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New Website Tools & Technology Update

Mar - 23 - 2006
Nicole C. Engard

Well this session did not go as well as it coudld have – from no fault of the presenters mind you!

I got in a little bit late to this session only to find that there were some technology difficulties! When this happened in another session someone said the conference is called “computers in libraries” not “computers out of libraries” :) Wish I had written down who said that.

Anyway, Jason Clark started with a presentation on AJAX – and although he was having trouble getting stuff to work, it was actually a good learning experience because if JS is turned off on your browser (as it was on his) then AJAX ain’t that great – in fact it’s useless. once he figured that out we got to see some neat things. AJAX can load up queries in no time flat! It can also be used to create cool tools like Sproutliner an AJAX based task manager/task list creator.

He also gave us some great examples of library sites using AJAX – like: Curtin University of Technology – which is using AJAX in their federated search page – and Pheonix Live OPAC (which isn’t very pretty) which is using AJAX to run a search on the OCLC database for books in their collection (at least I think that’s what it was doing).

Next Karen Coombs talked about Open Source for libraries. She mentioned Content Management Systems (which we don’t really need – since I wrote our own pretty little CMS) and she pointed us to Open Web Design which provides Open Source examples and code. The thing she stressed – that I think bares repeating – is that open source is not always free – open source just means open source code – which means easy to customize (if you have the skills) and it means there’s a community of programmers online that can help you out of a jam – or just tell you how to make something a little better.

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