i <3 making webpages

Sometimes I get infatuated with certain webpages I’ve thrown together so I’m going to post about this one. I knew when I saw the WordPress theme Fluid Blue on The Liminal Librarian that I absolutely had to use it for the NPPL site. It is widget friendly and I like the way it looks.

With a bit more time to concentrate on the digitalness of the library I changed our main Books & Movies page to what you see below. Here you see RSS feeds coming from our catalog displayed through Feed2JS. I still think Feed2JS action is really cool even though it doesn’t feel particularly cutting edge to me any more.

North Plains Public Library » Books & Movies

Unfortunately, there’s no RSS feed available for just new items from the NPPL. The list is for the entire cooperative. Boo. Ideally I’d like a list just for our items and the ability to make some customizations of that too. If I could have a feed of just our YS items, I bet I could get the local elementary school to display it somewhere on their site.

In a gChat the other day Michael K. Pate mentioned to me that this feature doesn’t exist because, in part, Polaris hasn’t heard a demand for it from the Polaris Users Group. I guess I can’t doubt that. Maybe in the next release, as we say.

Even though the list isn’t ideal, I still like the page. Why? Because it is saves us time. You know what I got to do tonight instead of trying to stay on top on manually listing new materials on the library website? Meet new library users, chat with them, and shake some hands.

5 thoughts on “i <3 making webpages”

  1. I like Polaris, but give me a freaking break. They haven’t implemented scoped feeds because no one has asked for it? Are you kidding me? I had this same problem with Innovative and just getting RSS in the first place (which I guess they’re *finally* coming around to after five years of kvetching and saying no one was asking for it).

    Sometimes you have to use common sense and understand that maybe you ought to do something because it would help your users (in this case, paying customers). You know, “lead.”

    If I had time, I’d look up how Polaris is advertising RSS from the catalog and what benefits they’re touting and then ask if they really intend that to be consortium-based only. Because it seems silly to think that a library won’t want to display *just its own new items.*

    I wonder if the answer isn’t that they’re just no thinking consortially and are still focused on single-library sales? I thought they were moving away from that, but I’d rather that be the answer than what Michael has heard.

    Cranky Monday morning, but I mean really, come on now.

  2. Well, I must admit that I spend a tremendous amount of time writing up blurbs about new books (and hand-composing the URLs, since there’s no way to do it automatically) for our library website and our new books newsletter. But I get people thanking me for the newsletter (which goes out over that 20th century technology known as e-mail) regularly when I talk with library patrons.

  3. Good work, Laura. I bet your personally written descriptions are really popular! With any luck we’ll be able to do more things like this soon. I think the personalization adds some serious value and makes things more human.

  4. Hello Aaron,
    I’m a librarian at a small public library in coastal British Columbia. I am desperate to improve the looks and organization of our website. http://www.powellriverlibrary.ca/ It’s a fright!
    My friend just put me on to the idea of using a lovely wordpress template for our very simple website.
    As someone who has actually got wordpress-based library websites up and running, your advice on a few matters would be most appreciated.
    Can you foresee any problems that would prevent us from linking to our catalogue, which is hosted in Vancouver. Likewise would there be any problems linking to our subscription databases? And is there any reason why we would want to continue to pay for somebody to host our new website rather than use the free hosting available with the free wordpress blogs?
    As you can tell, I know just enough about this stuff to formulate questions. I am somewhat functional in webpage design, if I am using some nice WYSIWYG software, but frankly don’t have a lot of confidence with HTML.
    I appreciate your time, and look forward to hearing from you. Jomichele

  5. @Jomichele-

    There won’t be any problems linking to your catalog, nor databases. Your site will be a totally normal website w/o any limitations.

    However, you really should host your own site. wordpress.com blogs are a bit limited and not as flexible. Plus, you can keep your library’s URL is you host your own.

    email me at librarian[at]gmail[dot]com if you have more questions.

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