Or it feels like it has. Let’s go check the sites I’m monitoring.
Library Tech Talk hadn’t really updated since Jan. 15th, when it discussed Google Doc Forms. Ho-hum, right? So I was kind of excited to see, not only that they’d updated, but also that the technology was new to me. Their post is about a research game called “BiblioBouts.” Players challenge each other to find the highest quality resources on a given topic. Results are rated by the group, and the winner is the player with the highest rated bibliography. I thought that was kind of neat, and something that would be useful for schools.
As I went to sign up to try out the game, it directed me to install a Firefox plug-in called Zotero. Watch the video on the homepage, you will be amazed! If I have to write another single paragraph about the usefulness of Web 2.0 in a library setting, I’m gonna start chewing on my monitor. Zotero is truly library technology. Why haven’t I head about this? (Update: Funny thing, there are now two links to Zotero inside the original article LTT article on BiblioBouts.)
Basically, it’s a research tool that allows you to save pages and websites as simply as you’d bookmark a link. But it isn’t just a bookmark, it preserves the whole page, even a whole website, exactly the way you found it when you accessed it. The interface is similar to iTunes, which allows you to file and categorize your resources, attach notes to them, search inside those resources and notes, and save your searches.
But that’s not the half of it. What will make Zotero most useful to libraries is the fact that it extracts bibliographic information from the pages and sites it saves. IT WILL CREATE YOUR CITATIONS FOR YOU!! Then, you can drag and drop those citations anywhere you can type: any word processor, any blog platform, any email program. The Word and Open Office plug-ins will insert your in-text citations when you type the page number.
The only downside I see is that Zotero apparently stores your resources on their servers. That’s they only way they could promise access from anywhere. That means that (unlike the library where the resources you access are private) Zotero could be compelled to turn those resources over to the authorities under the dubious auspices of the Patriot Act, (yes, extended for another three months) or more likely, compiles market data for sale to consumer research firms. I’ll have to get Zotero up and running and see if there’s a way to keep my saves and searches out of the cloud.
Jan. 27 was the Library Technology Guides‘ last blog update. They discussed the Perceptions 2010 International Survey of Library Automation, describing the various levels of satisfaction attributed to various library automation technologies. The site’s news section is updated daily, but the news appears to be nothing more than announcements of which libraries have struck deals with which automation technology suppliers. Lots of marketing, here. Little information that isn’t specific to automation systems.