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.
- Services tester for LibraryThing:
- Other services:
I hope you find it useful! If you have other services to add, email me at email@example.com. And if this gets you intrigued about LibraryThing for Libraries, check us out and email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more!
- 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.