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.
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.
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.