Too many ideas

Up too late, and for some reason I can’t stop thinking of ideas for improving my interfaces. That I don’t have time to do, first having to get my interfaces barely decent before I can add this stuff! So blogging.

Lib X improvements ideas (some of which might already be in libx without me knowing it; haven’t had time to explore LibX as much as I’d like):

* SFX has an interface to return a very quick response indicating ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to full text present for ISSN and date. How about LibX finds any OpenURLs on a page (COinS or an actual full OpenURL to your link resolver, recognized because LibX already knows your resolver base url), and asks SFX for coverage on each one, and indicates that to the user  if full text is present or not. SFX doens’t do ISBNs, but I could build my own ISBN index (as part of umlaut).

* EZProxy.  Every single page looked at, Lib X should check the EZProxy API to see if it’s proxyable. If it is, give the user a highlighted message “Off campus and no access? Click here to proxy please.”


On every search (or appropriate searches), in a sidebar or top bar, offer the first few hits from my federated search product; and the first few hits from OCLC worldcat.  Similar to how google offers Google Books and Scholar content sometimes on an ordinary google search. APIs for both can let me show the first few hits right on the page. “Click here to see more results like this”. The heading/note for the Worldcat search needs to somehow make it clear that Worldcat can be used to find more hits in a topical type search, OR to find a known item not found in our catalog to make an ILL request. (If only I could figure out how to make reliably show my link resolver link on hits! Maybe I need to get LibX to do that too).

[Sadly, I don’t think I can show federated search results to an unauthenticated user. But I thinkI can tell if a user is already signed into our Single Sign On using shibboleth, and show it to them if they are. And offer them a login button if they are not, to see results.  If they’re on campus, I can show them results straightaway.]

On 0-hit searches give even more prominence to Worldcat for finding the known item or topics you wanted.

On a 0-hit search that was for ISBN (often forwarded by LibX etc., occasionally typed in manually), offer a link to make an ILL request for that item.  Pre-fill the ILL request with details, using Worldcat API or Bowker ISBN API to look up complete metadata for the ISBN given. Maybe better show this metadata to the user with the ILL button, before they’ve clicked on it, to confirm this is what they wanted.  This may be applicable to other types of searches that are 0-hit, where there is reason to think it was a known item search, and enough clues in the search terms to try and identify the item.

Naturally, a 0 hit search on ISBN (or other known item for which an isbn or other identifier can be found) should use xISBN/thingISBN to offer alternate versions that may be in our catalog too.

Man, we could make this stuff work so much better for users, using pretty simple stuff, no serious R&D needed, just some time spent doing it.


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