or, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk

A Random Assortment of Assorted Randomness

   September 13th, 2011

Here's a list of things I've been meaning to include in a post somehow, but haven't been able to work in. I'm leaving for a week's vacation tomorrow, so I thought this list of links will keep people going in the meantime (because I know everyone's lives revolve around my website):

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4 Responses to “A Random Assortment of Assorted Randomness”

  1. John McGraw Says:

    Re: GOOMHR, I’ve been happy with yousendit for ever and ever. Most of the questionable music-selection processes I have involve Rapidshare, Zshare, Multiupload, etc. and I agree there is much that is sketchy in their UX.
    But any of them sure beat the hell out of busting up digital files on usenet, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth.

  2. Elizabeth Thomsen Says:

    Hi, Brian — On the Xtranormal video about just wanting to read a copy of any edition of a book, I really like Evergreen’s metarecord system. You can turn on “Group Formats and Editions” in the catalog, and it collapses matching records into a single entry that you can place a hold on. I placed a hold on “Little Dorrit” that way on the MVLC catalog, limited to books, and saved myself the trouble of choosing from among 20 different identical (for my purposes) editions. You can also turn this on under the advanced options when you’re placing a regular hold to expand it to all editions (or all books or whatever.) It’s not perfect, and it would be better if the formats were more specific (especially with media.) But just as a patron, I am finding it really helpful!

  3. Brian Herzog Says:

    @John: thanks for the suggestion – I’ll check it out.

    @Elizabeth: I’ve been following your thread on the open-ils-general listserv, and it’s been enlightening. I remember that feature being discussed pre-launch, but had totally forgotten about it and haven’t used it once. I’ll make a point of trying it out, but it seems as if there are still a few pitfalls. I love the theory though – I wish all catalogs worked that way by default. Amazon makes it really easy with their little format table on each record – I don’t know why libraries can’t do the same thing.

  4. Elizabeth Thomsen Says:

    About the Amazon thing of linking from one format/edition to another, Mike Rylander, one of the developers, has talked about this. Here’s a quote from an e-mail message last year: “We want to extend the use of metarecords in several places…[including] links from record detail pages to other records within a metarecord…” so I would say there’s hope for that.

    There are definitely a few pitfalls at the moment, mostly related to specific formats (or, more accurately, insufficiently specific formats) but that just means there’s a little more work to do!