Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

NEW: Easy Share for Book Display Widgets

LibraryThing for Libraries is pleased to announce an update to our popular Book Display Widgets.

Introducing “Easy Share.” Easy Share is a tool for putting beautiful book displays on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, email newsletters and elsewhere. It works by turning our dynamic, moving widgets into shareable images, optimized for the service you’re going to use them on.

Why would I want an image of a widget?

Dynamic widgets require JavaScript. This works great on sites you control, like a library’s blog or home page. But many sites, including some of the most important ones, don’t allow JavaScript. Easy Share bridges that gap, allowing you to post your widgets wherever a photo or other image can go—everywhere from Facebook to your email newsletters.

How do I find Easy Share?

To use Easy Share, move your cursor over a Book Display Widget. A camera icon will appear in the lower right corner of the widget. Click on that to open up the Easy Share box.

How can I share my widgets?

You can share your widget in three ways:

  1. Download. Download an image of your widget. After selecting a size, click the “down” arrow to download the image. Each image is labeled with the name of your widget, so you can find it easily on your computer. Upload this image to Facebook or wherever else you want it to go.
  2. Link. Get a link (URL) to the image. Select the size you want, then click the link icon to get a link to copy into whatever social media site you want.
  3. Dynamic. “Dynamic” images change over time, so you can place a “static” image somewhere and have it change as your collection changes. To get a dynamic image, go to the edit page for a widget. Use the link there to embed this image into your website or blog. Dynamic widgets update whenever your widget updates. Depending on users’ browser “caching” settings, changes may or may not happen immediately. But it will change over time.

You can also download or grab a link to a image of your widget from the widget edit page. Under the preview section, click “Take Screenshot.” You can see our blog post about that feature here.

Check out the LibraryThing for Libraries Wiki for more instructions.

Interested?

Find out more about LibraryThing for Libraries and Book Display Widgets. And sign up for a free trial of either by contacting ltflsupport@librarything.com.

Labels: Book Display Widgets, new feature, new features, widgets

Friday, June 27th, 2014

Sneak peek: new and expanded recommendations!

New and expanded recommendations will be coming soon to LibraryThing for Libraries!

We’re demoing this now at ALA (Tim and KJ are set up at booth 1247, stop by), but here’s a sneak peek, showing how similar books can be expanded and broken down to see different types of recommendations, like more by the same author, recommendations by readers, books in a similar genre, recommendations by tag, similar authors, and more.

NewRecsFullpage

MoreSimilarsLB

This is an improvement to our existing similar items recommendations, and will be available for no additional cost to all libraries using similar items (part of the Catalog Enhancement package)! Stay tuned for an official release soon.

Labels: librarything for libraries, ltfl, recommendations, similar books

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

LibraryThing in Vegas for ALA

Going to the ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas this weekend? So are we! LibraryThing for Libraries will have a booth in the Technology Pavilion (that’s row 1200, booth #1247).

Stop by and say hi to Tim and KJ, and get a demo of our LTFL products, including some exciting new improvements to our recommendations feature. (Stay tuned for an official announcement.)

Are you in the area and want a free pass just to the exhibit hall? We can help! Click here to get an exhibits-only pass.

Labels: ala, ala2014

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

New Feature: Screenshots in Book Display Widgets

We’re continually improving our fast-growing product Book Display Widgets. The newest feature we added is Screenshots.

Screenshots will allow you to take a picture of your widget and use that image to share on your webpage, Facebook, Twitter, or blog. Help your patrons find your carefully curated displays by showing off your Book Display Widgets in places where sometimes embedding Javascript isn’t a possibility.
Screenshot 2014-05-29 14.48.42
Our screenshots feature allows for much flexibility. You can: refresh your widget until you have the books you want to show; choose your image size by percentage or exact dimensions; download the screenshot image or copy a link right to your screenshot. We even include the HTML to embed the image in your website.

 

Screenshots in BDW

 

How do I find Screenshots to use them?

Underneath the preview section of each widget there is a button that says “Take Screenshot.” This will open up a new window, where you can edit your screenshot to your liking before downloading it or copying a link to the image.

For more on the different possibilities for screenshots, check out our quick how-to video, here:

 

 

Interested in Book Display Widgets for your library? Email us at ltflsupport@librarything.com

 

Labels: Uncategorized

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

Book Display Widget Improvements

You have asked, and we have answered! We recently added a few improvements to our popular LibraryThing for Libraries product, Book Display Widgets: easier sizing options, a new drop-down menu for multi-widgets, and showing Book Details when you hover on an item.

Easier Sizing Options

White-space got your webpage looking a little empty? Before, re-sizing a widget on your page involved some fancy CSS footwork. But, at the request of several libraries, we have made it easy for you to change the height and width of your widget. You can see instructions here.

Before and After resizing

Drop-Down Switcher for Multi-Widgets

We have added another display option for your Multi-widgets, which allows you to choose either tabs or a drop-down switcher to change between widgets.
Try the new drop-down here:

Show Book Details When Hovering

We added an option to show our new Book Details when hovering over a book (you can also stick with clicking). One click closer to your catalog!

We will be rolling out other improvements to Book Display Widgets in the coming month. Stay tuned!

Labels: Book Display Widgets, librarything for libraries, ltfl, Uncategorized

Friday, April 11th, 2014

Come Learn PHP at ALA 2014

EnoughLogo_350

Summary: Tim, LibraryThing’s founder, is going to be giving a one-day, almost-free introduction to PHP programming on Friday, June 27, alongside the preconference day of ALA 2014 in Las Vegas, NV.

“Enough PHP to Be Dangerous” will cover the basics of PHP, the most common web programming language. It’s designed for people with little programming experience.(1)

Instruction will be project-based–a series of brief explanations followed by hands-on problem solving. You won’t emerge a PHP master, but you’ll know enough to be dangerous!(2)

We’ll presume some familiarity with the web, including basic HTML. You must bring your own laptop. We’ll ask you to set up a simple development environment before you come–we’ll send instructions. You should be connected to libraryland somehow. Prepare for a mental workout–there’s no point going slow when we only have a day.

Where? The session will be held Friday June 27, 9am-5pm at Embassy Suites Convention Center, three blocks from the Convention Center.

How do I sign up? Email tim@librarything.com. Say who you are and put “Enough PHP to Be Dangerous” in the subject line.

We’ll close applications on Monday, April 14 at 4:00 PM EST. If more than 30 people sign up, we’ll pick the winners randomly. If fewer, we’ll allow people to sign up after the deadline on a first-come-first-served basis.

What Does it Cost? On the day of we’ll pass the hat, asking $55 to cover the $45 cost of hotel-provided muffins, coffee and sandwiches, and some of the cost of the room, equipment and wifi. If $55 is a hardship for you, no problem–we’ll waive the fee, and you’ll still get a sandwich.

Why do I need this? Libraryland needs more programmers, and people who know what programming is. Libary software vendors exert outsized power and too often produce lousy software because the community has limited alternatives. The more library programmers, the better.

Why are you doing this? Conferences are hugely expensive to exhibit at. They’re worth it, but it’s a shame not to do more. If we’re going to be out there anyway, adding a day, a room and a projector doesn’t add much to the cost, and could help the community. Also, I’m a frustrated former Latin teacher, so it’ll be fun for me!(3)

Is this officially connected to ALA, LITA, Library Code Year, etc.? Nope. We’re doing this on our own. It’s easier that way. Of course, we love all these groups, especially our friends at LITA.(4)

Will the class be broadcast? No. That sounds fiddly. Maybe another time.

Want to help out? If you’re a programmer and want to help make this happen, email me. It would be great to have another programmer or two helping people figure out why their script won’t run. It’ll be fun, and you can put it on your resume.


1. If you tried to learn something years ago, or do a little cutting and pasting of JavaScript, fine. If you’re a master of another programming language, you’ll be bored.
2. We’ll focus on the most basic skills–variables, loops, functions, etc. We’ll focus on non-OO PHP. We’ll print up some funny diplomas, so you can show off your new-found dangerousness back at the library.
3. Alas, the hotel doesn’t provide chalk boards.
4. We take inspiration from Introductory Python Workshop at ALA 2013, put together by Andromeda Yelton and others.

Labels: ala, ala2014, instruction

Monday, March 10th, 2014

New Feature: Include Book Details in Book Display Widgets!

We are pleased to have added a new feature to our wildly popular LibraryThing for Libraries product, Book Display Widgets: Book Details. Book Display Widgets let you create virtual book displays to show off collections on your library’s website, Facebook page, LibGuides, and more. Clicking a cover image brings you directly into the catalog to that item’s record.

Our new feature lets you include a bit more information about each title, before the jump into the catalog. In addition to the title and author of an item, you can now choose to include publication date, summaries, and more! The Book Detail box will pop up when a patron clicks on an item in the Book Display Widget, and they can choose to go onto the catalog page from there, or continue browsing in the widget.

bdw summaries screenshot

Check it out: Click on a book cover in our Showcase page to view Book Details. You can see it there in a few different types of displays.

Set it up: If you’re already using Book Display Widgets, you can turn this on easily in the LTFL admin pages. On each of your widgets under “Options,” you can choose to “Show Items Details upon clicking.” Simple toggle to “on” and you should be set!

Learn More: Interested in using Book Display Widgets for your library? Email me (abby@librarything.com) with any questions about this or any of the LibraryThing for Libraries products.

Labels: Book Display Widgets, librarything for libraries, ltfl, PLA

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

New Book Display Widget Features: Custom Covers and UPC/ISSN Data-Sources

We are very pleased to announce two new changes to our popular Book Display Widgets product which we think will help libraries of all kinds show off more of their collections!

Custom Covers

Responding to several requests, we have added the ability to use your own cover source in Book Display Widgets. If you have a specialized collection or some unusual titles, now you can supplement our default cover service with your own covers.

Go from this:

To this:

Book Display Widget with all the covers filled in

For more information on how to use Custom Covers in Book Display Widgets, you can see the instructions here or check out our quick how-to video, here:

Image linking to video on how-to use Custom Cover URL feature

UPC/ISSN Data-Sources

Recognizing that not every item in your library carries an ISBN, we have added two new options for data in Book Display Widgets: UPCs and ISSNs. These additions will allow you to show off your video collections and your academic journals with ease!

Screenshot of a Scrolling UPC Widget

UPCs are product codes commonly found on items such as DVDs, music, and video games. Help your patrons discover their new favorite movie!

Screenshot of a Book Display Widget with ISSNs

ISSNs are for journals. You can use these to highlight your robust journal collection to your students!

For more information on using these new data-sources, please see our instruction page or view this quick how-to video.

Image linking to a How To Video on using List of UPCS or List of ISSNs

Labels: Book Display Widgets, librarything for libraries, ltfl

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

The LibraryThing Conference-Pen Olympics

The New England Library Association (NELA) has come to a close. The final event–not publicized in official documents–was the LibraryThing Conference-Pen Olympics, consisting of Tim taking (sometimes stealing) pens from all the exhibitors and taking them back to the LibraryThing office for a test drive. As regular conference-goers know everyone has pens, but not all pens are created equal. NELA was a low-pen-quality event—no Pilot Precise V5 Rolling balls, no “Wavy Clip Pens.” But some were better than others.

The Competitors

The Judging
Judges evaluated feel, stroke and appearance. Syracuse University wrote well, but twists rather than clicking—life is too short for that. The University of South Carolina achieves a satisfying heft but is too fat to hold comfortably. OCLC’s entrant was cheap–flimsy and blunt, with their logo reduced to black and white–and came with a microprinted “usage policy” on the side, claiming ownership of anything you write with it.

Second Runner-Up: Access Engineering
Chosen by Loranne for its heft and grippy-thing. The pen advertises some sort of engineering program available from McGraw-Hill.

First Runner-Up: ProQuest
Chosen by K.J., who opines “I chose my pen because I like to fiddle with pens during meetings, and the metal clip is bendable but likely won’t snap.” I appreciate its pleasing kaleidoscopic interior, reliable-sounding “click,” and sharp writing ball. Advertises ProQuest, a major provider of library content and services. (They’re also sister-company to Bowker, who sell our products to libraries—but that’s not why they won!)

The Winner: Equinox
Chosen by Tim, Abby and Matt. Matt described it as “wholesome.” I’m not sure what he means by that. I like it for its satisfying click, smooth writing and decent weight. Advertises Equinox Software, a (rather good) provider of open source ILS systems. As the winner, Equinox will be the first pen Tim destroys by chewing on it.

Labels: conference

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

NELA and a Hometown LibraryThing Party!

This weekend NELA (New England Library Association) comes to Portland, Maine, for three days of exhibits and talks. We’ll be exhibiting, of course, showing off LibraryThing for Libraries, Book Display Widgets and our other products to librarians around New England. Come visit it at booth 702.

LibraryThing Hometown Party!

And we’ll be partying! For Portland, Maine is also home to LibraryThing, and “Castle LibraryThing” (okay, Tim’s house and LT’s office) is just a few blocks down the street from the Conference Hotel. We’re not likely to see another library conference in Portland any time soon, so we’re doing it up!

And if we’re going to do it, why not invite local booksellers and other members? We’ll even let vendors in. Tim’s lending us his bookish home. There’ll be (real) food and drink, books, music and conversation.

So, if you’re in town for NELA, or just want to party with librarians, bookish people, LibraryThing members (and most of the LibraryThing staff) visit us this Sunday at 7:00, after the reception and exhibition hall closes, until whenever.

Details:

Sunday, October 20
7:00 to whenever
286 Spring Street (Green House)

How to get there:

Exit the hotel, turn left and walk.
Or come by car; there’s on-street parking.

RSVP on Facebook!

Labels: librarything for libraries, NELA2013, portland