February 2011 Archives
(Alice note: Andy really wrote this--but he's away from his desk temporarily and asked me to post it.)
OK... so you don't really have to look deeply into my eyes. But if you want to help improve an information-rich website, sometimes you've got to stare into a weird piece of machinery for awhile.
We go to a number of lengths to make WorldCat.org better, easier, faster and more robust. As part of these efforts, Lead User Experience Researcher Mike Prasse, PhD, recently conducted an eye-tracking study in order to better understand how the format of search services affect how users process the results. Basically, they hook up some helpful volunteers and watch where their eyes go on the screen as they try to do various searching tasks.
Mike's results indicate that the description that accompanies the title of an entry was very important to users when looking for a book, but less so when searching for articles. In a report on his findings, he discusses how subtle differences in page layout can have a major impact on what users first look at on a results page, and for how long.
He also explores the idea of "attentional slicing," where users look for key features of an object, rather than the object itself as a possible explanation of his findings. Other results include information about facets, summaries and other elements of the two services he compared, WorldCat.org and GoogleBooks.
Interesting stuff, and a good "peek" behind the curtain of what it takes to help make WorldCat.org better.
On Sunday February 20 from 2:00 am until 4:00 am (U.S. Eastern Time), systems and storage testing will be run on WorldCat.org and a number of other related WorldCat services you might use from your library's Web site. There is a slight chance that WorldCat.org and these other services will be unavailable during some or all of this testing period. We're running the test to make sure that WorldCat.org functionality will not be affected by another planned downtime on February 27--more about that in a minute.
On Sunday, February 27 there will be a scheduled service downtime for WorldCat.org cover art from 1:00 am until at least 6:00 am and, at most, 11:00 am (U.S. Eastern Time). We need to take the cover art off-line in order to upgrade the storage systems and capacity.
Both of these events are part of ongoing upgrades that the WorldCat team undertakes in order to improve services for you. Apologies for the disruption...We are working to minimize outages in the future, and upgrades such as this one will help us provide better, more robust service going forward.
If you have any questions about this event, please ask.
On the heels of the recent EasyBib news, there comes more citation and reference management announcements: BibMe and Citavi now also include and link to WorldCat data!
BibMe has more than 1 million registered users already--and more than 25.5 million citations. BibMe uses WorldCat to fill in citation information for books--very similar to the way EasyBib uses it on their free site.
Citavi is a reference management and knowledge organization service used primarily in the German-speaking world--although there is an English version of the Web site. It helps you find, structure and document the resources you find very quickly within a single interface. WorldCat is now another online catalog that Citavi users can search in, pull citations for and make annotations to help their research and writing up process.
If you use a citation site other than BibMe, Citavi or EasyBib and you'd like it to include WorldCat data, please let us know via comments. (You can export to RefWorks, EndNote and EasyBib already from WorldCat.org.)
All in all, a good day for citations and WorldCat. Well, more importantly a good day for anyone who needs to do citations and wants help in a quick and easy way, powered by the world's libraries and librarians.