Friday, June 01, 2007

LibX at UVA

Some times things just come together the way you want them to.

A few weeks ago we started casually looking at LibX, following the announcements of beta tests at other institutions. We liked what we saw, but other projects got in the way of immediate follow up.

Last Tuesday one of our subject librarians mentioned that she'd seen a demo, and it \seemed time to get back to it. Jim Campbell pulled together what we needed and sent the configuration file off to Virginia Tech at 5:13, and received a test version UVa LibX toolbar back at 5:26. I had it installed and was searching at 5:29.

It was meant to be. A couple of other folks had seen the same LibX demo as the subject librarian who contacted us. They had decided that this was something we needed to look into, and there was some surprise when Jim sent out the announcement that we'd set up the prototype because we hadn't yet let folks know that we were working on it.

It all came together, and just nine days after setting up the test version (and making some config changes) it was announced that the UVa LibX toolbar was open for business at a Library-wide meeting. And we've arranged for the toolbar to be added to Firefox on all public Library machines for fall.

Quoting the email that Jim sent to the Library staff:

You can search Virgo as well as our ejournal list, and Google Scholar.

LibX will also put the little orange Rotunda on pages from Amazon, the NYT Book Review, and other sources linking to a Virgo search.

If you highlight a term on a Web page and then right-click, you'll get a menu of search options.

But truly the coolest thing is highlighting the title in a citation on a Web page or in a PDF and dragging it onto that Scholar button. The LibX developers call it their magic button and a lot of the time it really does seem to work that way.
If it's an article we have electronic access to, you don't really even see Google or our Resolver -- you get to the article that quickly. It's a lot more efficient than going to our citation finder, typing or pasting in the info, being taken to a results screen, and then to the article (if not to the journal issue before that).

And the first time I saw a UVa symbol next to a book title in Amazon (David Wienberger's Everything in Miscellaneous) It was just plain cool.

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