Results tagged “libraries” from WorldCat Blog

item.jpgHold the phone! (The iPhone, that is.) Now there's another mobile barcode-scanning app called Labelo.us (pronounced like 'Label Us') that now links to WorldCat.org.

Labelo.us was developed by Nearest Island to help you find "product transparency on a single, open platform. Learn and share information about products and companies."

The barcode-scanning system works on all kinds of things--soup, electronics, socks, books and more. But what we care about here are things found in libraries. And books are among the many things found in libraries...

So on Labelo.us you can find books in libraries, see reviews and other data about books and other products. It uses 'channels' to bring it other people's perspectives on items, and includes a reputation system to help filter the results.

Here's the quotation from the Co-Founder and CEO David Rea from the official announcement:

"We are pleased to connect the smart, environmentally and socially-conscious shoppers who use Labelo.us to learn about the products they buy to one of the original green living ideas, the library, Having library data from more than 10,000 libraries consolidated into one site made it easy to connect our users to their local library to find the books and materials they're interested in."

Using Labelo.us, you can scan barcodes or search for books and then connect to WorldCat.org to find the libraries who hold those items.

Labelo.us is one of several mobile applications designed for users to access library information from WorldCat. See screen shots on the WorldCat Facebook page.

bookbazaariniphone.png WorldCat staffers love their mobile phones, no doubt. And now there's one more reason to love them even more--another new iPhone app is now available that includes library data via WorldCat and the WorldCat Search and Registry APIs. Called Book Bazaar, the free app was developed by Bayview Labs in Mountain View, CA,

With Book Bazaar, you type in a title, author, keyword or ISBN to compare prices for books at online or local bookstores, and now libraries. Developer Rizwan Virk was quoted in the official announcement as saying, "Book Bazaar is made for book lovers who want to find a specific book right away. The best and easiest way to find a book is at a local library, and so we want to support local libraries as much as possible."

We like this idea! Book Bazaar is available for U.S. iPhone users at the moment, but I understand more platforms are in development. I don't know offhand--but maybe someone can test and tell me--if you have an iPod Touch or an iPad, can you also download and use Book Bazaar? Let everyone know in the comments section.

See additional photos of the different screen shots on the WorldCat Facebook page. You can download Book Bazaar in the iTunes App store.

Flavor vs. Facts

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A recent discussion with Matt Goldner, product and technology advocate here at OCLC, reminded me of my favorite quote from the wonderful movie "Big Fish."

Matt described to me a workshop he conducted where he discussed what librarians and patrons believe to be most important in information discovery:

  • Librarians are interested in the metadata because that's what they use to locate the item a patron needs. This is important when you and I are standing in front of them asking for help. Perfect metadata helps the librarians help us faster.
  • Us patrons, and Web users, are more interested in discovering what is out there because in many cases we haven't figured out exactly what to ask for. We use search engines and keywords to locate things. Then we use reviews, tags and user comments to evaluate whether the things we've found will really help us. (Which is why reviews, tags and comments are often called evaluative content.)

If we were standing in a library or in a live chat, a librarian would ask us all the right questions and suggest the resources most likely to provide what we need. Without having that librarian there to evaluate our needs and apply their expertise, we're left trying to determine quality and appropriateness on our own.

And that's where I started thinking about Big Fish. Albert Finney's character, Ed Bloom, is a salesman and a storyteller while his son, Will, is a reporter for United Press International. Albert delivers the movie's climatic phrase in a subtle moment by saying that his son can't tell a story well because he would give you "all of the facts and none of the flavor."

That strikes me as an important difference between metadata and evaluative content. Mind you, I'm not talking about the librarians. They can provide all the flavor you want. But when you remove the person--the storyteller--and it is just you and your computer, the facts just aren't enough. We need some flavor, some context to help us evaluate the information and to make it useful.

I cornered Matt the other day because I'm re-reading an old article, "Collaborative Tagging as a Knowledge Organisation and Resource Discovery Tool" (Library Review V. 55; No. 5, 2006). The authors, George Macgregor and Emma McCulloch, discuss the pros and cons of tagging and controlled vocabularies. While they clearly favor the controlled vocabularies of the library world, they allow that tagging is a means for "exploring exhaustive subject areas before formal exploration."

Tags and evaluative content provide the context, the flavor, we need to help us zero in on what we're really looking for. Nothing beats a good reference interview by a librarian, but when it is just me and my computer, evaluative content works very well. And that's why I love working on WorldCat.org. We're bringing more and more evaluative content to the site to help Web users discover some of the flavor of what libraries have to offer.

content-cover-small.jpgCory Doctorow has made the first collection of his essays, "Content: Selected Essays on Technology, Creativity, Copyright and the Future of the Future," available as a free PDF download. He is also providing (as he's done with previous books) a "matching service" to connect folks who would like to support his efforts with libraries and educators. From the page on the book release:

If you’re a teacher or librarian and you want a free copy of Content, email freecontentbook@gmail.com with your name and the name and address of your school. It’ll be posted below by my fantastic helper, Olga Nunes, so that potential donors can see it.

If you enjoyed the electronic edition of Content and you want to donate something to say thanks, check below to find a teacher or librarian you want to support. Then go to Amazon, BN.com, or your favorite electronic bookseller and order a copy to the classroom, then email a copy of the receipt (feel free to delete your address and other personal info first!) to freecontentbook@gmail.com so that Olga can mark that copy as sent. If you don’t want to be publicly acknowledged for your generosity, let us know and we’ll keep you anonymous, otherwise we’ll thank you on the donate page.

Very cool idea. Once I've read the book (I've read some of the essays already over the years, and assume the rest will be as good), I'll get a review up on WorldCat.org and let y'all know.

Links:


A couple days ago USA Today published an article about how libraries are adapting to the Internet. The article focused mostly on the availability of computers. A number of patrons were interviewed. One had this to say:

"You should be able to walk into any library and find Internet service ...."

That statement made me cringe a little, but I didn't really know why until later when a co-worker (and co-blogger) referenced Wired magazine's monthly "Expired, Tired and Wired" feature. Then it hit me.

TIRED: Finding Internet service in a library.
WIRED: Finding a library in the Internet

Any suggestion on what has "Expired?"

Thanks to Resource Shelf for pointing out the article.

Hey hey, we are so proud. WorldCat.org made the New York Times and International Herald Tribune today!
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Hooray for libraries making the news. If we all share the story with someone we know, maybe we'll make the "top e-mailed stories" list!

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