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Month: August 2008

Trying Something New

I spent a few moments today adding a new section to each of my subject research guides. Our CMS doesn’t allow for things like Meebo widgets, or any other embedded stuff like that, so I added the next best thing: a bunch of ways to reach me from within each page.

Here’s what it looks like:

(From my French & Francophone Studies Research Guide)

Frankly, I don’t know why this didn’t occur to me until today, but now that it has, I look forward to seeing if I get any increased traffic. (Of course, the other part of me is asking if I really want increased traffic… but of course, the answer is always yes.)

Point of need research assistance: the holy grail of every research services department.

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Looky Looky!

I’m pretty excited. The book that contains the chapter that my co-worker and I wrote is now really and truly published!

I can’t wait to see what the other authors wrote about, but I can tell you that Ann and I wrote about individual student consultations, how they fit into a research service alongside reference and instruction, and why we think they’re pretty amazing.


I Could…

I could start getting ready for work, or I could eat breakfast. I could do a lot of things. But I’m not. Because, you see, I’m wrapped in a blanket, and I have a sleeping cat on my lap and a thunder storm to listen to. Standing up would ruin all of those things.

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Linking to WorldCat in Reference Emails.

So here’s the thing. Like many reference librarians, I use WorldCat all the time. And like many reference librarians, I use the FirstSearch version a lot for advanced features and more seamless integration with our local collections than can offer. For instance, I love the “Advanced Options” under “More Like This” that lets me pick and choose which parts of the metadata were relevant to me and do a more advanced search on just those elements. And sure, the FirstSearch display is a little overwhelming, but part of what makes FirstSearch good for professionals is the huge amount of information displayed for each record. We’re used to the display, so it’s not a problem for us, and often I skim through all that information and learn a whole lot about an item in a very short amount of time. Besides, my eyes are trained to take in what I want from that interface and leave the rest. I know where on the page the OCLC number lives, for example, so I only look at it if I want to.

One thing it doesn’t do well, though, is let me link to a specific record. I can’t send a link to a student and say “Here, this is the journal I was telling you about.” I can do this at, though, and that’s a much better interface for students and faculty anyway. I wish there were a “link to this record” in FirstSearch, or at least a “View this record at,” but since there isn’t, here’s what I do.

  1. Do all my behind-the-scenes advanced searching in FirstSearch (when appropriate).
  2. Find what I’m looking for.
  3. Do a little happy dance in my chair.
  4. Copy the OCLC number.
  5. Open a new tab and click the bookmark I’ve names “WorldCat Link Base.” This contains the base of’s permanent URL.
  6. Paste the OCLC number onto the end of that URL and hit enter.
  7. Et Voila! Stable URL to the bibliographic record of whatever-it-is I wanted to send to somebody, complete with a friendly interface.

The trick comes when they’re off campus and don’t have pre-loaded links to our Interlibrary Loan system. I wonder if it’d be possible to go through our proxy server for that. If so, I’ll have to change my link base… Hmm…. things to ponder. And wouldn’t it be nice if I knew javascript and could make a bookmarklet that would do that to OCLC numbers for me, and maybe copy the full stable URL to my clipboard?