Visual virtual shelf browsing

The Zoomii web site seems to be getting a lot of attention at the moment, so I got wondering how easy/difficult it would be do to a virtual bookshelf in the OPAC…
It’s definitely a “crappy prototype” at the moment, and the trickiest thing turned out to be getting the iframe to jump to the middle (where, hopefully, the book you’re currently browsing is shown). Anyway, you can see it in action on our OPAC.
I suspect the whole thing would work much better in Flash and it would look really cool if it used a Mac “dock” style effect. I wonder if I can persuade Iman to conjure up some Flash? 😉

12 thoughts on “Visual virtual shelf browsing”

  1. Oh wow! This is exactly what I want in our OPAC. Can you give a bit more information on it? This is fascinating!

  2. We’ve been using Amazon Web Services to pull in cover scans and I’ve been keeping a log of which books have cover scans.
    I then built a new index from the item table, so I could get a list of bib numbers sorted in class/Dewey order. Once I combined that with the log of which bibs have covers available, it wasn’t too difficult to make a virtual bookshelf.

  3. Tell you what, it would be really interesting to have a Zoomii for our library with a nightly stitched images being generated from current on the shelf stock! 😀
    As for your prototype, its superb Dave, very functional and very usable in its current state. Id be happy to see whats possible with a little bit of flash, the javascript docks Ive looked at are a bit slow on older machines and a bit clunky, they make some images appear quite jaggy. When I did the pocket pc prototype, that was using embedded images.
    Flash Prototype
    The idea was to make it live with an RFID / Wifi enabled pocket PC. and if remember you wrote a script for me back then that gave the ISBN numbers. I think having url encoded image links would work fine with flash reading them in and loading images.
    I totally love the aspect of being able to browse a shelf. This will be very popular, Ive already shown it to a couple of people here in Art / Design and Im already hearing “wow’s”. nice one.

  4. Wow, that really is great – I certainly wouldn’t call it a “crappy prototype”. With the big emphasis on how visual today’s students are this could be a really great addition to OPACs.
    Great work!

  5. Just in case anyone isn’t familiar with the phrase (which I think Helene Blowers turned me on to), one of the rules for innovation is to “Build Crappy Prototypes Fast“…

    Perfectionism has no place in innovation. Innovation is like hoping you’ll find a gold coin at the bottom of a pile of manure – you don’t know whether it’s worth the dig until you are covered in the stuff. You quite literally want to guard against getting the prototype right. You want to get it usable, as fast as possible.

    …that’s something which really resonates with me and my programming style. I don’t try to plan anything too much — I prefer to just have a quick stab at getting it partly right, and sometimes that’s good enough.

  6. I second the “you rock”! It’s odd…the iframe seems to start out in the middle for me and then jumps to the beginning? This is in firefox 3 on windows xp…

  7. Mike — that’s a bit weird and helps illustrate the “crappy” bit in “crappy prototypes”! 😉
    There’s definitely a few oddities with the code that tries to scroll the iframe to the middle (I couldn’t believe how tricky something like that was to achieve), so I’m keen to try something like Flash to make it a bit more interactive.

  8. This is a great looking tool just screaming to be integrated into other university OPACs (i.e., at the library I work for). Any chance you’ve put the code out there somewhere for folks to play with?

  9. Ok, I’m a bit late finding this, but wow! I’m not surprised that it’s been getting so much use – easier than either doingg a subject search or walking to the shelf, and perfect for expanding your range when you don’t know the subject well.

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