January 29, 2008

Browsing the Virtual New Bookshelf

Allen County Pub­lic Library has a cool way to browse its “new books” sec­tion online. Super­pa­tron Ed Viel­metti first coded a “wall of books” a cou­ple of years ago, and Mike Cun­ning­ham wrote a book cover browser for the 2006 Talis Mash­ing up the Library Con­test, but this is the first pub­lic library imple­men­ta­tion I’ve seen of some­thing like this.

Books We Added to the Cat­a­log Yesterday
Allen County Public Library Wall of New Books

Per­son­ally, I’d pre­fer to go straight to the cat­a­log record when I click on a cover, but this is a great way to trans­late some of the warm fuzzies sur­round­ing phys­i­cal books in our build­ings to our online cat­a­logs. As some­one who never goes to my home library for new books because they are embar­goed from check­out for a week (even when I am hold­ing them in my hand), this would be a far eas­ier way for me to browse new books remotely with­out hav­ing to strain my eyes read­ing through three hun­dred lines of text. As a user (not a librar­ian), I’d also love to see the sum­mary of the book appear in a mouseover and have this list bro­ken out by genre. If my library offered these things and threw in NetFlix-style deliv­ery, they’d have a devoted fol­lower for life.

Be Socia­ble, Share!


  1. I agree with you that a mouseover sum­mary would make the expe­ri­ence more like real brows­ing. How­ever, rather than a generic sum­mary, I would pre­fer to see what is actu­ally writ­ten in the “front flap” of the book cover. This would really make it very sim­i­lar to brows­ing a shelf in per­son. I also think that hav­ing an RSS feed of new books by genre would be great (and one for DVDs, also). Hav­ing a page (and RSS feed) for new large print items would be espe­cially help­ful to older adults who can not browse for long peri­ods in the stacks.

    Comment by Isabelle Fetherston — January 30, 2008 @ 10:04 am

  2. Just FYI, the cur­rent ver­sion of the book cover browser is acces­si­ble from this page on our site:


    Comment by Mike — January 30, 2008 @ 10:53 am

  3. Actu­ally, lots of libraries use soft­ware that pub­lishes their new book lists with book jack­ets and details (a pop­u­lar and inex­pen­sive one is avail­able from Book­let­ters, exam­ple at http://www.supportlibrary.com/nl/users/fppl/web/nl_2.html) and, all last year, the West­mont pub­lic library did an awe­some job of tak­ing a snap of their new book­shelf, post­ing it to Flickr, and then link­ing all the books back to the cat­a­log. Looks like it’s not being con­tin­ued, though, which is too bad! (http://www.flickr.com/photos/westmontlibrary/sets/72157594145214590/)

    Comment by Rebecca — January 30, 2008 @ 3:10 pm

  4. I think West­mont was unable to main­tain the new book­shelf on Flickr because it was so time-intensive. I should have been more spe­cific that the great thing about ACPL’s wall is that it’s gen­er­ated auto­mat­i­cally from work the staff is already doing. Huge time-saver!

    Comment by jenny — January 30, 2008 @ 8:18 pm

  5. Gotcha! You’re right, an auto­matic gen­er­a­tion DOES make it that much cooler. Won­der if some cat­a­log ven­dor might pick up on the idea in the future??

    Comment by Rebecca — January 31, 2008 @ 1:28 pm

  6. I’ve been look­ing into this for a lit­tle bit — the cov­er­flow idea that is. I think it would be pretty easy to take the RSS feed of a cat­a­log (w/ cov­ers) and edit it to only show the cover. Maybe Yahoo! Pipes could be used for this…

    Here’s my post: http://www.thecorkboard.org/library-technology/itunes-and-coverflow-need-a-place-in-your-library


    p.s. thanks for speak­ing at Domini­can tonight!

    Comment by Kyle J. — February 4, 2008 @ 3:15 pm

  7. […] from Allen County Library […]

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

  8. […] vir­tual book­shelf for new books (The Shifted […]

    Pingback by Simon Chamberlain’s library weblog » Blog Archive » Friday roundup — February 8, 2008 @ 2:30 am

  9. I’ve just built a site that is very sim­i­lar in func­tion­al­ity, the focus is on cat­a­loging books online. We pro­vide a sum­mary box for every cover on mouse over. I’d love to hear feed­back on the site. Great blog.

    Cheers, Jeremy

    Comment by Jeremy LeBard — February 12, 2008 @ 5:28 am

  10. We use a ran­dom­izer to dis­play new titles in our Down­load­able Audio (Over­drive) Col­lec­tion.
    Instead of mak­ing the Jacket click­able, we opted to pro­vide links to
    “Lis­ten to an Excerpt” and “Get This Audio Book.”

    Comment by Dave — March 19, 2008 @ 6:15 pm

  11. […] → Sum­mary of book upon mouseover (with the option to turn off) [idea credit: Jenny Levine] […]

    Pingback by a modern, functional OPAC - walking paper — March 23, 2008 @ 10:47 pm

  12. […] The Shifted Librarian […]

    Pingback by More on Cover Flow in libraries… at The Corkboard — April 9, 2008 @ 12:56 pm

  13. […] Brows­ing the Vir­tual New Book­shelf — The Shifted Librar­ian As some­one who never goes to my home library for new books because they are embar­goed from check­out for a week this would be a far eas­ier way for me to browse new books remotely with­out hav­ing to strain my eyes read­ing through three hun­dred lines of text. (tags: libraries inter­ac­tion­de­sign jen­nylevine shiftedlibrarian) […]

    Pingback by cecily.info - links for 2008-04-18 — April 18, 2008 @ 9:34 am

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