Emerging Technology and Student Generated Applications

The first Emerging Tech + Libraries was held last week with three great guests in Alex Reinking ’16, Casey Watts, Manager of the Student Developer Program at Yale ITS, and Xin Zhang, ITS Software Engineer. These talks are about bringing new ideas to staff in the library, and to hear ideas about technology from library staff. It can be difficult for large organizations like the library to be as nimble with new technology as individuals can be.Technology development happens in many different ways, and some of the most compelling technologies come from individuals or small start ups who have a great idea. 

One of the reasons we wanted to have this particular session was that we were really interested to see a student initiative that made it easier to use a library service. As Casey and Alex told the story, Casey was disappointed to find out that he had spent money buying several computer programming books only to find out that the library had the books all along. What would have made it easier to find that out would have been some service right in an Amazon record (where many people look for and buy books) that would have told him whether a particular book was in the library. He put this out on a Facebook group site for Yale Ideas. In response Alex created a Chrome extension that in many cases will take a record in Amazon and let you know (with an obvious button on the page) whether the book can be found in Orbis. If you are a Chrome user it is worth taking a look in the Google Chrome Store (it is a free Chrome extension).

It is easy to use. With the Chrome extension installed and enabled you will see an Orbis link in the title of the book in an Amazon record.

Amazon record for a hard cover Burgess Boys novel.
Amazon record for a hard cover Burgess Boys novel.

Click on the Orbis link next to the title and any matches on ISBN found in Orbis display. In this case not one but two versions are found.

Orbis records for Burgess Boys
Records in Orbis showing two copies (one electronic) owned by the library.

One tip for making this work: when different versions are available in Amazon the record most likely to work will be the hardcover version.

The extension isn’t perfect, it can miss some things the library has, but it is a quick way to look in Orbis for items that you then don’t have to buy.

Meeting for Google Analytics User Group

On Thursday November 20 the Google Analytics User Group will meet in Bass Library to share some practical stories of how individuals use Google Analytics to understand more about how users interact with our web sites, and what data tell us about those interactions.

I’ll share at this meeting insights I’ve found for our Libguides implementation, specifically how I’ve used GA to hone in on guides that have users spending the most time on a page and low bounce rates (a bounce is when someone hits the page and leaves without any further exploration.) Read more.

The User Group meets in Bass L01, November 20th, 11am to noon. Hope to see you there.



New Digitized Collections Page Live

The Library has a new entry page to its digitized collections, Yale University Library Digital Collections, linked from the home page.

The new page features Digital Collection Highlight pages for every collection, with rotating images from the collections. The collection page lists all the collections in the new Findit interface, and other major digitized collections in other interfaces such as the Yale Daily News Historical Archive. Over time these digitized collections will move to the Findit interface.

Collection owners can use these pages to describe the collection, acknowledge funding organizations, and link to information in the Orbis catalog or other related resources. For an example of an individual highlight page see the Day Missions Collection: Annual Reports.

Web Updates

We’ll be posting pending changes to the web site here, and invite your feedback.

At the last Web Strategy meeting on October 6, these requests were reviewed:

  1. Change the link on the home page to Worldcat.org to the FirstSearch version. The group decided not to make this change. The home page functions as a portal for many different users, and links need to function as much as possible as unmediated access points. Worldcat.org is a simpler interface and is appropriate for the home page. Librarians should link to the Firstsearch interface in subject guides, and demonstrate it in classes.
  2. Add a link directly to Borrow Direct on the home page. There is currently a direct link in the search boxes at top left. However this is not obvious, and we will look at changing the placement of the link (refer to the new web manager).
  3. Make links to Borrow Direct and Scan and Deliver more obvious in the Get It Guide. Proposed change will be made October 21, pending feedback.
  4. Change link for digital collections on the home page to the new theme. Change will be made October 21, pending feedback.
  5. Some simplifications were made to the Purchase Request form at the request of Collections staff. In addition, we’ll consider a new placement on the home page (refer to the new web manager).


New Preservation Department Site

The Preservation Department at Yale University Library has finished migrating its old pages to the new YaleSites Drupal site.

With this migration it will be easier to maintain the existing content, and to add new content.  In fact, this process is already in progress.

I would like to thank Bobbie Pilette, Murray Harrison and Meng Tang who did the yeoman’s share of the work migrating and redirecting these pages.

Sitemap hits 500+

Back in October, our new Drupal site hit a milestone of 100 URLs on the sitemap.  It is 5 months later, and we now have 5 times as many URLs.

Some of this is because of the migration to the new Manuscripts & Archives site.

Much more of this is thanks to the Herculean efforts of the cataloging department.  About a dozen people have dedicated part of their time to planning, and training, and migrating more than 200 pages of content.  Their work isn’t done yet.  So, stay tuned for the big reveal.

Numerous other sections were expanded, and the new Library Information Technology pages finally pushed the number over 500.

For those of you who like to look at things like this, you can see the sitemap at web.library.yale.edu/sitemap.xml.

Keep watching this space.  Who knows where we will be in another 5 months?


New Manuscripts & Archives Site

After almost a year of planning, and a lot of work by the Manuscripts & Archives (MSSA) staff, their new site is live at web.library.yale.edu/mssa.

This would not have been possible without the diligent work of Andrew Berger, who met with me regularly and kept the project on track.  With minimal guidance on my part, he was able to re-organize the site’s architecture, consolidate a lot of redundant information, and migrate over a hundred pages of content.

Andrew was helped by many staff members at MSSA, including Bill Landis, Steve Ross, Kevin Glick, Mike, Bill Massa, and others.  I would like to thank everyone who worked on this, and congratulate them on their new site.

EliScholar is Live

Actually, it’s been live for months…

EliScholar is a new digital repository for scholarly publishing at Yale.  It has been live for quite some time, but we had held off on announcing it until it had built up a critical mass of content.

Michael Dula presented about EliScholar during the New Directions for Digital Scholarship event last month, and the website address was immediately put up on Twitter.  Therefore, we decided to let the cat out of the bag and there is now a link to the new service on the Yale University Library home page.

What can you do with EliScholar?

  • Upload an archive of the publications of your Yale-affiliated organization.
  • Manage the editorial process of an ongoing publication.
  • Create pages for a conference, and then permanently store the materials created for the event.
  • Create a personal “Selected Works” page, including publications outside of EliScholar.

Visit EliScholar or contact the administrators at elischolar@yale.edu.

The October 16th Mystery

One of my favorite parts of Google Analytics is the Intelligence Events.  This tool noticed more than the usual number of anomalies on October 16th.

Screen Shot of Intelligence Events report for October 16th

Initially, I couldn’t figure out what was causing this traffic.  Yale had recently had some big national news: two Nobel prizes, and the inauguration of a new president.  But, neither event had happened on the 16th.  I checked calendar events and other news stories, but nothing came up.

After looking at other reports, I discovered that most of the spike could be explained by an increase in traffic to the Sterling Memorial Library building page.  Now I knew what, but I still didn’t know why.

Finally, I remembered that the Sterling Memorial Library nave had recently been featured as the background image on the main landing page of bing.com.  I checked, and sure enough, that had happened on the 16th.

Mystery solved.