User experience

  • Full library discoverySeptember 15, 2013 – The scope of library discovery services continues to evolve. We might characterise the situation we are in now as full collection discovery. The model is of a cloud-based, central index, where the goal has been unified results across collection types delivered in a single search box.The full collection includes material...read full entry...
  • Discovery vs discoverability ... January 02, 2013 – I have been interested in the different dynamics of the inside-out and outside-in library for a while (see here for example). One especially interesting characteristic is the quite different approach to discovery in each case, even though this distinction has not yet crystallized in clear service categories. I was struck...read full entry...
  • Two things prompted by a new website: space as a service and full library discoveryAugust 31, 2012 – Drawn by a Tweet I looked at Stanford's very nice new library website just now. I only spent a few minutes there but I was immediately and strongly struck by two things. Each makes so much sense that I imagine they will become routine. The first was the foregrounding of...read full entry...
  • Worldcat Identities Network: a 'mashup'July 30, 2011 – There has been some nice reaction to the Worldcat Identities Network. The initial motivation for this was to put a graphic display of related Identities into an Identities page. This did not work out and we decided to make it available as a standalone app. The aim is to show...read full entry...
  • Gamification: services and librariesJuly 24, 2011 – I have been interested to see more notes in my tweetstream about peoples' exercise or diet regimes. They are typically generated by network services as a by-product of some activity, running or cycling, for example, and are part of a motivating framework. The Withings bathroom scale is connected to the...read full entry...
  • Books, artifactually and anecdotally speaking ...June 08, 2011 – Anecdotally speaking ....... it seems to me that the artifactual and design elements of print books are coming more to the fore, albeit in different ways. As the use of ebooks grows this is not really surprising, as this change creates niche opportunities for experiences focused specifically on the possibilities...read full entry...
  • Decentred network presenceApril 30, 2011 – We still tend to think of the website as the focus of institutional presence on the network. And, often, mobile or other presences are seen as somehow derivative. Clearly the importance of mobile - especially now with tablets and smartphones - has changed that view and changed the way we...read full entry...
  • Buying books and/or experiences: a consumer viewFebruary 27, 2011 – A while ago I was interested to observe that I had begun to resist buying paperback novels. Before that, I would often come away with one from a trip to our local Border's (sadly now closing) or sometimes buy a mystery novel in the airport (especially on the return trip...read full entry...
  • The infrastructure is getting thicker ..October 17, 2010 – Andy Powell has a nice post on general trends in educational use of networking. The context is a reflection on the future of federated access management but the points he makes are more generally interesting. He talks about the economic situation, outsourcing to the cloud and shared services, the varieties...read full entry...
  • Sorting out demand again ....September 26, 2010 – Ask.com announced the demise of Bloglines a while ago. From October 1st the service will no longer exist. The rationale was twofold: first they wanted to focus on their core business, and second they described how the environment had changed .... A little perspective: when we originally acquired Bloglines in...read full entry...
  • Brutalist architecture and librariesSeptember 19, 2010 – I was talking to Carole Moore, Chief Librarian of the University of Toronto Libraries, recently about Robarts Library, described by Wikipedia as one of "the most significant examples of brutalist architecture in North America". Curious, I followed the Wikipedia link to brutalist architecture. I was interested to find several libraries...read full entry...
  • The network reconfigures library space ... mobile reduxAugust 31, 2010 – So taken was I by William J Mitchell's comments on the impact of the network and mobile communications on space that I have quoted it here a couple of times already ;-) Here it is ... The fact that people are no longer tied to specific places for functions such...read full entry...
  • 3 stages of library websites ...August 22, 2010 – While writing about subject pages and library websites the other day, it occurred to me that we might think of library websites in three stages - which emerged successively and continue to exist together. Always mindful of the rule of three ;-) We might clumsily call these stages: [1] fragmentary,...read full entry...
  • QOTD: Information environments ... August 16, 2010 – 'Information environment' is a vague term, vague enough to be usable in a variety of contexts. For me, as I worked for JISC before coming to OCLC, it will always be associated with the JISC agenda to advance an integrated network of information resources in support of UK research and...read full entry...
  • Recommendation and Ranganathan - retreadAugust 08, 2010 – [I have been quoting the distinction made by Gavin Potter, a participant in the Netflix competition, about how our emphasis is shifting from sorting out supply to sorting out demand. I thought it might be useful to re-present this entry, the one where I first noted the distinction. I could...read full entry...
  • Navigation structure: web sitings ...August 03, 2010 – The following graphic was noted in a variety of places recently. It clearly struck a chord! My own bugbear on library websites is physical address (I sometimes want to know where the library is) and director or staff contacts (which are sometimes really quite hard to find!). This reminded me...read full entry...
  • Bookstores, curation and managing demand/consumption ...July 25, 2010 – I have just returned to the US from a couple of weeks vacation in Ireland and England. I was more than usually struck by my bookstore (aka book shop) experiences, and this prompted the curation entry I have just written. First of all, an interesting note that I have quoted...read full entry...
  • Discovery layers - Top Tech Trends 2July 04, 2010 – [No 2 of 3. No 1 here.] I was pleased to participate in LITA's Top Tech Trends panel at ALA this year (see the video and live coverage). We were each asked to talk about three trends: current, a bit further out, and a bit further out again. In thinking...read full entry...
  • Mobile .. Top Tech Trends 1June 29, 2010 – I was pleased to participate in LITA's Top Tech Trends panel at ALA this year (see the video and live coverage). We were each asked to talk about three trends: current, a bit further out, and a bit further out again. In thinking about the exercise, it seemed to me...read full entry...
  • Beyond records .. genresJune 26, 2010 – We tend to have a very record-based view of bibliographic systems. Searches in a resource result in lists of record-based displays for items. All fields may not be indexed. This means that the data works less hard than it might, given the variety of ways in which it could be...read full entry...
  • Indirect discoveryJune 13, 2010 – I have found that the phrase Discovery happens elsewhere has quite a bit of resonance in discussion. Increasingly people discover websites, or encounter content from them, in a variety of places. Most clearly, this happens through network-level services like Google or Twitter, but also happens in personal services (my RSS...read full entry...
  • 3 switchesJune 13, 2010 – I have been using these three 'switches' as contextual background in presentations for a while: Consumer switch Then: More investment in business/education environments. Now: More investment in consumer environments. It used to be the case that the computer and communications capacities we had at work or in college exceeded those...read full entry...
  • More on VuFindJune 06, 2010 – I wrote an entry on yufind the other day, noting its use of xISBN to cluster editions in results. yufind is an implementation of VuFind. Here is another example of the clustering: Villanova. As Till Kinstler points out in a comment, and as William Denton notes in a discussion of...read full entry...
  • A web-siting at Yale: other editions and xISBNMay 31, 2010 – I was looking at the Vufind implementation of the Yale University Library catalog - yufind - and was interested to see that it implements a link to OCLC's xISBN service to pull together other editions of a displayed result. Here is an example where several versions of Krapp's Last Tape...read full entry...
  • Interstitial readingApril 11, 2010 – Evan Schnittman of OUP has an interesting post in which he discusses three types of digital reading: extractive, immersive and pedagogic. It is worth a read. Looking at his post, I was reminded of a phrase I used for a while: interstitial reading. We do quite a bit of reading...read full entry...
  • More cover notes ...March 28, 2010 – One of three ... There was a well publicized spat between Anna Ford and Martin Amis which included some discussion of the latter's behavior at the deathbed of the former's husband, Mark Boxer. Coincidentally, somebody asked me last week if I had read any of the books in the A...read full entry...
  • Data wells: one big indexMarch 14, 2010 – I was interested to hear the concept of a 'data well' discussed when I was in Sweden the other week. It seems to be used in the sense of an infrastructure to ingest, normalise and provide integrated access to multiple streams of data. In this way, library services can be...read full entry...
  • The context webMarch 07, 2010 – In preparing some recent presentations I have been talking about three primary ways of experiencing the web which emerged successively and continue to work together. Here I will call them the site-web, the search-web, and the context-web (alternatives might be site-centric, network-centric, and user-centric). Site-web. Our early experience of the...read full entry...
  • Cover notesFebruary 11, 2010 – And speaking of The Second Sex reminds me that the Penguin Modern Classic edition is one of those books with an iconic cover which enters deep into the book memory. (Although i could not find this book or its cover on various Penguin sites earlier, which seemed a shame.) The...read full entry...
  • Choice is hard work: an anecdatumDecember 06, 2009 – We got an iMac for family use in the Summer. I never liked the keyboard and the mouse keeps sticking as crumbs and so on get lodged in it. Myself and my son headed off to Micro Center the other evening to explore replacements. They had sold out of the...read full entry...
  • Community bibliographyNovember 01, 2009 – I prefer 'crowdsourced' to 'user contributed' but neither works very well for me. In particular 'user contributed' does not seem a good term at all for a variety of reasons. Anyway, I was looking at the new catalogue at Ottawa Public Library powered by Bibliocommons earlier (following a mention by...read full entry...
  • The library website: a unified service?September 13, 2009 – I mentioned the reworked University of Michigan Libraries website a while ago. Although it is still a layer over various other resources, I liked the way that the site aimed to project the library on the web as a unified service not as a set of unrelated opportunities. This extended...read full entry...
  • Strategic reading and bouncingAugust 30, 2009 – I was very taken by Timothy Burke's presentation at the first open meeting of the Library of Congress Working Group on Bibliographic Control. What was especially interesting was how he outlined a variety of ways in which he needed to interact with the literature. In his own specialties, he expected...read full entry...
  • SerendipityAugust 27, 2009 – Digital environments provide many more opportunities for serendipity than print ones. Sure, there may be happy discoveries on the shelf or in a random group of items bound together. But the chances of happy discovery are multiplied in the web environment. Now, when I hear an argument based on serendipity,...read full entry...
  • Worldcat Local usability results and FRBRAugust 07, 2009 – I posted a while ago about the potential benefits of sharing usability results between libraries, and there was some interest in Worldcat usability testing at the time. In that context, some readers may be interested in the following report which OCLC prepared for distribution at ALA: Some Findings from WorldCat...read full entry...
  • Working around worksAugust 02, 2009 – There is a significant - if little read - literature of cataloging theory. A recurrent theme is the balance between gathering like items, and discriminating between them. Managing similarity and difference in this way, and making sensible user interface choices, is not straightforward. The FRBR model represents a recent approach...read full entry...
  • A web-siting at the University of MichiganJuly 16, 2009 – I came across the University of Michigan beta library website the other day. I thought it was interesting what they had done. Its central part is organized around three areas: search, browse, and get help. News is prominent, alongside a 'feature'. I liked the way the search results were laid...read full entry...
  • Augmenting June 29, 2009 – Layar created a ripple of interest a while ago. It is yet to be released. It is an application for Android based phones which will allow data from various partner resources to be 'layered' over the view through a camera phone. Partners discussed include banks (for ATMs), realtors, and a...read full entry...
  • User symposium presentationsJune 21, 2009 – The presentations from the 2009 RLG Partnership Annual Symposium: Hearing voices: connecting with users, enhancing services, are now available. Here is how the event was described .. User studies have become a critical component in developing and improving services in our institutions. However, investigations into the needs of users and...read full entry...
  • Sharing usability resultsJune 10, 2009 – I was interested to see that MIT Libraries have a public page with links to various usability results. I thought it was quite interesting, and that, while acknowledging some local flavor, it might be useful if more libraries shared results in this way. More generally, we know that there are...read full entry...
  • Decentering and recentering: the TV/PC and the networkFebruary 21, 2009 – A couple of interesting articles on how the network is changing patterns of media consumption appear back-to-back in the current issue of The Atlantic. They prompt an observation about networking and the home. Here is James Parker on the phenomenon that is Guitar Hero and Rock Band: Both franchises, however,...read full entry...
  • Holiday note 2: QOTD: video gamesDecember 31, 2008 – John Lanchester has an article on video games in the current London Review of Books. Because of the cultural segregation between audiences that he describes below, it is unusual to see a serious treatment of video games in a venue like this. I was particularly interested to see this given...read full entry...
  • The changing education experienceDecember 03, 2008 – The Guardian published a supplement on the 'digital student' the other day. There is some general context and there is a range of short pieces on specific approaches or projects. This is all written for a general audience so there is no great detail and it is quite anecdotal. As...read full entry...
  • Criss cross catalogsNovember 23, 2008 – 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...read full entry...
  • In Borders earlierNovember 23, 2008 – I was in our local Border's just now, forlornly looking for a weekend Financial Times. Not finding one, I was looking around aimlessly. A couple of things caught my eye, where one mode influences another. One of the nice things about Border's is that you can look for items on...read full entry...
  • Who we are ....November 01, 2008 – I was pretty interested to see this panel on the home page of the Kelvin Smith Library at Case. In recent presentations I have been noting that while we are increasingly used to seeing 'signed' network resources, library websites are often very anonymous. Think of reviews, ratings, social networking profiles,...read full entry...
  • Library resources on the webOctober 06, 2008 – Cambridge University Library has launched an interesting new website science@Cambridge. It provides the increasingly common combination of metasearch, catalog and e-resource search. However, around this it provides a range of contextual services, many of them feed-based and dynamic. What I thought was especially interesting was the focus on providing access...read full entry...
  • Web 2.0 againOctober 05, 2008 – I have just got around to looking at Programming Collective Intelligence [O'Reilly][Worldcat] by Toby Segaran. This fascinating book demonstrates how you can build web applications to mine the enormous amount of data created by people on the Internet. With the sophisticated algorithms in this book, you can write smart programs...read full entry...
  • Optimal disclosure of published materialsOctober 01, 2008 – Simon Inger and Tracy Gardner released an interesting report a little while ago on How scholars navigate to scholarly content. This is a followup to a similar study carried out in 2005 [pdf], and one of the interesting strands of this report is an account of changes in that period....read full entry...
  • GenerationsSeptember 18, 2008 – We have been having some internal discussion about the usefulness of the 'generational turn' in much recent exploration of reading, media consumption, and learning and research behaviors. It is impossible to move without bumping into a discussion of netgen, natives and immigrants, Y or X, screenagers, the Google generation, and...read full entry...
  • Chrome linksSeptember 09, 2008 – The new Google Chrome browser has captured major attention since it was launched a few days ago. Here, without extensive comment, are links to some interesting posts about Chrome. Nicholas Carr considers strategic motivations .... To Google, the browser has become a weak link in the cloud system - the...read full entry...
  • Really one boxSeptember 07, 2008 – Some time ago I was going to look at something on the web with my son. He looked on incredulously as I began to type in a (medium-sized) URL. "What are you doing?" he asked "why don't you use the other box?". I hadn't realized until then that his preferred...read full entry...
  • Amplifying the meaning of the amplified conferenceAugust 28, 2008 – I have found the phrase 'amplified conference' useful as a way of talking about the surrounding communications techniques which accompany many recent conferences. These allow conference content to be communicated more widely, conversations about the conference to take place, and even the conference to reflexively adapt based on network input....read full entry...
  • Stuck in the middle ....August 03, 2008 – Much of our current model of network information and communication behavior is in the middle ground, it is based on the personal computer (desk- or lap-top) as a consumption target and the organizational website as the delivery target. In other words, the library website is the front door to network...read full entry...
  • Selecting snippetsAugust 02, 2008 – Her Worldcat Identities page currently appears on the first page of results in a search for Eavan Boland Thom Hickey mentioned steps that his group is taking to make Identities more crawler-friendly in a recent post. Looking through various results with him the other day, the Boland snippet caught our...read full entry...
  • Yeats againJuly 19, 2008 – I mentioned visiting the very nicely done Yeats exhibition at the National Library of Ireland in these pages a couple of years ago. There is a very positive story about it in the NYT today. They highlight some of the digital elements of the exhibition ..... The notebook is one...read full entry...
  • Disclosure and diffusion - synchronization and syndicationJuly 16, 2008 – David Bigwood on his blog stats: Making your content available in more places makes metrics hard. Before Bloglines, Google Reader, Facebook Blog Network, Planet Catalog, and all the rest I could get a feel for the number of readers. Didn't matter too much to me, this is done for my...read full entry...
  • We enjoy visiting with our users while there is no place like homeJuly 10, 2008 – How libraries reach into the flow of their users has been one of the recurrent themes of this blog. Recently, I have been interested to see libraries begin to systematise this and to understand the issues around particular approaches. I mentioned the National Library of Scotland's presence on YouTube the...read full entry...
  • Book covers and PiclensJuly 03, 2008 – The recent discussion of book covers as interface components on the ngc4lib list provides an opportunity to mention PicLens, a utility that is has been creating a lot of interest recently. According to its creators, CoolIris, PicLens provides an "immersive full-screen experience for viewing photos and videos". It is available...read full entry...
  • Encore at GlasgowJune 29, 2008 – I was interested to come across the Encore implementation at the University of Glasgow. This is still in development, but here is a description of current features ... Encore is a new way of searching the Library catalogue offering: single search box relevance ranked results location & availability details links...read full entry...
  • The Bath University recordJune 20, 2008 – As more of the "institutional record" gets pushed to the institutional website ('brochureware', prospectuses, course catalogs, annual reports, newsletters, etc) it raises interesting questions about who manages that institutional memory and about how it is managed. I worked at the University of Bath for many years. My former colleague Brian...read full entry...
  • Institutional discovery systemsJune 06, 2008 – The University of Wisconsin - Madison has made available its report about institutional discovery services [pdf]. Compare Google searching to the many steps and decisions one must make in order to locate a scholarly article on the UW-Madison Libraries Web site and you get a sense of the problem. [Resource...read full entry...
  • Mobile access againMay 29, 2008 – My colleague Bruce Washburn sent me a note prompted by the mention here of the NCSU provision for mobile access to the library website and catalog. Bruce worked on mobile access to RedLightGreen some years ago. He also worked on the Worldcat Facebook app. He makes an interesting comparison: We...read full entry...
  • Mobile accessMay 28, 2008 – I was interested to come across the provision for mobile access at NCSU Libraries. Here is the library page. Given that one does not want a very long list, it makes for interesting decisions about what is important or of interest to mobile users. "Wolfline status' gives access to the...read full entry...
  • FlockMay 18, 2008 – I use the Flock browser as my main work (and home) environment. I like the way it brings gmail. facebook, and my RSS aggregator into the same in-browser environment. I could do other stuff but that is enough to be getting on with. One click and I can look through...read full entry...
  • Recommendation and RanganathanMay 13, 2008 – From time to time, we see a discussion about the relative merits of Google, or Amazon, and library catalogs as retrieval or search engines. There is one main difference that doesn't tend to get discussed much, and that has to do with the type of data that gets factored into...read full entry...
  • Touch screenMay 03, 2008 – When we tried out the Kindle a while ago, my son immediately began to touch the screen. But no, the only effect was to leave marks. This morning in our local Border's I noticed that they had little notices stuck above the screens of their enquiry system. They said that...read full entry...
  • An unadorned home pageMarch 20, 2008 –  I was quite taken with the very plain University of Oxford home page. It is like a sign hung beside the front gate....read full entry...
  • Engaging academic users in a library serviceMarch 09, 2008 – OCUL (Ontario Council of University Libraries) has released a nice white paper which discusses issues in providing an end-user access environment for its shared resources, and more interestingly, how that environment engages with the behaviors and expectations of its academic users. This document (pdf) was created to highlight opportunities and...read full entry...
  • Book search and glanceabilityMarch 04, 2008 – Somebody I was talking to recently mentioned that they liked they way Microsoft implemented book search. In particular they mentioned the visual presentation of where in a book matched search terms occurred. I had a look. Here is a screen capture of the first result in a search done this...read full entry...
  • The new BBCFebruary 27, 2008 – The BBC is a major web presence, and many people look to it for example. I noted a while ago its pending redesign: From a conceptual point of view, the widgetization adopted by Facebook, iGoogle and netvibes weighed strongly on our initial thinking. We wanted to build the foundation and...read full entry...
  • QOTD: "To every scholar the library is a personal realm of secret topography."February 23, 2008 – Fiona MacCarthy has a very nice article in today's Guardian about Colin St John Wilson and the building which was to become his life's work. Perhaps only an intellectual modernist such as Wilson could have tackled the architectural challenges inherent in designing the largest public building in Britain in the...read full entry...
  • An interesting university web presenceFebruary 20, 2008 – iSoton is an interesting web presence from the University of Southampton. I wonder how well it is being received and used. There are six panels. One displays a (short) list of university podcasts; another displays standard virtual tour stuff. The other four are more interesting. One displays the University's wikipedia...read full entry...
  • Interoperability?December 30, 2007 – In libraries we worship interoperability, in the abstract at least. We believe it is an unalloyed good. My snappy interoperability tag is "recombinant potential": things are interoperable to the extent that they are capable of being combined or recombined with other things. We are traveling with a laptop, head phones,...read full entry...
  • Got a problem? Got an answer?December 30, 2007 – I was interested to receive a note about the new Pew study [pdf] on how people go about solving problems involving information needs. It was interesting to see the positive message about libraries. The survey results challenge the assumption that libraries are losing relevance in the internet age. Libraries drew...read full entry...
  • QOTD: a feed-based universeDecember 16, 2007 – The BBC website is a major network hub. It has been through a redesign and a beta site is available for inspection. The home 'page' becomes a "page composition layer". From a conceptual point of view, the widgetization adopted by Facebook, iGoogle and netvibes weighed strongly on our initial thinking....read full entry...
  • The personal to global traverseDecember 09, 2007 – Network services have accustomed us to move from the personal to the global. Think of iTunes. I have my own local library on my PC which I can synchronize with mobile devices. It is also tightly integrated with the global network iTunes. And the MiniStore uses aggregate buying patterns to...read full entry...
  • Kindle againDecember 02, 2007 – I got hold of a Kindle at work the other day, only for an evening as I had to pass it on. I didn't have it for long enough to form any realistic impression and I did not read a book on it. However, even based on this limited exposure,...read full entry...
  • KindleNovember 18, 2007 – The whole world seems to have seen that Newsweek is carrying a cover story about Kindle from Amazon ;-) The story is pretty positive. One notable aspect is the tight coupling of the service for delivering ebooks and other materials and the device for presenting them. This is a model...read full entry...
  • Transaction costsNovember 17, 2007 – I just did an entry on the new report [PDF] on licenses and the re-use of digital materials in the cultural heritage sector from the Eduserv Foundation. Reading the report, it occurred to me that a major rationale here is to reduce the transaction costs involved in using resources by...read full entry...
  • Parents at the partyNovember 10, 2007 – From the Guardian: Online spaces are blurring, as universities that podcast and text their students have shown. The Jisc project manager, Lawrie Phipps, explains how the battle lines are being drawn: "Students really do want to keep their lives separate. They don't want to be always available to their lecturers...read full entry...
  • Library website analyticsNovember 01, 2007 – Our activities in the network world leave traces. The analysis of these traces is now a major undertaking as organizations mine this data to understand behaviors, to improve their systems, and to refine their offer. Tony Hirst has a series of posts about 'course analytics': In contrast to the academic...read full entry...
  • CISTI labOctober 31, 2007 – I was in CISTI in Ottawa yesterday and saw an interesting and regrettably brief presentation from Glen Newton about the work of their research group They are doing some nice things to layer useful functionality across large data sets (e.g. clustering, mapping citation patterns, recommendation, ...). Some examples of their...read full entry...
  • The special webOctober 21, 2007 – Quantity has a quality all its own. A focus on quality is one reason that libraries, archives and museums have not moved their collections in large quantities to the web. This reduces their visibility and impact as the web becomes central to research, learning and civic engagement. Scale matters, and...read full entry...
  • Processes and repositoriesOctober 16, 2007 – I find it convenient to think about current library systems activities in terms of support for three materials workflows: bought/print materials, licensed/electronic materials, and digital/digitized materials. This is being pragmatic rather than pure, and is open to challenge on many grounds. I have discussed these at more length here, and...read full entry...
  • Personal collectionsOctober 15, 2007 – We have become used to managing collections of digital resources: images, music, citations. Zotero is one response to the question of how we will manage collections of scholarly resources. Raymond Yee's suggestive triple does good service describing the motivation: we want to be able to easily gather, create, and share...read full entry...
  • QOTD: URI patternsSeptember 28, 2007 – A quote about URIs: I propose that a resource and its URI ought to have an intuitive correspondence. …. URIs should have a structure. They should vary in predictable ways: you should not go to /search/Jellyfish for jellyfish and /i-want-to-know-about/Mice for mice. If a client knows the structure of the...read full entry...
  • Life as it is livedSeptember 19, 2007 – A report on the use of information and communications technologies among prospective university students was commissioned by JISC from Ipsos MORI. The findings have just been published [pdf]. I was interested in the popularity of social networking sites. 501 people responded to an online survey. 65% used social networking sites...read full entry...
  • Subject and genre cloudsSeptember 16, 2007 – Worldcat Identities now has subject clouds. These are based on FAST headings in records associated with the identity. Here is the cloud on the page for Conor Cruise O'Brien. Click on the image to get through to the Identity page. Then click on one of the headings in the cloud...read full entry...
  • Discovery happens elsewhereSeptember 16, 2007 – I have been using the phrase 'discovery happens elsewhere' in recent presentations. I think it captures quite nicely an increasingly important part of how we think about our services. No single website is the sole focus of a user's attention. Increasingly people discover websites, or encounter content from them, in...read full entry...
  • Ambient fulfilment and on-demand spaceSeptember 06, 2007 – The iPod hookup with Starbucks has had a mixed reception. I thought that it was intriguing as one of those little newsflashes from the future. From a story about how the current iPod form factor will be replaced by one based on the iPhone. In a curious marketing twist, Apple...read full entry...
  • My home pageSeptember 04, 2007 – Here is a cloud view of words on the 'front' page of this blog. I thought 'interested' and 'interesting' might be bigger, as, despite my best intentions, I always seem to end up saying 'it is interesting that ....' or 'I was interested to see ...' ;-) See here for...read full entry...
  • Intentional data again: Super crunchingAugust 31, 2007 – The current issue of Newsweek discusses a new book on the use of aggregated user data: Super Crunchers: why thinking-by-numbers is the new way to be smart. As more activities move online, we have more data about intentions, choices, attention. The punchline of the story is that service choices are...read full entry...
  • The academic library and its usersAugust 30, 2007 – I mentioned Jim Collins' book on the social sectors the other day. I have just acquired Susan Gibbons' book, The academic library and the net gen student: making the connections. I was interested to see her make use of Collins' material in the opening chapter where she suggests the following...read full entry...
  • Syndicating moiAugust 22, 2007 – I was looking at Macenstein earlier. And was slightly surprised after a while to notice that amongst the Amazon ads appearing on the right were some for very familiar stuff. Turns out that Macenstein is feeding me my own personalized Amazon data. And it looks as if other people might...read full entry...
  • Serendipity in stacks, racks and online sytemsAugust 16, 2007 – We have just spent a while on the San Juan Islands (off the North West coast of Washington State and East of Vancouver Island for unfamiliar readers - Wikipedia). I bought a couple of books in the congenial Pyramidion Used and Rare Books in Eastsound on Orcas Island. I was...read full entry...
  • A catalogue in your faceAugust 01, 2007 – I was interested to see the Page Tools in the University of Alberta catalogue (look in the left hand bar below). A reader can send a correction or suggestion to the library: it would be interesting to know how many folks use this option and what types of suggestion are...read full entry...
  • Sxip thisJuly 25, 2007 – I installed Sxipper a few days ago. Sxipper is a free Firefox extension that saves you time on the web, enabling you to easily control the release and management of your identity data. With a single click, Sxipper is trained to securely log you in with a username or an...read full entry...
  • Slow downJuly 19, 2007 – Several things have meant that blogging has been a bit slow the last week or two. However, I notice from the stats that the daily average number of visits so far this month has been the highest since I started. Clearly, for maximum traffic I should stop posting altogether ;-)...read full entry...
  • The network reconfigures the library systems environmentJuly 06, 2007 – One of the main issues facing libraries as they work to create richer user services is the complexity of their systems environment. Consider these pictures which I have been using in presentations for a while now. Reductively, we can think of three classes of systems - (1) the classic ILS...read full entry...
  • But, what do I really mean to you?June 18, 2007 – Given the importance of relationships within Facebook, folks would like it to offer a more appropriately expressive set of, er, 'relationship assertions' (you get to pick from a list of tick-boxes). An interesting confluence of opinion: Dave Winer, John Naughton, Stu Weibel, Jon Udell....read full entry...
  • Developing a 'next generation' systemwide catalogJune 12, 2007 – Judith Pearce from the National Library of Australia left an interesting comment about the integration, or not, of full-text book indexes and library catalogs. Here is an excerpt:Here at the National Library of Australia, just as we are starting to address the challenge of getting nice fully FRBRised, relevance-ranked and...read full entry...
  • New spacesJune 10, 2007 – Manuel Castells' Rise of the Network Society is a loose, baggy monster of a book, to hijack an expression. It is full of memorable phrases. One that has stuck in my mind is his catchy definition of space as 'material support for time-sharing social practices'. This is in the context...read full entry...
  • The digital creates interest in the physicalJune 06, 2007 – Carla Montori spoke about the Google digitization initiative at the University of Michigan at the LIBER Think Tank on the future value of the book artefact and the future value of digital documentary heritage [pdf]. She reported an interesting finding: experience of the digital version of an item is creating...read full entry...
  • QOTD: the convenience of onlineMay 28, 2007 – From the blog of Harvard economist, Dani Rodrik:An article in Sunday's NYT magazine prompted me to look at Bryan Caplan's book The Myth of the Rational Voter. I haven't read the whole book, just the bits that are online. It is a thought-provoking piece, and a god read. But I...read full entry...
  • In the flow - Washington and WikipediaMay 24, 2007 – In recent presentations I have been referring to the University of Washington's initiative to systematically put links to its digital collections in relevant Wikipedia entries. I use it as an example of putting library resources 'in the flow' of their users's behavior. If Wikipedia is where many folks end up...read full entry...
  • Universal search and the rich texture of suggestionMay 18, 2007 –  There has been some discussion - less than I expected - about Google's steps to develop a unified search across its services (blogsearch, booksearch, YouTube, etc) so that blogs, video, books, maps, and so on are returned in results on the main Google site. This latest refinement sounds simple,...read full entry...
  • GlanceabilityMay 08, 2007 – Glanceability is about enabling "users to understand information with low cognitive effort". And further: Glanceability refers to how quickly and easily the visual design conveys information after the user is paying attention to the display. These quotes are from a paper Designing glanceable peripheral displays by Matthews, Forlizzi and Rohrbach...read full entry...
  • A many featured catalogueApril 29, 2007 –  The Powerhouse Museum in Sydney has been doing very interesting work on their collection 'catalogue'. Some of this work is described by Sebastian Chan [blog] at the recent Museums and the Web 2007 conference in San Francisco in a paper well worth reading. Internally called OPAC2.0, the new catalogue...read full entry...
  • Fan fictionApril 21, 2007 – The ever-interesting Hitwise blog has a post talking about what 18 to 24 year olds do online. Yesterday I spoke at the the Millennials Conference in Los Angeles. I talked about some websites that have a high concentration of users in the 18-24 age group, and are enabling users to...read full entry...
  • A perspective on the academic libraryApril 16, 2007 – The pattern of central funding for education and cultural areas in the UK has led to the emergence of a rich centrally managed support, policy, planning and service environment. One might have an interesting discussion about where this modus operandi is successful (removing redundancy and fragmentation by providing service at...read full entry...
  • Books are technology tooApril 16, 2007 – The Google digitization of books appears to have caught the public imagination. Recent weeks have seen high profile articles in The Economist [subscription required]and The New Yorker as well as several newspaper pieces (see the links and response on this OUP blog entry for example). Google Book Search is a...read full entry...
  • Student useApril 02, 2007 – I was very interested to read (via eFoundations) a note on the Ancient Geeks blog by Martin Poulter. He talks about what the students at the University of Bristol use the network for according to the University's network management folks. Facebook is the most popular site by hits, accounting for...read full entry...
  • Librarians in the flowMarch 30, 2007 – OK, a last note from the CIC Getting in the Flow conference, from which presentations are now appearing on the web. Cody Hansen spoke on the NextGen panel, with powerpoint nicely done in the Lessig/Hardt style [ppt]. His theme was that librarians should be personally more visible in the web-based...read full entry...
  • BookspaceMarch 24, 2007 – Hennepin County Library scored a small coup by securing the name Bookspace for their web pages devoted to reading. And they have made very good use of it. I was interested in the book lists provided by readers. They offer reading tips by genre, including the reader-contributed lists, new books,...read full entry...
  • Gaming and the Rhinoceros in the RoomMarch 21, 2007 – Jenny Levine spoke about gaming and libraries at Getting in the flow. I hadn't seen this presentation before and liked that she approached it from several angles. The presentation is on her presentations wiki. I was struck by a comment she made about socialization. If large numbers of people engage...read full entry...
  • Finding TimeMarch 20, 2007 – A funny video about a library website? Yes, it is possible .... One of the highlights of the CIC 2007 Library Conference was in the presentation from Ellysa Cahoy of Penn State (you can see Ellysa's presentation on Slideshare). Her topic was how the library website should help the user...read full entry...
  • GBS FRBRMarch 12, 2007 –  I mentioned Augustine of Hippo the other day, in the context of the interesting work that Google is doing to develop a contextual page for each book (resources about it, resources related to it, etc. See this Penguin Classic with the nice cover, for example). Searching for the 'City...read full entry...
  • Libraries, books and network level servicesMarch 03, 2007 – The growth in variety and volume of sites for personal collection management is fascinating to watch, especially those where addtiional value is created by pooling choices and preferences across users. Sites for music and books especially. Typically these sites display network effects, they improve as more people connect and share...read full entry...
  • ScapesFebruary 01, 2007 – Google announced a while ago that they were 'deprecating' their SOAP Search API in favour of an Ajax based search syndication strategy [as reported by Brady Forrest]. One motivation for this, it was speculated, was that the SOAP API-based syndication of search did not support their ad-based revenue model. Why?...read full entry...
  • Music libraryJanuary 28, 2007 – I was listening to the audio for the ALA Top Tech Trends session on the LITA Blog. Cliff Lynch discussed the emergence of personal libraries and used music as an example. This reminded me that I had spent an interesting while (well, an hour or so) looking at the iTunes...read full entry...
  • Tundish, maps and emergent knowledgeJanuary 27, 2007 – There is a famous passage in A portrait of the artist as a young man where Stephen Dedalus is talking to an English priest and is made uncomfortable about the Irish way in which he speaks English. Stephen uses the word tundish for funnel, a word unfamiliar to the priest....read full entry...
  • AmapediaJanuary 26, 2007 – Here is something to watch. Amapedia is from Amazon:Amapedia introduces an exciting new way of organizing products we call "collaborative structured tagging". In a nutshell, it makes it easy for you to tag products with what they are and with their most important facts, and for others to search, discover,...read full entry...
  • Nelsonville catalogJanuary 13, 2007 – Mentioning Koha the other day reminded me that I have used the Nelsonville Public Library catalog in a couple of recent presentations. It serves Athens County in South East Ohio and uses Koha. See the entry for this title: The art of Richard Diebenkorn. They provide access to Amazon search...read full entry...
  • Airplane reading: smelling the wineJanuary 13, 2007 – A busy week with a trip at the end meant little posting. Here is a note on travel reading. I received When red is black by Qiu Xiaolong over Christmas and finished it on the way back from New York City yesterday evening. Chen, the detective with literary interests is...read full entry...
  • Emergent knowledge and intentional dataDecember 31, 2006 – I have written about 'intentional' data on and off, data recording user preferences or choices. Such data has a variety of uses in our domain: we are all familiar with Amazon's 'people who bought this also bought this' feature. One of the major lessons of Google is to show how...read full entry...
  • London displayedDecember 29, 2006 – The British Library has an exhibition on London and its maps. There is a 'curator's blog'. And there I read:Just a quick note to let you know about a fantastic new Google Earth layer based on London: A Life in Maps that a colleague in our web team has put...read full entry...
  • The power of the Google flowDecember 29, 2006 – I mentioned the other day that of the three blog search engines - Technorati, Google Blogsearch, Ask/Bloglines - that I tended to use, Technorati had slipped to number three because of its slower response times. When it is part of the flow of what you are doing, you do not...read full entry...
  • Circulation and the collective collection againDecember 27, 2006 – I stumbled upon the pages at Swarthmore College Library devoted to WH Auden's spell as a teacher there earlier today. There are a few nice pages pointing to his use of the library.Auden was a great poet and a provocative professor, but he was not always the ideal library patron....read full entry...
  • Finding fictionDecember 16, 2006 – FictionFinder has been available for quite a while. Check out the new version. This is a prototype which has several motivations. It takes fiction records from Worldcat and shows how the data can be made 'work harder' to create useful and interesting experience. It offers a 'frbresque' view of the...read full entry...
  • QOTD: hiding things on the library websiteDecember 10, 2006 – Libraries struggle with how to present multiple digital materials on their websites. Here is The Oldie magazine on the rewards and frustrations of using public library websites.First, get to know the catalogue; the entire regional catalogue is available for you to look at from home. You can search for a...read full entry...
  • Boffyflow and spikeNovember 26, 2006 – Peter Binkley has a thoughtful post on libraries and Second Life, which could be generalized to a variety of environments. He kindly notes some of my remarks on putting library services into the flow and goes on to say of Second Life:But is there now, or will there ever be,...read full entry...
  • Speedy ...November 10, 2006 – I find that I use Technorati less these days than Google Blogsearch and Bloglines/Ask for looking at blog stuff. This is not to do with poorer results. It is to do with speed: Technorati makes you wait for a moment. And I don't like waiting. I was interested to see...read full entry...
  • QOTD: Wikipedia for studyNovember 08, 2006 – Hitwise has an interesting analyis of seasonal patterns of web traffic traffic. What I noticed was how Wikipedia use was influenced by the academic cycle. Notice the increase in visits to Wikipedia in May (during finals) and slight decline during the summer months. YouTube overtook Wikipedia in market share in...read full entry...
  • Traffic flowOctober 23, 2006 – The Hitwise blog is always interesting. They refer to the Udell/Bezos interview I cited a little while ago. First a paraphrased quote from Jeff Bezos: When library patrons use Amazon's catalogue to research what's in the library, they're creating flow through Amazon's site, and Bezos says he's all for that....read full entry...
  • A google cocoon, or Google as GaeilgeOctober 22, 2006 – OK, so I have just done an entry quoting eFoundations, the blog by Pete Johnson and Andy Powell. The other day, I did a Google search for eFoundations and was interested to see that my earlier mention of it came top of the results, with eFoundations itself coming in second....read full entry...
  • SlideShare and YouTubeOctober 10, 2006 – One of the comments about YouTube in the media flurry is that it was designed to be very easy to use. One aspect of this is the convergence on Flash as a way of presenting/delivering resources. This does away with the need to struggle with multiple players, and supports the...read full entry...
  • National Library of Australia 2.0October 08, 2006 – A colleague pointed me at an article by the always interesting Judith Pearce about how the National Library of Australia is thinking about services in an age of 'crowdsourcing'. In summary our goals in this area are to explore new models for collecting material; to provide services that support the...read full entry...
  • Zotero againOctober 06, 2006 – I mentioned Zotero the other day. I am submerged in several assignments and will not be able to look at it myself for a little while. In the interim, here are some mild opinions, tentatively offered: There are a range of generic options (create a new citation from scratch, capture...read full entry...
  • What do writers and readers expect of the library?September 20, 2006 – Birte Christensen-Dalsgaard visited OCLC earlier this year, and gave an interesting presentation Developing Denmark's Next Generation Digital Library: Work Underway at Statsbiblioteket and DEFF [ppt]. One of the most interesting things she talked about was a study being carried out under the auspices of a DEFF project, User expectations and...read full entry...
  • By the seaSeptember 16, 2006 –  Swansea University is by the sea. I like the way they use the sea in the current website design....read full entry...
  • Search is more than searchSeptember 04, 2006 – Bjørn Olstad, CTO of FAST, presented at Ticer on search [pdf]. A couple of things caught my eye. It would have been nice to hear the presentation - I have only the .ppt to go on. He talks about a move from content management to consumption management. And taking the...read full entry...
  • The power of demand aggregationSeptember 02, 2006 – There are a couple of interesting recent posts on Hitwise. First, they note that Flickr is the UK's number one photo site. When they last looked at this in the Spring Flickr was still behind Photobucket. They attribute its improvement to good search engine optimization and searches for what they...read full entry...
  • The pursuit of usersAugust 24, 2006 – Scholarly Information Strategies are well known consultants. They make some presentations available on their website. There is some repetition, but that is not, after all, uncommon ;-) They explore changing patterns of scholarly publishing and communication in a network world. The themes will be familiar, but it is interesting seeing...read full entry...
  • Moving to the network level: MicrosoftAugust 17, 2006 – Of the big Internet age companies, Microsoft is in many ways the most interesting. It has to find a way of straddling its desktop legacy and the new world of web services. In this context, the recent presentation by Ray Ozzie, Microsoft's newly elevated Chief Software Architect, at the MSFT...read full entry...
  • Flickr Australia and the flowAugust 05, 2006 – I participated in a question-answer session at WilsWorld last week. I enjoyed it and took away several things to think about. At one stage, I said something along the lines of:Not only can we not expect people to come to the library, but we cannot expect them to come to...read full entry...
  • Yeats and the webJuly 23, 2006 – I spent several hours at the Yeats exhibition at the National Library of Ireland earlier this week. It was very nicely done and I will come back to some more specific thoughts it prompted about evidence and exhibition, and shared interests between libraries, archives and museums. Motivations for the exhibition...read full entry...
  • Good relations ...June 17, 2006 – I suggested below that we think about catalog - or other search system - features in terms of rank, relate, and recommend. Things, you notice, tend to come in threes .... In bibliographic systems we have created explicit relationships and we have used controlled data to create relationships - names,...read full entry...
  • Starbucks and perceptionsMay 26, 2006 – I finished off my presentation for the Celtic Connections conference last week in a local Starbucks with a wireless connection. This was in the middle of Cardiff. It was buzzing. Stuck for several hours in Newark airport on my way back from Cardiff, I was interested to read the cover...read full entry...
  • Lifting out the catalog discovery experienceMay 14, 2006 – I have been talking to a variety of groups in recent weeks, and the future of the catalog has risen to the top of the list in discussion and questions. The catalog is a topic of major debate. However, this discussion is really raising a set of broader issues about...read full entry...
  • Addressable - accessibleApril 30, 2006 – I suggested a while ago in these pages that one reason for the wide use of Wikipedia was that it was an 'addressable knowledgebase'. Entries enter the web conversation because they are referencable, they are on-web. In this context I was interested to read in Bubblegeneration: In many cases, communities...read full entry...
  • The network is the sunApril 11, 2006 – There is an interesting discussion about how to make the catalog visible on the open web on Web4Lib at the moment, specifically on how users might find their way back from Google to library resources. A theme is that it is also important to make library resources visible in the...read full entry...
  • The NYT and the rich texture of suggestionApril 03, 2006 – The New York Times discusses its redesigned web presence:We also wanted to give our readers a greater voice and sprinkle a little more serendipity around the site by providing prominent links to a list of most e-mailed and blogged articles, most searched for information and popular movies. A new tab...read full entry...
  • Sites: a pattern of expectationMarch 19, 2006 – On recent travels, I have been reading Malcolm McCullough's Digital Ground, an architectural consideration of interaction design in an age of pervasive computing. I was interested to come across this mention of public libraries:... A livable city is made up of types. Some of these, such as the sidewalk cafe,...read full entry...
  • EngagementFebruary 02, 2006 – Every now and again I take a look at the MIT website. It is always interesting. For those that don't know, it changes based on a user contributed idea. The MIT spotlights answer the question, "What interesting and wonderful things are happening at MIT?" The spotlight images and headlines change...read full entry...
  • NetworkflowsJanuary 28, 2006 – One way of characterising recent developments is to look at our locus of engagement with the network. We can see a trend from database, to website to workflow. And this is not really surprising. As more of our working, learning and playing lives moves onto the network we need better...read full entry...
  • Flickr and the library picturesJanuary 10, 2006 – More interesting work from the National Library of Australia.Now FlickR and the National Library of Australia are embarking on an exciting initiative to offer individuals the opportunity to include their images of contemporary Australia in the PictureAustralia service through FlickR. By adding images to this group, individuals are able to,...read full entry...
  • Changing expecations (again)January 02, 2006 – Over the break I was looking at a couple of directory-type sites. I was interested in how my response to them was different than it would have been a couple of years ago. First, somebody was showing me the Irish Playography site, an impressive accounting of Irish plays and the...read full entry...
  • A handful of presentationsNovember 30, 2005 – I just noticed how out-and-about my OR colleagues have been in the last few months. Here is a note about presentations since September, pulling in a variety of things in passing. System and service architectures David Bigwood asked recently about the Microsoft Research Pane. We have been using it as...read full entry...
  • Where is the web?November 21, 2005 – Some commentary on how the experience of the web will move from one where destinations dominate to one where lightweight client-side approaches shape presentation and consumption. This is a world where links matter more: services built on URLs, maybe Coins, .... From Darwinian Web:The explosion I am talking about is...read full entry...
  • The default option November 08, 2005 – There is an article about Google, MSN and Yahoo's competing interests in AOL in the Economist. It ends with this interesting paragraph: Ultimately, it all comes down to the three suitors' estimates of what Mr Varian calls "the power of the default". Default users are "the great unwashed", says Mr...read full entry...
  • Bridging to user environments - 3GOctober 24, 2005 – Think of services provided to human interfaces as P-services - where p stands for person (or presentation). Think of services provided to machine interfaces as M-services where m stands for machine (or mediated). Our dominant model of delivery is P-service, a web interface oriented for presentation to human users. M-services...read full entry...
  • A decimal browseOctober 07, 2005 – We have added some new collections to the Dewey Browser. These are wcat, 2.2 million of the most widely held records in WorldCat, and a selection from the Abridged Edition 14 of the DDC.The wcat collection has been grouped based on the OCLC FRBR work-set algorithm and includes links to...read full entry...
  • Making data work - Web 2.0 and catalogsOctober 04, 2005 – Tim O'Reilly has just made available a suggestive piece about Web 2.0, which provides many points for the library community to ponder. One of these comes back to a concern I raise regularly in these pages: making data work harder. He is discussing the use of data, and notes how...read full entry...
  • Find nearbyOctober 04, 2005 – I mentioned the find in a nearby library feature in Santa Monica Public Library below, where OpenWorldCat is used to find a book in libraries within a several mile radius. This has now been extended throughout the catalog: there is a new link on every record that has a localized...read full entry...
  • A linguistic digressionSeptember 26, 2005 – Our daughter came home one day shortly after starting school in England asking what the 'pavement' was. She was used to hearing her Irish parents call it the 'path'. When she came to the US, she discovered that it was the 'sidewalk'. The variety of English that is spoken in...read full entry...
  • Looking at the siteSeptember 23, 2005 – I find web-site appearance both more and less important. Less important because I look at a lot of things through RSS. For some sites, I now do not know what they look like as my only exposure to them is through their RSS feed. More important because I find that...read full entry...
  • Desktops againAugust 22, 2005 – I write about intrastructure below, to refer to emerging ways of tying together data and applications in simple ways. RSS is an example, and we have seen a growth in the use of FireFox extensions, toolbars, and so on. I wrote:There is a danger that the desktop will become too...read full entry...
  • GenderAugust 11, 2005 – A couple of things of late about gender differences on the web. Researchers at the University of Glamorgan have been looking at the relative appeal of websites to men and women:"We started off by looking at the personal websites created by 60 university students, 30 male and 30 female, to...read full entry...
  • Ranking and interestingnessAugust 09, 2005 – One of the notable things about Google Scholar is the citation-based ranking. There was some discussion recently about how Google was looking at new ways of ranking news articles, in part based on reputational characteristics of the source of the news. Now Flickr has announced its work on interestingness:The other...read full entry...
  • A pedestrian search serviceAugust 08, 2005 – According to a Wired story A9's street-level picturing exercise seems to be creating value for users.They also offer context. Caro-Brice thinks users will end up using A9.com for apartment hunting, for example, and for locating desirable neighborhoods and green spaces. Also, users would never again fret over booking their elderly...read full entry...
  • New lookAugust 07, 2005 – Check out the new look interface to Find in a library. See, for example, the (current) page for Information rules. I like the way it highlights subjects and other editions. IMHO one of the major features of OpenWorldCat is the way it is beginning to release the value of the...read full entry...
  • A Dewey browseJuly 30, 2005 – I am very pleased to see the DeweyBrowser appear on our ResearchWorks page. Thom trailed its appearance a while ago and had discussed some technical context. There is some more information on a background page. We have brought it up over a collection of eBooks extracted from WorldCat; we will...read full entry...
  • University websitesJune 20, 2005 – There is an interesting short piece in The Guardian about [high] school student responses to university websites. Too many clicks and you've lost them. Nowhere is the culture clash between today's sixth formers and the universities trying to recruit them greater than in academic websites....... Students were given exactly a...read full entry...
  • The one-stop-shop that isn'tJune 20, 2005 – When talking about a well-defined, discrete problem, maybe one-stop-shop expresses a useful notion. Or when the entry point is so wide as to seem comprehensive .. as with Amazon or Google. However, we are more often dealing with situations which fall between these poles. And there, one-stop-shop more often seems...read full entry...
  • The participation ageJune 20, 2005 – One of the interesting things about the major current web platforms - eBay, Amazon, Google, Yahoo! - is that they involve, in different ways, some element of co-creation by their users. We are also seeing an explosion in tools and services for social networking, information sharing and disclosure, and commentary....read full entry...
  • Doing web thingsJune 02, 2005 – I like this text from an abstract of one of the presentations at the Institutional Web Management Workshop 2005.Within any institution there are numerous individuals with a desire to publish on the Web, and have often been free to do so, free from such concerns as accessibility, usability, standards or...read full entry...
  • Firefox search extensionsJune 01, 2005 – I have not seen mention of the FireFox extensions for OpenWorldCat search elsewhere, so here is a note. There are extensions for Yahoo! and Google. These were developed by Mike Teets, who credits Ron Buckley with initiating the idea with related work. And yes, before somebody asks ;-), they have...read full entry...
  • Cover storyMay 31, 2005 – Penguin book covers are iconic. There is a nice article by Peter Campbell on the design of Penguin books in the London Review of Books. This is on the occasion of a forthcoming exhibition at the V&A [V&A press release in Word]. Market forces made the covers both livelier and...read full entry...
  • The user interface that isn'tMay 15, 2005 – Increasingly we need to think about library services in the context of the full web of user experience. This is easy to say, but it is rather more difficult to tease out what it means. One way to think about it is to think about some of the characteristics of...read full entry...
  • The prisoner and the catalogMay 15, 2005 – From an interview with Edward Tufte:Probably the only generalization about the Internet is that there is none, which is to say that users can have nearly any experience they desire. Internet users are not prisoners - they are responsible for their experience since they can generate nearly any experience they...read full entry...
  • Rich browsingMay 11, 2005 –  Eric Hellman has an interesting post in the current discussion on Web4lib about relative approaches to search by libraries and Amazoogle. He suggests that libraries should focus on browse, and leave search to those that specialize in it: I think that libraries should consider returning to their historic roots...read full entry...
  • Mental models of searchMay 09, 2005 – The usually interesting Jackob Nielsen's current alertbox is about mental models of search:Search is such a prominent part of the Web user experience that users have developed a firm mental model for how it's supposed to work. Users expect search to have three components: A box where they can type...read full entry...
  • Amazon: making data workMay 07, 2005 – I spent a little while just now looking at Amazon's Statistically Improbable Phrases (distinctive patterns of words in a book). And at their other data mining features. I tried some books with which I am familiar. First The Rise of the Network Society by Manuel Castells. Here is the Amazon...read full entry...
  • Landscape and brandscapeApril 28, 2005 – Information landscape was a term used in various conversations some time ago to refer to the idea of a set of resources organized around user interests rather than around the characteristics of supply. For example, an information landscape might be a personalized selection of information resources delivered within a metasearch...read full entry...
  • The University of Sunderland's web presenceApril 27, 2005 – The home page of the University of Sunderland made an immediate impact on me. Part of the text says that it is a 'dynamic modern university'. The immediate web impact is in line with that message. If that is what they wanted to convey, they succeeded - with this reader...read full entry...
  • Library websites againMarch 04, 2005 – The more I look at library websites, the more they do indeed seem to wrap a thin layer around a jumble of things which have not been designed for the web. Indeed, the individual pieces have not really been designed as a whole. Consider the not uncommon situation where a...read full entry...
  • Works 4 you?February 17, 2005 – Dorothea left a comment which wondered how one would present FRBRized results to the user. We have been working on this internally. This screenshot shows an approach. Now, please note that this is an internal prototype at the moment. We are working on how to roll some of this into...read full entry...
  • Usability of websites for teenagersJanuary 31, 2005 – A very topical Alertbox from the usually interesting Jakob Nielsen. This short piece looks at findings from recent work they have done with teen web users, and notes some characteristics. I noted that "... the sites that our teen users rated the highest for subjective satisfaction were sites with a...read full entry...
  • Find other editions in Open WorldCatJanuary 29, 2005 – We recently added a button on the Open WorldCat rendezvous page to find other 'editions' of the found item. This is an interim approach to implementing the FRBR model which clusters versions of a work. It helps find, for example, translations of a particular item. See Reading in the dark...read full entry...
  • Yellow pages on AmazonJanuary 27, 2005 – A9 has an impressive new service. It gives you a Yellow Pages search, plus on-map-locator, plus the ability to place a call with found businesses, plus (in ten cities) 'walkable' pictures of the streetscapes in which the business sits. It allows you to find and ring libraries for example, and...read full entry...
  • The FireFox user experienceJanuary 23, 2005 – Blake Ross has a blog. He talks about design decisions with FireFox:This policy emerged from our basic belief that, for the 99% of the world who don't shop at Bang & Olufsen, a technology should be nothing more than a means to an end. Software is no different. In this...read full entry...
  • Accessibility and e-learningJanuary 22, 2005 – From the UKOLN web site:Accessibility Debate - A lively debate on Web accessibility has begun following the publication of an automated accessibility analysis of the Web sites of various UK disability bodies. The initial debate focuses on the merits of automated versus manual accessibility checks. UKOLN, together with its fellow...read full entry...
  • Writing for the futureJanuary 17, 2005 – Jakob Neilsen's latest Alertbox looks at the applicability of user guidelines over time. He argues that they are pretty durable and looks back to 1986 guidelines to make his point. The following was an interesting comment:However seductive the present might be, writing for the Web is writing for the ages,...read full entry...
  • Eat your spinach, it's good for you ... January 16, 2005 – I had expected to see more discussion of Stanley Wilder's article on information literacy in the Chronicle recently. A sample:Librarians should not assume that college students welcome their help in doing research online. The typical freshman assumes that she is already an expert user of the Internet, and her daily...read full entry...
  • Making data work harderJanuary 08, 2005 – As more activities move into a network space so more areas of our life are shedding data. This data is increasingly being mined for intelligence which drives services. And with data, quantity, as they say, has a quality all of its own. A major attribute of both Google and Amazon...read full entry...
  • The sole focus of a user's attentionJanuary 03, 2005 – I have argued over the years that we should not treat each system as if it were the sole focus of a user's attention. This leads to design for the creator rather than design for the user, as designers imagine that users have the leisure and interest to explore the...read full entry...
  • Powerpoint points: access, preservation and identityDecember 29, 2004 – People have different styles with powerpoint presentations. Mine tend to be developed close to presentation and to be somewhat elliptical: points to keep me on course. Others are more carefully plotted narratives. Nevertheless, I find that quickly looking through a conference or workshop program of presentations can give quite a...read full entry...
  • U Winnipeg websiteDecember 23, 2004 – The University of Winnipeg Library and Information Services website is one of the most engaging I have seen for a while. Others might learn from it. The colors, layout and logo are bright and fresh. The central panel displays library news; a flow of news means it is not static.It...read full entry...
  • Multiple intersections with behavior and lifestyleDecember 20, 2004 – I ran across several apparently unrelated things recently: The Wall St Journal reports that Ray Charles' Genius loves company was strongly assisted to a No 2 chart spot by sales in Starbuck's (September 9, 2004; Page B3). In fact Starbuck's accounted for 30% of its sales. The story quoted a...read full entry...
  • Desktop frameworksDecember 19, 2004 – Writing about intrastructure below, I suggested that a large gap in our current environment was for integrating desktop frameworks. Bill Olivier has an overview presentation [ppt] about component-based development in e-learning where he talks about this need. He identifies the following starting points: NetBeans/eclipse/JSR 198, Mozilla, Chandler, and Lionshare....read full entry...
  • The library websiteNovember 17, 2004 – There is an interesting digest of Libqual results in the current ARL Bimonthly Report. What particularly caught my eye was the discussion of the library website:Yet according to LibQUAL+TM data, many library patrons, particularly undergraduates are not taking full advantage of the information available from library Web sites. While about...read full entry...
  • MapsNovember 03, 2004 – One thing that has come out of the election is a variety of interactive maps. Tim Bray drew attention to Andrew Tanenbaum's. I found the BBC's quite useful this morning for catching up on results around the country....read full entry...
  • Westerville webOctober 27, 2004 – I like Westerville Library's web presence. It thinks about itself in terms of user interests, rather than library offerings. It incorporates news headlines. It gives you access to the catalog directly from a search box on the home page (all libraries should do this), has some materials from the interesting...read full entry...
  • Watch that pageOctober 10, 2004 – A colleague recommended this service. I have not used it. WatchThatPage is a service that enables you to automatically collect new information from your favorite pages on the Internet. You select which pages to monitor, and WatchThatPage will find which pages have changed, and collect all the new content for...read full entry...
  • Mastery and user interfaceSeptember 11, 2004 – Jakob Nielsen on different user interface experiences. He classifies the experiences as involving mastery, mystery, or misery! The original ideology of hypertext and the World Wide Web, as expressed by Vannevar Bush (1945), Ted Nelson (1960), and Tim Berners-Lee (1991) makes individual users the masters of the content and lets...read full entry...
  • Olympic iconsAugust 28, 2004 – Like many others, I have been intermittently watching the Olympics. The Munich Olympics were the first I really registered. I find that the 'event icons' used there are very closely bound up with my experience of the games: many were so eonomically suggestive of the sport they represented that they...read full entry...
  • Reading RSSAugust 24, 2004 – Steve Gillmor makes an interesting observation about the uptake of RSS. I wonder what proportion of readers of popular blogs consume them via RSS and how many actually visit the website. This phenomenon coupled with the emergence of the search engine as the user's preferred entry point further distances people...read full entry...
  • TrendwatchingAugust 21, 2004 – Via Neil Beagrie I came across TRENDWATCHING.COM: global source for hot consumer trends and related new business ideas in 2004. There is some arresting phrase-making amid the neologistic and rhetorical excess. A few interesting trends for libraries to note:Generation C: "The GENERATION C phenomenon captures the tsunami of consumer generated...read full entry...
  • Search and visitAugust 19, 2004 – Jakob Neilsen:Increasingly, the Internet user experience is becoming one of dipping a toe into websites rather than truly "visiting" them. Using search engines as their Web interface, people simply grab query-related nuggets from sites, but don't engage with the sites themselves. [When Search Engines Become Answer Engines (Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox)]The...read full entry...
  • Adam Bosworth on keeping it simpleAugust 08, 2004 – Adam Bosworth discusses how the user focus changes in moving from BEA to Google, and how this influences thinking about how to build services. it is interesting to me how this focus around simplicity in the services world could carry through even to the plumbing people use. For example take...read full entry...
  • PersonalizationJuly 26, 2004 – The Personalisation in presentation services homepage provides access to a report recently completed on behalf of JISC. It makes an interesting distinction between customization where a user can configure a system themselves and adaptive personalization, where system interaction is based on knowledge about users gained from "tracking user activity and/or...read full entry...
  • IE team blogJuly 23, 2004 – The Microsoft Internet Explorer Weblog is at IEBlog. Not much there yet.Our goal in this blog is to be a good place, direct from the source, for information about IE. What are we working on? How do we make decisions? Why does some part of IE work the way it...read full entry...
  • YakpacMarch 31, 2004 – Yakpak is a children't user interface for OPAC data. It sits on top of a Z39.50 client. Produced by IndexData it is worth a look. It will be launched at ALA in Orlando....read full entry...
  • Bielefeld proceedingsMarch 10, 2004 – The 7th International Bielefeld Conference: Proceedings have just been announced. Jay highlights the work of OR in his presentation. Roswitha Poll has an overview of a survey of users with some interesting results; the powerpoint gets in the way a little on this one. I thought that Hans Geleijnse's concluding...read full entry...
  • AlertboxDecember 22, 2003 – I typically find myself nodding in agreement when reading Jakob Nielsen's alertbox. Of course, others may have a different response! Here are his top ten web design mistakes of 2003. Sites are getting better at using minimalist design, maintaining archives, and offering comprehensive services. However, these advances entail their own...read full entry...
  • Web design and usability guidelinesNovember 02, 2003 – A resource from the National Cancer Institute:Research-Based Web Design & Usability Guidelines The "Strength of the Evidence" scale provides designers and developers with an indication of how seriously they should consider each guideline. A five-point scale is used to denote the "strength of the evidence" related to each guideline. The...read full entry...
  • Why aren't user interfaces more like cars ..October 29, 2003 –  Now what about user interface design? Every software application I own has a bespoke interface. No doubt this has a lot to do with differentiating oneself in tough markets, and I do like variety and novelty, but come on. These apps are needlessly different. Mozilla mail is nothing like...read full entry...
  • Mitch Kapor's ChandlerOctober 26, 2003 – When Ken Klingenstein was here he spoke a bit about Chandler from the Open Source Applications Foundation. A 'marketing' article in MIT's Technology Review:Mitch Kapor's new, more intuitive computer interface puts all the information we need to manage our digital lives at our fingertips, no matter what form it�s in....read full entry...
  • User studiesOctober 20, 2003 – Brenda Dervin has an article on user studies in the most recent issue of Information Research. Brenda is working with OR on the IMLS grant. In addition, a recent extensive review of the literatures in library and information science, human computer research, and communication as it relates to information seeking...read full entry...