Category Archives: General

“First Rule of Usability? Don’t Listen to Users”

A 15-year-old interesting brief column from noted usability expert Jakob Nielsen, which I saw posted today on reddit:  First Rule of Usability? Don’t Listen to Users Summary: To design the best UX, pay attention to what users do, not what … Continue reading

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Yahoo YBoss spell suggest API significantly increases pricing

For a year or two, we’ve been using the Yahoo/YBoss/YDN Spelling Service API to provide spell suggestions for queries in our homegrown discovery layer. (Which provides UI to search the catalog via Blacklight/Solr, as well as an article search powered … Continue reading

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On approaches to Bridging the Gap in access to licensed resources

A previous post I made reviewing the Ithaka report “Streamlining access to Scholarly Resources” got a lot of attention. Thanks! The primary issue I’m interested in there: Getting our patrons from a paywalled scholarly citation on the open unauthenticated web, to an … Continue reading

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Of ISBN reliability, and the importance of metadata

I write a lot of software that tries to match bibliographic records from one system to another, to try and identify availability of a desired item in various systems. For instance, if I’m in Google Scholar, I might click on … Continue reading

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unicode normalization in ruby 2.2

Ruby 2.2 finally introduces a #unicode_normalize method on strings. Defaults to :nfc, but you can also normalize to other unicode normalization forms such as :nfd, :nfkc, and :nfkd. some_string.unicode_normalize(:nfc) Unicode normalization is something you often have to do when dealing … Continue reading

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simple config for faster travis ruby builds

There are a few simple things you can configure in your .travis.yml to make your travis builds faster for ruby builds. They are oddly under-documented by travis in my opinion, so I’m noting them there. NOKOGIRI_USE_SYSTEM_LIBRARIES=true Odds are your ruby/rails app uses … Continue reading

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subscription libraries, back to the future

Maybe you thought libraries were “the netflix for books”, but in this Wired article, The ‘Netflix for Books’ Just Invaded Amazon’s Turf, it’s not libraries they’re talking about, and it’s not just Amazon’s turf they’re invading. Although they’re talking about the … Continue reading

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“Streamlining access to Scholarly Resources”

A new Ithaka report, Meeting Researchers Where They Start: Streamlining Access to Scholarly Resources [thanks to Robin Sinn for the pointer], makes some observations about researcher behavior that many of us probably know, but that most of our organizations haven’t succesfully responded … Continue reading

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Preservation in a war zone

On the cover of today’s NYTimes (print washington edition) Race in Iraq and Syria to Record and Shield Art Falling to ISIS By ANNE BARNARD MARCH 8, 2015 BAGHDAD — In those areas of Iraq and Syria controlled by the … Continue reading

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Factors to prioritize (IT?) projects in an academic library

Most important: Impact vs. Cost Impact is how many (what portion) of your patrons will be effected; and how profound the benefit may be to their research, teaching, learning. Cost may include hardware or software costs, but for most projects we … Continue reading

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