January 21, 2008

ProQuest Widgets

In my pre­vi­ous job, one of my tasks was to cre­ate authen­ti­ca­tion scripts for remote access to data­bases for my libraries. This was some­thing I proac­tively pur­sued because most of my libraries didn’t have a pro­gram­mer on staff who knew how to cre­ate these scripts, let alone a server to run them on. Now that I’m not there any­more, those scripts are no longer avail­able, and it’s upset­ting to think that those libraries can no longer offer that ser­vice to their patrons.

But some ven­dors are start­ing to under­stand that help­ing libraries increase usage of the data­bases they’re pur­chas­ing is not just a good thing to do but is good busi­ness, as well. RSS is a great step in that direc­tion, so I’ve been more than happy to high­light ProQuest’s and EBSCO’s efforts, and I was grat­i­fied to learn recently that OCLC is work­ing on pro­vid­ing RSS from World­Cat and First­Search (via a mes­sage in Facebook).

Another promis­ing step in this direc­tion is the new Pro­Quest Search Wid­get cre­ator, a tool that gives sub­scribers the code to add search boxes to any web page. You can spec­ify a data­base to be searched, include your proxy server’s address, add spe­cific terms to the search for auto­matic “and” func­tion­al­ity, and even change the color and bor­der of the box.

ProQuest Search Widget creator

When the user enters a search term, if they’re within an authen­ti­cated IP range or using your proxy server (if you have one), they’ll get right to the search results. If not, they’ll be prompted to log in.

ProQuest search results

Tip: If you know a lit­tle HTML, you can include the Pro­Quest logo in the code by default and then change it to be your own logo after­wards if you want to add the search box to non-library pages.

Speak­ing of where you could put this wid­get, Pro­Quest gives you some ideas and even pro­vides some mock-ups as sug­ges­tions, but the gen­eral idea is to put it any­where and every­where your users may be. In some of the exam­ple screen­shots, you can see how nicely the search box com­ple­ments an RSS feed of new, subject-specific items from the data­base. The exam­ples are all for an aca­d­e­mic library, but this works just as well for school libraries (class­room project pages), pub­lic libraries (munic­i­pal­ity sites, park dis­trict pages, par­ent net­work pages), and even spe­cial libraries (intranets). Add in your library’s logo, and you have a fairly sim­ple, yet pow­er­ful, way to get your ser­vices off your site and into the inter­tubes your users are using.

Side­note: After almost three years of promises, Pro­Quest is finally sched­uled to roll out RSS in April. Finally, but hooray!

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8:41 pm Comments (8)


  1. Thanks for post­ing this!

    Comment by Brinxmat — January 22, 2008 @ 3:17 am

  2. Jenny: RSS feeds for WorldCat.org lists are already avail­able. So any list you cre­ate for your own use or that of a library can then go into a user’s feed, and they’ll auto­mat­i­cally be updated when the list changes.

    Comment by Andy Havens — January 23, 2008 @ 12:04 pm

  3. Pro­Quest Widgets…

    Al hilo de la noti­cia de la adquisi­ción de Ref­Works por parte de Pro­Quest, en este blog se anun­cia la puesta en mar­cha del “Pro­Quest Seach Wid­get Cre­ator”, que per­mite a los sub­scrip­tores añadir un cuadro de búsqueda, especi­f­i­cando la base…

    Trackback by www.documenea.com — January 23, 2008 @ 4:15 pm

  4. Andy, that func­tion­al­ity is great, but I want to be able to do a search and see a shiny RSS but­ton for new items for a spe­cific sub­ject, author, etc. that I can either just sub­scribe to or dis­play on a web­site. Pretty please? :)

    Comment by jenny — January 23, 2008 @ 9:11 pm

  5. […] Pro­quest widgets […]

    Pingback by Friday Link Round Up « ellie <3 libraries — February 5, 2008 @ 1:47 pm

  6. […] Jenny Levine at The Shifted Librar­ian has high­lighted a new ser­vice from Pro­Quest — Pro­Quest Wid­gets — the abil­ity to eas­ily cre­ate a search […]

    Pingback by ProQuest Widgets « Library Technology in Texas — March 26, 2008 @ 2:48 pm

  7. Why be lim­ited to only what Pro­Quest and Ebsco­host pro­vide? There are at least 3 dif­fer­ent ways one can eas­ily cre­ate search wid­gets from any data­base you prefer.

    See this

    Comment by Aarontay — April 21, 2009 @ 8:21 am

  8. […] Another way to improve acces­si­bil­ity is by embed­ding web wid­gets. You can embed all kinds of web wid­gets but here I will talk about web search wid­gets. Essen­tially these are javascript code for portable search boxes. I won’t sell you on how you can use this, but “but the gen­eral idea is to put it any­where and every­where your users may be” […]

    Pingback by Creating web search widgets for any database - 3 different options | Musings about librarianship — April 21, 2009 @ 10:21 am

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