Tech Sharecase, 30 June 2011

Stephen Francoeur, Ellen Kaufman, Louise Klusek, Rita Ormsby, Mike Waldman

Today’s Topic
Attendees were asked to come to today’s meeting with something related to search (a new search engine, a new search feature or interface, an article or blog post about search, etc.)

Guide to Searching
We looked at a video tutorial and companion website from the library at the University of Massey (NZ) that walked users through the basics of search. We liked the website’s screenshot and the way the video had a table of contents that let you jump head to a specific section.

The library at the New York Law School has a search tool called DRAGNET that lets you find laws and other legal materials on various free legal databases. It was built using Google Custom Search. More details about how the service was put together can be found on this ACRL page. We wondered what it would be like to do something like this ourselves that searched a collection of open business-related databases on the web. We also talked about the plans for the website, which are underway and will assemble a free resource of the nation’s laws.

One Search Boxes on Library Websites
Following up the discussion of search tools built with Google Custom Search, we looked at a Jamun, project being developed by the Leddy Library at the University of Windsor by Art Rhyno and Mita Williams. This tool will offer users a single box that searches across a number of different key resources. We also looked at the single search box (QuickSearch) that the library site at North Carolina State University features. We tried a bunch of different searches to see what comes up (notes of our searches didn’t get recorded, but you can try this one for “market share honda” as a useful example).

A Model for Teaching Search
We talked about librarian Iris Jastram’s model for teaching search, which she calls “exploding an article” and outlines in this blog post at Pegasus Librarian. In the classroom, students are introduced to the concept of being able to take one scholarly article that is relevant to them and use it to move in different directions to find others like it:

  • using Web of Science, you can move forward in time by looking for articles that have cited the one in hand
  • using the bibliography in the article, you can move back in time by tracking down the sources that the author used
  • using key terms in the article or in the descriptors for that article in a database, you can move to the sides to find articles that are about the same things

LibX Toolbar
We looked at a draft of a Newman Library toolbar that was built using the free LibX service. The toolbar features a search box for the library catalog, for the e-journals lookup tool, and for Bearcat. It also turns ISBNs, ISSNs, and DOIs into clickable links that will run lookups in relevant search tools from the library. Finally, it places an icon on the pages describing books in Amazon and other online booksellers; when the icon is clicked, the toolbar runs a search for that item in our catalog. This toolbar for our library is still being finished up and will be available soon.

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