New OCLC products

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.


The wiki project continues . . .

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.


More on class

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!!!


Favorite Library Blogs

October 6, 2005

In response to a classmate’s email, I am posting a list of my favorite library blogs.

There are a bunch of MLS student bloggers that are really informative. Joy Weese Moll has a listing of blogs by current students and recent graduates on her site Wanderings of a student librarian. Some technology centered blogs – LITA Blog, the Shifted Librarian, TechnoBiblio, LibraryTechnology NOW, LibrarianinBlack.net, and Information Wants to Be Free. Other blogs I read regularly are the Creative Librarian, the Convivial Librarian, Librarian on the edge, Walt at Random, Phil Bradley’s Blog, Peter Scott’s Library Blog, Mike’s Musings, and the Kept-up Academic Librarian.

Karen G. Schnieder has a blog with a listing of library blogs that is worth wading through for ones that may peak your interest. This is where I found most of the blogs that I currently have in my aggregator (and right now I have about 90).


Completed first assignment for class

October 2, 2005

YEAH!! I finished my first paper for my class this morning. It was a bibliographic essay on managing technology in libraries. Given that this is a distance education class, I worked with a woman from Hawaii on the paper. That was a different experience – and I think we were both a bit apprehensive about how it would work. Fortunately, I think that we worked well together – and we each left ourselves enough time that the time difference was not a problem. I’m not entirely sure that our paper blends too well. We both picked two sub topics about managing library technology, wrote our own pieces and then meshed them together. I’m not sure if the paper seemed a bit choppy to me because I was more familiar with half of it – or if it really was. I guess I will have to wait for the grade to get a sense of that.

However, all in all, I am happy with my first effort. I enjoyed the experience of collaborating with someone online and learned quite a bit in the process. Now, I need to focus all of my attention on our web search exercise that is due next weekend.