Just do stuff… wisdom from Amy

One of my library school friends, Amy, posted on her meteoric success in the library world.

Her secret? Ask! Do stuff!

From my side of things, I was interested in Linux, so I just started installing it on my school laptop.

I screwed up my bootloader a few times, succeeded in crashing my router, hacked a Xbox, fried a few hard drives, installed Apache, a CMS and Koha on my laptop and did some blogging.

I just did stuff… and it was the side projects I did while I was in library school that got me the position I’m in right now.

So, let me echo Amy’s advice. Just do stuff. Ask about conferences. Install Linux. Do an independent study. Talk to experts. Be on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and participate in the communities there. Answer questions.

Build a network.


A response from Springshare re: Libguides + Facebook

I got a comment on my blog from Marc at Springshare regarding my approach to embedding LibGuides boxes within an iFrame in a Facebook page. He provides an excellent background to why Springshare has had difficulties with their Facebook applications. It also gives hints about what we can look forward to on the Facebook/Libguides front.

The comment is worth reading on its own, but I’d like to highlight a philosophical element.

Springshare has designed LibGuides to make the content portable. If I want to, I can dump an XML export of all the work I and the other staff at CNA-Q have done and import it into another CMS with a minimum of effort. I can also duplicate any box or page within LibGuides or outside LibGuides through the API interface.

This open approach gives librarians like myself (who love to fiddle with things) incredible opportunities to create things beyond what Springshare is thinking about. We can mashup the content we’ve created in Springshare and insert it into almost any system that supports web standards.

In our (currently) unreleased library website, based on LibGuides, I’ve had an opportunity to play around with the CSS selectors and other advanced tools that LibGuides provides. Springshare’s conscious decision to leave some of these options open to advanced users massively increases the usefulness of their product.

In short, Springshare doesn’t stop us from getting content out, and helps us modify the content in our LibGuides system.

That’s an awesome philosophy for a company serving libraries to have.

Libguides + Facebook : A new way to do it

I have had  no luck with the regular LibGuides Facebook application.

This may be due to old code on their end, misunderstandings on my end or my insistence on using Chrome.

However, I’ve discovered an alternative to using the regular LibGuides application that allows you a significant amount of flexibility in the way you display your LibGuides content on Facebook.

Start by creating a facebook page for your library.

Once you’ve created the page, search for a ‘Static iFrame’ application. This is the application that we’ll be displaying our LibGuides content in.

I’ve had good luck with the app highlighted in the picture below.

Add the application to your Facebook page, and click on it. you should have a brief editor pane show up.

When you ‘Edit Tab Content’ you get a familiar sight, HTML!

Now, you can develop whatever you want within this framework, but I’ve chosen to use the API utility in LibGuides to display a few boxes from our public Library websites.

To get the code, open a new tab and sign in to LibGuides

  In the API Utility you get to choose what you want to show for each API call you make. I’d suggest using boxes from your system that get the most use, like Search or Browse functions, as well as a LibAnswers widget if you subscribe.

When you generate an API call, you can choose to embed the code using Javascript.

Copy this embed code, and, place it wherever you want within the HTML of the Facebook page.

[Here’s a hint, you can develop the page using any HTML editor you prefer. I set a master div width of 500px and the result was great. I then copied and pasted the HTML back into the facebook page after everything was tweaked the way I wanted it to be.]

And that’s it! Here’s the first draft of our Library Facebook page. Click to open a larger version.

Twitter and Facebook Are Bad for the Web

Scripting News: RSS and CSS and Zeldman.

Dave Winer at Scripting News made a very important comment on Zeldman’s Twitter and Facebook Kill RSS

For libraries, Twitter and Facebook should only be secondary access points to your services. Do not give up the control that your library webpage gives you, do not give up the control that your catalog and your metadata give you.

Stick with technologies that support choice. HTML, XML, RSS, MySQL and even MARC. Remain cautious about improvements that remove the freedoms you already have with your technology.