Libx: Connecting Users and Libraries

Annette Bailey – Virginia Tech

The room was over-filled showing that a lot of people are interested in the project.

In 2005 the working group thought they’d like to produce a tool that would be a virtual librarian – could they do it wihtout becoming an MS paperclip?

Annette reviewed the decision making process through which they decided on a client side solution rather than server side and the result is the Libx browser plugin.

Libx Editions provide a local, branded editions of Libx, and are created by using the edition builder on the Libx site. Annette demonstrated building an edition in a few minutes – wow.

See details about Libx and the Libx edition builder at “Libx: a Browser Plugin for Libraries”

http://libx.org/

4 thoughts on “Libx: Connecting Users and Libraries”

  1. I tried building a Libx edition for our library. It worked pretty smoothly, except that once I installed the toolbar, the links it provided from Amazon back to our OPAC defaulted to ISBN only. I didn’t immediately see a way to change this to a broader search (like author/title). An ISBN search fails to retrieve related editions of the same title (audiobook, hardback, paperback, etc.) and therefore may get zero results for the user.

    Most likely there is some fairly easy way around this if I spend some time tweaking the toolbar configuration. But how worthwhile is that? I would be interested to know if anybody actually downloads these toolbars and installs them in their browsers — particularly public library patrons.

  2. Genny, you have two ways in which to find related versions from Amazon. The quickest is to select the title, right-click, and search for it in your primary catalog.

    You can also make LibX use OCLC’s xISBN service, which allows the user to search for related editions (hardback, paperback) etc. This must be configured in the edition builder. Select “Show xISBN Options” in the Catalogs Tab.

    As for your question how worthwhile it is – as of Oct 2007, LibX was downloaded by over 12,000 end users. These are mostly in the academic community, but some are from public libraries.

    Interestingly, a large number of initial users were librarians themselves. They use the tool when performing reference services, and also when doing such technical services tasks as selection or acquisition. Given that the work invested in maintaining an edition often pays off in-house, also offering it for free to patrons comes for little added effort.

    Finally, consider your alternatives: you cannot buy real-estate space at Amazon.com, for instance. Tools like LibX give you presence right now, and more sophisticated services in the future.

Comments are closed.