Criss cross catalogs

It is interesting to look at the variety of ways in which newer catalog/discovery layer deployments are linking to third party services.

The list of VuFind implementations on their 'about' page provides a good sample. There is some variety within the overall VuFind pattern.

Here is an example from a result for an edition of Voss by Patrick White at the National Library of Australia, providing the ability to bookmark the item in Delicious or to go through to an entry in LibraryThing.

nlavufind.png

Here is an author results page for Patrick White in the Yale beta implementation pulling in data from the Wikipedia entry for White.

yalevufind.png

I couldn't find any Patrick White at the London School of Economics ;-) but this set of links appeared alongside a title by John Harsanyi.

lsevufind.png

Here is what the prototoype 'Searchworks' at Stanford shows for one of their editions of Voss.

stanfordvufind.png

George Mason University has an Alpha version up which has some reviews nicely integrated, but I did not see where they were coming from.

Here is Minnesota Pals.

minnvufind.png

Clearly other systems are doing similar things. A few random thoughts, focusing on the catalog ...

  • Switch and destination. How much is the catalog a research tool in itself (a destination) and how much is it a finding tool for people who already pretty much have an idea of what they want and want to see if the library has it (a switch)? Of course, there is quite a bit of research on the use of the catalog; I haven't seen a synthesis of work around this question. And yes, it can be both.
  • Linking. The growth of interest in linking raises questions about identity. Am I linking to the correct entry in Wikipedia? Or to the right item in another bibliographic system? It is good when we have identifiers, but we often don't.
  • FRBR: granularity and aggregation. I was struck by the potential utility of FRBR. Where entries in one system are being linked to entries in another the level becomes important (e.g. the 2008 Virago 30th anniversary edition of Excellent Women, or any edition). This is why I was particular to say 'an edition' above. For example, one might link to the same 'edition', to any other 'edition', or to all related editions. It will become more useful to be able to manage this.
  • Persistent URLs. Many of the features involve linking back to the catalog (from a social bookmarking site, or potentially from a citation manager). Which requires catalog entries to have persistent URLs.
  • Tags. We are in early days here. We will probably see frameworks emerge for sharing tags, greater linking of tags and controlled vocabularies, and maybe the introduction of 'seed vocabularies' from which readers can pick or be prompted. Libraries often think of tags in descriptive/retrieval terms. The 'social' aspect is important, and I was particularly interested to see the note from Michigan a while ago about providing a network infrastructure for serendipitous encounter through their tagging environment. Scale and incentives are key here so we may see various models emerge which go beyond the single catalog.


Comments: 5

Nov 24, 2008
Jonathan Rochkind

I'd like to add a self-plug for the Umlaut, as integrated in our OPAC and link resolver, which does things along these lines. (And Lorcan should have already known about it, since I told him since it involves Worldcat Identities too. Missed a chance to plug Identities, Lorcan!)

A tour of the third-party-services-pointed-to features, with live example links, can be found here:

http://bibwild.wordpress.com/2008/10/16/umlaut-digital-book/

I'm not really sure how many people use the catalog as a discovery tool, rather than just to check library availability of already identified items. Adding some features like this could _increase_ the use of the catalog as a discovery tool, but that wasn't really my purpose. But certainly, it can't _hurt_ even if they don't use the catalog as a discovery tool. (Except in the sense of misplaced resources in developing this instead of something else, I guess).

However, even if people are using the catalog only to find library availability of already identified items, by linking to other services like this we might make patrons _aware_ of services they didn't even know about. They may then use them in the future, either from our discovery tools, or directly. Either way we've helped our patrons.

Also, we actually did find out here from some targetted interviews that many of our users did in fact use the OPAC and Amazon search-inside-the-book in a complementary way. They might actually start at either location. Identify a book in Amazon, then check OPAC for library availability. OR, identify a book in the OPAC, then use Amazon search-inside-the-book to, well, search inside the book. Although honestly I had already decided to include the Amazon and GBS features in Umlaut before we had that 'evidence', I was pleased that my intuition was confirmed (I did not do the interviews myself! :) ).

Also, interestly, I don't think any of our interviewers actually _knew_ that GBS offered search-inside-the-book, even though some of them used Amazon search-inside-the-book, so that goes back to the role of advertising useful services patrons may not have known about.

More self-plug: Why not consider using the Umlaut in YOUR library today to provide these features? Easy OPAC integration, if you can get your OPAC item detail page to have an OpenURL on it, and some javascript.

Nov 24, 2008
Jonathan Rochkind

PS: To make Lorcan's example complete in the Umlaut, here's our catalog page for Voss.

http://catalog.library.jhu.edu/ipac20/ipac.jsp?index=BIB&term=724872

Sadly, for whatever reason, our MARC record in our catalog doesn't have an ISBN in it, so it isn't succesfully linking up with Amazon limited preview/search inside. Note that the LCCN/OCLCnum are enough to link up to Google Books and Hathi Trust, although Google doesn't have search inside or limited preview for this particular title, if it did, it'd be there.

Note also the WorldCat Identities link, matched by bib OCLCnum. As well as the obligatory "find in another library" via WorldCat.

Nov 24, 2008
Jonathan Rochkind

PS: To make Lorcan's example complete in the Umlaut, here's our catalog page for Voss.

http://catalog.library.jhu.edu/ipac20/ipac.jsp?index=BIB&term=724872

Sadly, for whatever reason, our MARC record in our catalog doesn't have an ISBN in it, so it isn't succesfully linking up with Amazon limited preview/search inside. Note that the LCCN/OCLCnum are enough to link up to Google Books and Hathi Trust, although Google doesn't have search inside or limited preview for this particular title, if it did, it'd be there.

Note also the WorldCat Identities link, matched by bib OCLCnum. As well as the obligatory "find in another library" via WorldCat.

Nov 24, 2008
Lorcan

Jonathan ... this was a sampling of VuFind-based systems .... JHU was in the stack for future reference at some stage ;-)

Nov 24, 2008
Jonathan Rochkind

Actually, what Umlaut is doing is even more interesting then I thought. :) Our MARC record doesn't have an OCLC num in it either, just an LCCN. But the OCLCnum is neccesary to link up to WorldCat Identities and WorldCat itself, I think. And it's linking up. So it's getting an OCLCnum from somewhere, I'm not even sure where, some synergistic not entirely planned effect from one of the other services it consults. I'm going to investigate and blog it.