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Reinert’s Mobile Website

Posted by Chris Carmichael on July 19, 2011 in Libguides, Mobile

IT’S HERE!  We have a mobile website thanks to Curtis Brundy and the fine folks at Springshare/ Libguides.  It will automagically display when you visit the library website with your mobile device.

For those of you who are interested, Springshare offers a mobile site designer as an add-on module for Libguides. We are pretty happy with the results.

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Upcoming posts

Posted by Chris Carmichael on June 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

You can tell by the dates on my posts that I don’t write very often.  I write when I have something to say, which isn’t to say I’m uncommunicative.  In fact, I speak very well and often!  But rather than keeping everyone in suspense, I thought I’d give you a preview of the next few topics I plan to post.

  • Mobile access
  • Thoughts on #SLA2011
  • Unified Discovery aka Summon
  • Knowledge Retention and Quality
  • Planning a social media strategy
  • Delegating

Stay tuned!  Meanwhile, I need to spruce this space up a little bit.  It’s feeling a bit messy and unorganized.  –ctc

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Migration

Posted by Chris Carmichael on June 21, 2011 in Blog tech, Contemplative

You know, it wasn’t too long ago I was watching the migration of the Sandhill Cranes.  Even more recently, as I was playing golf at the end of May, I saw several “Vee’s” of Canadian geese heading home.  Their honking is so plaintive sometimes, you have to wonder why they just don’t stop right where they are.  I suppose if they just stopped, they wouldn’t make any more progress.  Continually moving forward is how they get where they are going to.

Technology progresses in much the same way.  It migrates – from one version to another, from one platform to another, from one tool to the next.  Hence, this post comes to you on the new enterprise version of WordPress 3.somethingorother, complete with a new look, some cool features, but still the same author.

There’s an old song that asks, “Do you know where you’re going to?”  Answering honestly, today I have to say, “Nope.”  Guess I’m making progress.  :-)

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Taxonomies & Search – Yea!

Posted by Chris Carmichael on February 9, 2011 in Federated Search, Search, taxonomy

Semantico’s post from a few days ago talks about doing something with search that users encounter on a daily basis, though they may not know (or care) what it’s called.  It’s true that integrating taxonomies with an enterprise search function offers a much greater flexibility in how your users interact with your information.  One of the best examples of this integration is the World Bank website.  At the time of this writing, they don’t yet have search suggestions for alternative spellings, but their drill-down options are very well done.

Now, if someone can just figure out how to integrate taxonomies (and there would have to be several) into the federated search function. 

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The Statistics of Federated Search

Posted by Chris Carmichael on June 22, 2010 in Data and Statistics, Federated Search, Search

We are getting ready to compile our library’s annual report and part of that includes a significant amount of number crunching.  How many items circulated, how many people came in, how many database searches were done, etc.  Well, it’s been a year since we installed our federated search tool, so naturally, we wanted to know what kind of an effect it had on our overall database usage statistics.

The scholarly literature generally states that database usage will increase with the implementation of a federated search tool.  In that respect, we are right on target.  Usage definitely seems to have increased.  But we can’t tell if it’s REALLY due to the federated search or some other phenomenon.  Curiouser and Curiouser.  –ctc

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Two projects, one goal

Posted by Chris Carmichael on June 4, 2010 in Federated Search, Libguides

It’s always amazing to me how IT-type projects always seem to take longer than expected.  I am just now getting the upgrade going for our Federated Search platform.  Supposedly the best functionality of 2 applications were mushed together.  (Technical term: mushed.)  I’m not convinced yet.

However, the second project, a migration of our Research Guides (by subject of course) to “the CLOUD.”  (Queue ominous organ music…)  That’s right, we’re firing up Libguides.  Now how, one may ask, does a federated search tool and Libguides contribute to a single solitary goal?

Well, the goal is to enable students and faculty to more easily FIND (notice I said “find”, not “search”) the information/ data/ stats/  they need while incorporating the 2.0 functionality that many users expect from websites.  Integrating selective federated search widgets into the Libguides will allow that to happen in a way that won’t overwhelm a user with “just a bunch of links.”

I look at it as part of my job.  Not only am I responsible for helping folks find what they need – credible, authoritative info – but  I need to teach them to do it themselves.  Federated search and Libguides are just effective and efficient ways to make that happen.

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What else should a federated search tool be able to do?

Posted by Chris Carmichael on December 3, 2009 in expertise location, Federated Search, taxonomy

I’m an information junkie.  I admit it – I’m addicted – too much is never enough.  And sometimes a federated search result list CAN bring back too many results.  Even though they might all be relevant and useful, it can be hard to weed (wade?) through a list of articles, book citations, and associated organization websites.  BUT – WHAT IF YOUR LIST INCLUDED LOCAL EXPERTS that you could contact directly?  If that expert could help you winnow your results even further, what would that be worth to you?
BinaryPlex, a company in Australia, has created Hivemind.  The company is calling its creation “an automated expertise discovery engine.”  Co-founder Tim Bull says, “With HiveMind we are building a product that helps bridge the gaps between silos of information while delivering what we are calling People Centric Software – software that works on behalf of people to connect them based around their knowledge.”

Combining an expertise location tool with a federated search mechanism – that ramps the COOL factor up exponentially in my book!

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New Service – Text-a-librarian!

Posted by Chris Carmichael on December 3, 2009 in Text-a-librarian

I really need to say “Thank you” to Lacy, a former colleague, for putting this particular bug in my ear over a year ago.  WE FINALLY DID IT!  CU now has a Text-a-librarian service available as another method for students and faculty to contact the library.

Text  “ASKRAL your question here” to 66746.  Honestly, I don’t know how many people read my blog, so I’ll be posting this info in different places.  Official roll-out is scheduled for Spring 2010 semester.

The really nice thing about this is that our library staff don’t have to learn to text.  The questions come in on a web-based service that acts like email.  Patrons text on a phone, we answer via the computer keyboard.  Very cool!

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Federated search market getting smaller… we knew this

Posted by Chris Carmichael on December 3, 2009 in Federated Search

Yup – we KNEW when we purchased the WebFeat (now locally branded as CrossSearch) platform that the company had been purchased by ProQuest and would most likely be “mushed” (technical term) into something else.

As of December 18, 2009, Serials Solutions (also owned by ProQuest) will roll out the upgrade to WebFeat.  It will wed “the best features of both federated search products.”  And of course, change the name of the product.  So, while I am unenthused about the prospect of upgrading, it might just give me another opportunity to more fully promote the advantages of using a federated search tool.  Our “soft roll out” does not seem to be taking hold with students like some thought it would.

Maybe I’ll write up what my ideal search solution would be and why.  Cheerio!

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The federated search journey continues OR How many widgets is too many?

Posted by Chris Carmichael on September 22, 2009 in Federated Search, information literacy

Yes, you read it correctly.  How many search widgets is too many on a single web page?  And why does the question even raise its head?  Long story short: we made a decision to selectively federate article databases within our Research Guides.  Here’s an example:

http://reinert.creighton.edu/research/history.htm The rationale being that a student could come to a Research Guide and still search multiple databases, but the ones they searched would be the most relevant for the topic they were researching.

Now, we’ve seen examples of having multiple search boxes on the same page.  (See the new Lexis-Nexis Academic interface and the Libguides pages at Bloomsburg University. )

They are nicely labeled and Bloomsburg is even using Webfeat as their article database federation tool.  Is it better to have multiple search boxes into different single resources (the catalog, the e-journal portal) or one search box that federates the largest or most-used resources?

I don’t have an answer…–ctc

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