Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Faking Library Portals

As I mentioned on Monday night, I have started to play with pre-existing sites (currently iGoogle) whose technology I would so love to mimic if I weren't a techie imposter. A student at a focus group last week mentioned that she would like a portal (though she didn't use that word) where she could assemble links to the databases she uses the most and would not have all of those other 60+ databases she doesn't use. Hey, I would love to create that for you, and will be looking into what it would take to create something very simple like that. However, I'm pretty sure already that it's way over my head... I mean, you need to set up a database where each user's preferences are stored, come up with some way for them to login, a way for them to move things around, all of that is pretty complicated.

But there are sites that already do this. I am still completely in love with iGoogle, which has bookmarking tools as well as the two gagets I created to provide quick search boxes to our catalog and one of our databases. I suddenly thought I could use frames... or more specifically an "iframe" which would allow me to create a page on our library's Web site that would have a window that shows iGoogle. The iGoogle would be completely functional, but our Window would allow the user to navigate around the library's Web site and have instructions and suggestions for the user. The iGoogle page would be completely functional on its own if the student decided not to use it through our Web site.

So here is my first attempt:

Of course if I change this between now and when you read this, it will be different. It currently uses iGoogle. Which is wonderful, great, stupendous... but a little crowded to squeeze into this space. And I don't know why students would necessarily want the quick search boxes if they could have gotten to them a few clicks before they got here. So I'm going to play around with simpler pages where the bookmarks could show up nicely in the iframe of my page. I'm currently working with, but there are other "social bookmarking" sites that I will also need to look at.

I've sent this out to my boss, a friend, and a co-worker, but haven't gotten any feedback yet. So please send me feedback and suggestions if you have any.

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