library, Part I theshiftedlibrarian.com/archives/2007/12/04/mashing-on-the-library-part-i.html (Jenny Levine, The Shifted Librarian, December 4, 2007.) This blog post describes the MeeboMe […]

    Pingback by 2008 Horizon Report » Two to Three Years: Data Mashups — February 3, 2008 @ 1:29 pm

  20. […] year, I noted how the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library and others analyzed the user experience in …. Now we have another great example from the Allen County Public Library of re-examining dead ends […]

    Pingback by The Shifted Librarian » The Dead Ends Don’t Justify the Means — July 22, 2008 @ 9:53 pm

  21. […] year, I noted how the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library and others analyzed the user experience in …. Now we have another great example from the Allen County Public Library of re-examining dead ends […]

    Pingback by News » The Dead Ends Don’t Justify the Means — July 23, 2008 @ 4:13 am

  22. […] year, I noted how the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library and others analyzed the user experience in …. Now we have another great example from the Allen County Public Library of re-examining dead ends […]

    Pingback by The Dead Ends Don’t Justify the Means | Semantic Web — August 27, 2008 @ 11:54 am

  23. […] ways to integrate chat services.  Jenny Levine at the  Shifted Librarian wrote about the many benefits of using meebo with libraries, back when it was first gaining traction in December 2007.  Since then the growth […]

    Pingback by Chit Chat at the Library « a side of mash, please — December 2, 2009 @ 12:39 pm

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