January 2009
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
« Dec   Feb »

Month January 2009

library h4x0rz!

I wonder if his OPAC offers PIN reset via email.

circulation data visualized

There’s some interesting data hiding inside of our Integrated Library Systems! Here are four days worth of search terms, about 17,000, that were entered into DCPL’s OPAC earlier in the month.

I’m convinced that there’s more useful data inside of ILSs than generally gets used, and that there are more appealing way to use it than bar graphs. I’m not even close to being an expert about data visualization, but my little video above tells more of a story than a number in a spreadsheet. I used Wordle, ScreenFlow and some zooming tricks to make it so it wasn’t difficult but having the ILS spit out data an and automating the process would be great.

And of course, having to sit here and be passive while watching this is a drag. It would be great to be able to interact with this data and do stuff like compare it to items checked out or where the searches came from. We’ll see what comes of this experimentation.

Here’s the first video I made today which presents pretty much the same data in a slightly different way. I don’t like it quite as much, but I should include it to prove to you that I know about more colors than my beloved grey.

The most interesting stuff going on with circulation data exposure I’ve seen recently is from Dave Pattern who just helped the University of Huddersfield release 13 (!) years of circulation data under a CC0 (again !) protocol. That would make one heck of a word cloud. He spoke about it during the last Talk with Talis that I have yet to listen to but will soon.

DCPL iPhone application ready for download

iphone details photo2

Hurrah for alternative OPAC interfaces! I’m very pleased to let you know that the DCPL iPhone app went live last night. You can download it from the iTunes app store here. Functionality in this version includes:

  • searching for library materials
  • seeing an item’s cover and reading a summary
  • placing a hold for pickup at the location of your choice
  • finding the hours, locations and phone numbers of DC public libraries

If you have an iPhone or iPod Touch, please download it try it out. We’d love to know what you think and what we can do to make it better. You can leave feedback through this form.

photo3To my knowledge, this is the first iPhone application put out by a library. A big congrats to DCPL CIO Chris Tonjes who assembled a great team, and a big thanks to Brian Farmer for his coding skills, Bill McClendon for his knowledge of the SirsiDynix backend and Gilbert Luwaile for testing. You can read more about all of them at the DCPL Labs Staff page.

What’s even more exciting about this is that it is just the start of our efforts to provide mobile library services to the residents of DC. I have a bunch of notes written about improving the look and behavior of the application, expanding it, and we’re planning a mobile version of the forthcoming DCPL website.

For those interested in taking a look at the code for the iPhone application, we’re going to make it available for download at the DCPL iPhone Application page soon.