Category Archives: Web

The week of waiting

It should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me that I’m almost unnaturally excited about the iPad launching this week. There’s a lot that I’m excited about, but a short list would be:

  • iBooks
  • Digital comics
  • Games
  • Web-browsing
  • Video on the huge screen

The most exciting things are the ones that emerge as a result of the new form-factor combined with multi-touch. I’m maybe most looking forward to the apps and web experiences that I would have never thought of before…like this one, called iMockup:

Seriously, that looks awesome for quick and dirty UI work. I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve gone to Caitlin’s office and been like “Give me a sheet of paper and tell me what you think about this…” This total fits that creative space in my head, and puts it into a digital form that I can reuse.

Why I love new librarians

So here at UTC we’ve hired a few new faculty and staff, and this week I’ve been blown away by one of my new colleagues. She attacked a problem that we were having, and found a solution that was elegant and awesome, all at once.

Here’s the setup: one of my reference librarians is maintaining a file that describes, for each of our databases, how you use Endnote Web…which filters, how to make it happy, etc. With dozens of interfaces, this is a non-trivial amount of info, and finding a balance of how to display it to users and keep it easy to update for the librarian became an issue.

Enter: Caitlin and Exhibit! Somehow, I had never seen or heard of this marvelous little tool! Exhibit will take data, and build you a webpage that can be manipulated and sorted in a myriad of ways. Best thing? You can use a Google Docs Spreadsheet as your data source.

So Caitlin worked to get the data file up as a Google doc in the appropriate format, got Exhibit working with it, skinned the results to fit our look & feel, tweaked the CSS, and generally went web-fu on the whole problem.

The final result is a page that’s easy for our patrons to use, and easy for the librarians to manage. Take a look at the result: here’s the Google Spreadsheet with the data, and here’s the final webpage using Exhibit.

I was really impressed with the way she handled this problem, and I can’t wait to continue to be surprised with the solutions she comes up with.

BiblioMashups – Reading Radar

There’s a ton of good work being done in libraryland with mashups and bibliographic data (I’m looking at you, LibraryWebChic!). But for user experience and overall awesome, I love this mashup by John Herren of just the New York Times bestseller list and Amazon APIs:

Reading Radar

ReadingRadar

He detailed how he did it in this great blog post, and it set my mind to racing with possibilities for libraries. For one, I didn’t know that the NYT bestseller list had an API! Public libraries all over should be leveraging this on their websites, with links to their holdings.