A deep breath before the plunge…

Over the last 15 months I’ve been giving occasional presentations & workshops about “2.0” and some of the things we’ve done with our OPAC, but the next five weeks are going to be hectic with 6 presentations:

  • 02/Nov/2007 – “Transformative Technologies: Web 2.0 in the library environment”, Glasgow (CILIP Scotland)
  • 06/Nov/2007 – “Insight 2007: Inspiration for Change”, Birmingham (Talis)
  • 08/Nov/2007 – “Off the Shelves: From the Quill to the Chip”, Waterford, Ireland (Library Association of Ireland)
  • 21/Nov/2007 – “Is library 2.0 a trivial pursuit?”, London (JIBS)
  • 23/Nov/2007 – CILIP Yorkshire & Humberside Members’ Day, York (CILIP)
  • 06/Nov/2007 – Online Information 2007, London

At most of the events, I’m going to be talking about the OPAC and the core content of the presentations will be the same.
I’m really looking forward to all of the events although, being someone who likes his creature comforts, it’s going to be a wrench to be away from Bryony and Joe for so much of the month.
If you’re planning to be at any of the events, be sure to say to “hello” — if I can hand out all of my moo cards, then I’ve got an excuse to order some new ones!
With all the travelling involved, I should have plenty of time to plan exactly how HIPpie will work and get some of the coding done. Speaking of which, many thanks to everyone who’s been in touch and expressed in interest — as soon as there’s something to test, I’ll let you all know!

(Hopefully) coming soon — HIPpie

In the last couple of months, I’ve had several email exchanges with Dynix & Horizon libraries who were interested in using some of the “2.0” features that I’ve added to our OPAC at Huddersfield, but the technical challenges (setting up an extra web server, MySQL database, etc) would have been too much.
I’ve been thinking for a while that some of the features could be done if someone else (e.g. me) were to handle the techie stuff. All the library would need to do would be to add a few lines of JavaScript to the relevant XSL stylesheets…
HIPpie was the best name that I could think of in the bath last night, and (unless the SirsiDynix lawyers come down on me like a tonne of bricks) it stands for HIP patron interface enhancements (HIP being the product name of the Dynix and Horizon OPAC).
It’s still mostly vapourware (i.e. I haven’t finished writing the code yet), but if you’re running HIP version 2 or version 3 and you fancy adding any of the following to your OPAC, then please get in touch (email d.c.pattern [at] hud.ac.uk):

  • RSS feeds for keyword searches
  • “did you mean” spelling suggestions
  • email alerts for keyword searches
  • user reviews
  • user ratings

I’ve deliberately picked features that I don’t think are being offered via other channels (e.g. LibraryThing for Libraries or Jim Taylor).
Unfortunately HIP version 4 was never released in the UK, so I’m not sure how easy it would be to add the features to that version, but if there’s someone out there who’s familiar with the stylesheets and is willing to experiment…?
HIP is the only OPAC I’m intimately familiar with, but if other people can figure out ways of making the features work with other products, then that’d be cool.
HIPpie will be offered for free and will hopefully stay that way, unless it becomes incredibly popular.
Like I say, it ain’t ready yet, but please get in touch if you’re interested in testing it once it’s ready!

Sue the libraries!

Nice to see libraries get a mention in this week’s IT section in The Guardian:
Sue the libraries – they’re letting people get content on the cheap

[Libraries] are the institutions which have the longest experience of making copyright goods available fairly to people who have not paid directly for them; and in all the time libraries have been around, no one has come up with a better model.

But the real value of libraries comes when they deal with large, expensive and valuable digital stores of information … To any individual subscriber the cost of all these would run into thousands of pounds a year, yet this reliable information is available free, without any of it being stolen.

Reminds me of this Tom the Dancing Bug cartoon (click for a larger version):

Inspiring the iGeneration, Wolverhampton

I seem to be following Brian Kelly around at the moment — having managed to pick up his cold at ILI on Monday, I gave a presentation after him at the “Inspiring the iGeneration” event in Wolverhampton yesterday.
My presentation (which was a hotch-potch of survey stats, recent news items, and examples) is available on Slideshare. There’s also some photographs on Flickr, including…
igen_012 igen_007 igen_009

Woohoo – my brother is in Wikipedia!

Not sure if he knows it, but I’ve just spotted that my older brother Simon gets a mention on the Pennine Radio Wikipedia page. Sadly he doesn’t appear in this video…
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYX3BUBkzAU]
…I can’t believe their original jingle was “Pennine 235, that’s the sound goin’ into your ‘ear’oles”!

The Happy Endings Foundation

Both the Daily Mail and The Guardian appear to have suckered by a website that claims “Children’s books that don’t have happy endings should be banned” and that a mass “bad book” burning is planned for later this month:
If they’d bothered to check who’d registered the domain, they’d have soon spotted that the site is run by a marketing company (ArtScience) who have created a number of web sites for “A Series of Unfortunate Events”. Just in case you were thinking about doing it, don’t bother looking at the ArtScience web site — it’s a painful example of just how bad Flash splash web sites can be!