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AADL, Virtual Card Catalog and more interesting and inspiring things Wednesday, 7 June 2006 12:48 pm

Posted by Dongmei in libraries, Web 2.0.
1 comment so far

I usually don't pay attention to public library Web sites and systems that much since I work in an academic library and am interested in academic librarianship. But AADL is different, it's in forefront of many things. If you read blogs occationally, you 'll notice that "word just came down that aadl.org has been honored by the ALA as “best website” for libraries with budgets of $6,000,000.00 or more" on blyberg.net.

I was reading John Blyberg's presentation "Patrons in the driver's seat: Giving advanced tool-sets to library patrons" at the High Ed Blog Con 2006. I found it very inspiring and interesting, just want to share a few things.

The first thing I found very interesting is the Virtual Card Catalog. Each catalog record can dynamically create a vintage-looking catalog card on-the-fly. Users can write marginalia notes on the cards. Users have control over the cards by adding them to a personal card catalog, viewing any time and emailing to anyone with a note. Patrons can even share their card catalogs publically via a unique URL. This service is really in line with Web 2.0 as far as social/public sharing is concerned, at the same time give the patrons a nostalgia feeling with those catalog cards, and is a very nice personalization feature.

Another project I found very interesting is the Picture Ann Arbor (Picture A2) service. They learn from the success of Flickr, and the Picture A2 service allows users to upload their own photos. "The purpose of this service is to begin building an archive of Ann Arbor photos from both past and present".

Last but not the least is their electronic signage integrated with RSS feeds. Visitors are greeted by the software running on a large LCD panel with sliding event listing and top and new items feed to display new and hot material, they can glean some cursory information from it before they head off into the stacks.

Of course, more striking is the technology behind the scene, they opted for an entirely open-source set of tools: Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP. Picture A2 is run on the open source project Gallery 2. In their case, the CMS (Content Management System) is also open-source, they chose Drupal. I found it amazing is the work they've done to make their library system (Millenium) to talk to all these different open-source tools and provide these forefront services that I'm sure will amaze all the lucky Ann Arbor patrons and attract more and more visitors to their site and libraries. No doubt it took awful lot of (strategic) planning and brain-storming before any of these happened.