October 19, 2005
At work this week, I have been immersed in working with some of OCLC’s new (relatively new) products for searching WorldCat through Internet Explorer and Firefox. The Yahoo! toolbar and the plug-ins for Firefox are really cool. You can search for material in WorldCat directly from the toolbars – and then check availability at local libraries. You can order your results by zip code, state, province or country. The software then retains the choice you made. The records link directly to local library catalogs. This seems to be a very useful tool. I hope to be able to sit down with our reference librarians to show them. I can’t wait to play around with the project to display WorldCat holdings using Google Maps. This integration has some great possibilities.
I think these are some exciting trends in the evolution of bibliographic records. There are definitely some issues. I discovered that when searching by ISBN for a title that I knew was in our library catalog, a link to our catalog wasn’t displayed in the Libraries tab. After a great deal of frustration, I discovered that there were several editions listed in the Editions tab. I had to go back to my library’s OPAC to figure out which edition we had. When I clicked on the correct edition, the link to my libraries copy in our OPAC did show up. This was very confusing. An average user probably would not have looked beyond the libraries tab. However, I think these OCLC projects have some exciting possibilities.
October 19, 2005
With the web search exercise completed, I am now back to work on my class wiki project. One of my classmates, posted information from her web assignment right after she finished working on it. A huge thanks to her for her help!!!! I think that having some examples of information will help the other students. Tonight, I sent out another email to everyone asking for their input. Here is hoping that people are willing to help!!!! I am a bit concerned about the best way to make people feel comfortable with the wiki. However, I will wait and see what the response from everyone is.
October 19, 2005
About a week and a half ago, my second assignment for class was due – a web search exercise where we had to do searches on non-unitary subjects in three search engines and one meta-search engine. Once we completed our searches we had to compare and contrast our search results. I found this to be a very difficult exercise – mostly I think because I have been using search engines for quite a while without any critical thought involved. Additionally, since I work in a library, I have access to other tools to search for material when need be. I have a tendency not to use web search engines except for topical information. I can’t say that the exercise changed my opinion much.
More importantly, now that I finally have a couple of assignments completed for my class, I am feeling much more comfortable with the online format. I was very nervous about my first two assignments – I was kind of finding it difficult to judge what the professor expected without any face-to-face contact. However, the professor emails very detailed comments about the assignments with excellent feedback. I think I may actually survive my first online class!!!