CIL 2010: The Power in Your Browser – LibX & Zotero

Speaker: Krista Godfrey

She isn’t going to show how to create LibX or Zotero access, but rather how to use them to create life-long learners. Rather than teaching students how to use proprietary tools like Refworks, teaching them tools they can use after graduation will help support their continued research needs.

LibX works in IE and Firefox. They are working on a Chrome version as well. It fits into the search and discovery modules in the research cycle. The toolbar connects to the library catalog and other tools, and right-click menu search options are available on any webpage.  It will also embed icons in places like Amazon that will link to catalog searches, and any page with a document identifier (DOI, ISSN) will now present that identifier as a link to the catalog search.

Zotero is only in Firefox, unfortunately. It’s a records management tool that allows you to collect, manage, cite, and share, which fill in the rest of the modules in the research cycle. It will collect anything, archive anything, and store any attached documents. You can add notes, tags, and enhance the metadata. The citation process works in Word, Open Office, and Google Docs, with a program similar to Write-N-Cite that can be done by dragging and dropping the citation where you want it to go.

One of the down-sides to Zotero when it first came out was that it lived only in one browser on one machine, but the new version comes with server space that you can sync your data to, which allows you to access your data on other browsers/machines. You can create groups and share documents within them, which would be great for a class project.

Why aren’t we teaching Zotero/LibX more? Well, partially because we’ve spent money on other stuff, and we tend to push those more. Also, we might be worried that if we give our users tools to access our content without going through our doors, they may never come back. But, it’s about creating life-long learners, and they won’t be coming through our doors when they graduate. So, we need to teach them tools like these.

thing 13:

When social bookmarking sites came on the scene, I was very resistant to using them. I had an organized system of bookmarking sites I visited regularly or sites that I needed to reference occasionally, and the format for displaying bookmarked URLs seemed cluttered and unorganized to me.

Fast-forward about five years, and we are now in a world where tagging and folksonomy are no longer scary new concepts (well, to those of us who have been reading, writing, and talking about them in the mean time). Tagging is now almost a requirement for a Web 2.0 service, and I use it frequently to keep track of things I want to go back to later, or to categorize what I am looking at.

About a year ago, I started using the extension for Firefox. At first, it was just a long list of the tags I used and had to be manually updated. Now it’s fully integrated with automatic syncing and the very useful search box (from the sidebar). It has nearly replaced the bookmark tool native to Firefox as my primary source of collected URLs that I find important to me. The best part is that I can access my bookmarks no matter which computer I am using, and this has come in handy on many occasions.

As I noted, I still use the bookmarking options within Firefox and do not send these things to my bookmarks, either. Mainly these are the sites I visit frequently, and I have them in my Bookmarks Toolbar folder so they’re just one click away. I have another folder of links to the tools that we use for on-call reference (Meebo, Ref Desk webmail, and LibStats), and I can tell Firefox to open all of the bookmarks in that folder with one click when my on-call shift begins.

One thing I’ve started doing with is creating sets of links that I can share with other people. I was inspired by a Computers in Libraries presentation on using for creating on-the-fly lists of resources for individuals and classes. If you’re interested, you can check out the list of podcasts I’m currently subscribed to.

Since I haven’t jumped on the Wordle bandwagon yet, and since it was a bonus activity for this thing, here’s the Wordle cloud for my tags:

wordle cloud of my tags

thing 9: finding RSS feeds

Part of why I have so many RSS feeds in my reader (234 at the moment — picked up three more this week) is because it is so easy to subscribe to things I run across in my day-to-day online activity. I’m currently using the Better GReader plugin for Firefox, which compiles some of the best Greasemonkey scripts for Google Reader. One thing I really like about it is the “Auto Add to Reader (Bypass iGoogle Choice)” feature, which saves me a few clicks.

This particular assignment asks us to make use of directories like Technorati and Feedster to locate feeds we want to subscribe to. I’m going to not do that, since I already have more to read than I have time to read. In any case, those tools have not been particularly useful to me in the past. I tend to find new feeds through links from the ones I’m currently reading.

CiL 2008: Widgets, Tools, & Doodads for Library Webmasters

Speakers: Darlene Fitcher & Frank Cervone


  • SafeCache – prevents applications from accessing your browser cache
  • SafeHistory -prevents applications from viewing browser history
  • FoxMarks – automatically synchronizes bookmarks
  • Firefox Environment Backup Extension – synchronize between computers, including other preference settings

Other web tools for collaboration:

  • Meebo Chat Widget – IM chat for reference; good on the null search page of a OPAC and everywhere else
  • LinkBunch –  put multiple links into one small link
  • DocSyncer – sync docs on local machine to Google Docs (this means everything)
  • twhirl – microblogging or keeping tabs on what colleagues are doing
  • polldaddy – put a poll on your website
  • VisCheck – check the colors on your website for various color blindness compatibilities
  • Feng GUI – alternate to eye-tracking
  • Browsershots – creates screenshots in different browsers
  • Flickr Photo badge – photos from your library’s photo stream
  • Photoshop Express – free online photo editor
  • AddThis – button that allows users to bookmark or share pages; also provides stats on use
  • Google Countdown – widget for announcing events
  • Altavista Bablefish site translator – translate your pages on the fly
  • ProcessTamer – keep tabs on processes that bog down your computer
  • File Hamster – keep track of versions of files w/out having to use MS
  • Syncback Freeware – backup files, scheduler for automating, synchronization, machine to machine via ftp
  • LinkExtractor
  • reCaptcha – “stop spam. read books.” using captcha to clean up OCR scanning
  • Anonymouse – check if resources are secure outside of IP range or for privacy
  • Prism – use web applications as a local client



  • LOLinator

[will add missing URLs later when I have more reliable connection]

search your opac with firefox

Attention systems administrators for libraries that use III’s Millenium or INNOPAC! If you haven’t heard about it already, there is a way to create a Firefox/Mozilla plugin that will make your catalog an option within the browser’s search box. Corey Seeman has the instructions posted on his website, as well as a slideshow-turned PDF graphical overview.

upgrade to 3.15 complete

The upgrade from MT 2.661 to MT 3.15 was fairly painless.

The upgrade from MT 2.661 to MT 3.15 was fairly painless. The only problem I’ve run into is with my main index template. I tried to clean up the code and put in the MT 3.5 stuff, but the result is not playing nice-nice with my style sheet. Any suggestions?

I must say, it sure is nice to have the style editing buttons available in Firefox!

openurl, firefox, and google scholar

Peter Brinkley of the University of Alberta Libraries has developed a Firefox extension that adds an OpenURL button to Google Scholar search results.[web4lib]

“The purpose is to enable users at an institution that has an OpenURL link-resolver to use that resolver to locate the full text of articles found in Google Scholar, instead of relying on the links to publishers’ websites provided by Google. This is important because it solves the “appropriate copy problem”: the link to a publisher’s site is useless if you don’t have a subscription that lets you into that site, and your library may provide access to the same article in an aggregator’s package or elsewhere.”

From all appearances, this is a fantastic tool that embraces Google while still providing even more of that useful service that librarians do. If you have an OpenURL link resolver that you are able to tweak like SFX, go for it! (Next step, educate your users about Firefox….)

Update: One of the library coding gods, Art Rhyno, has developed a bookmarklet that prepends your library’s proxy server URL string to the links in the Google Scholar results. That’s another work-around if you don’t have an OpenURL link resolver. If it’s something your library gets, then you’ll get passed through authenticated to the full-text content. If not, then you can obtain access or the content some other way.

One snag I seen in all of this is that depending on how your proxy server is set up, this may not work. Some libraries *cough*UofKY*cough* use a proxy server that requires the user to make modifications to their web browser before authenticating them. I’m not sure whether or not this would cause confusion for the users who haven’t done that modification.


Snappy new term for RSS aggregators.

Karen asks, “How long before major browsers integrate aggregators? (And when are we going to find better names for these tools?)”

1. I wondered if Mozilla might be developing something like this, so I took a look at their website. Turns out that someone has created an RSS reader plugin for Firebird. There are also Aggreg8 and NewsMonster for both Firebird and Mozilla. It looks like there are several other plugins being developed, as well.

2. I offer the term feeders. It’s short, snappy, and to the point. Of course, it will only work if other people use it. If you like the term, I suggest you start referring to your RSS aggregator as a feeder.