Recently in Library stuff Category
(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.
For the last few years during Banned Book Week, I've posted a link to the WorldCat List for ALA's "100 Most Frequently Challenged Books, 1990 - 2000." I'm pleased to note that there is a new list up at the ALA site, "Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000 - 2009." The WorldCat list for that new posting is now available here.
I've outputted that list using the WorldCat citation tool as an HTML file, if you'd like to copy/paste the text/links into a Web page or blog. Link to that file is below.
You may have been excited when you heard that OAIster content was being indexed on WorldCat.org. The latest news is that a new site is available that only includes OAIster and its millions of metadata records.
OAIster records will continue to be indexed in WorldCat.org, of course, and will be integrated in WorldCat.org search results along with "regular" records from thousands of libraries worldwide.
What is OAIster again?
OAIster is a union catalog of digital resources hosted at the University of Michigan since 2002. Launched with grant support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, OAIster was developed to test the feasibility of building a portal to open-archive collections using the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH). In 2009, OCLC formed a partnership with the University of Michigan in order to provide continued access to open-archive collections through the OAIster database.
What does it mean for you?
Access to 23 million records for open-archive collections, contributed by more than 1,100 organizations worldwide.