Archive for the ‘opacs’ Category

Friday, February 1st, 2013

A service tester for catalog-only computers

Libraries usually have special computers set aside for catalog searching only. They’re often set up to block non-catalog websites, so you don’t check Facebook from the catalog computers.

Unfortunately, the domain whitelists don’t always include all the enrichment services catalogs use, such as LibraryThing for Libraries, Syndetic Solutions, Google Books and so forth. (I discovered this recently at a local public library that uses LibraryThing for Libraries and Syndetic Solutions, neither of which functioned properly from the catalogs in the children’s section.)

To address this I created the Services Tester, a simple webpage to hit from catalog computers. As illustrated on the right, it reports on which domains worked and which didn’t, so a library can make sure all the needed domains are open.

I hope you find it useful! If you have other services to add, email me at And if this gets you intrigued about LibraryThing for Libraries, check us out and email to find out more!

Technical notes:

  • Since catalog computers are often the oldest computers in the library, this has been tested down to XP IE6/FF3.
  • This works by loading images from the domains (in an invisible div) and using a sturdy, cross-browser way of identifying failed images. I couldn’t find a cross-browser (to IE6) technique for scripts, without looking for their internals, so I found images at each domain.
  • Subdomains vary extensively, either to split content across logical divisions or to thwart browser limits on concurrent downloads from a single domain. (In fact, of the library-specific services, only LibraryThing seems to do this. It makes a big difference.) To be sure services work, I recommend opening up all subdomains—except Google. If you open Google up all the way, catalog searchers will try to use Google’s main search page—and discover every link doesn’t work.

Labels: opacs, tools

Friday, July 13th, 2007

Library 0.1

Discovered while looking for good source of Armenian-language bibliographic data (from in the Russian National Library).

Is your catalog online? Yes, our catalog is online.

Actually, the sad thing is, having scans of all the catalog cards isn’t THAT much worse than today’s online catalog systems (OPACs). Anyway, at least I can link to the page and assume the link will work an hour from now.

Labels: armenian, opacs