Archive for the ‘librarything for libraries’ Category

Thursday, October 27th, 2016

Introducing Syndetics Unbound

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Short Version

Today we’re going public with a new product for libraries, jointly developed by LibraryThing and ProQuest. It’s called Syndetics Unbound, and it makes library catalogs better, with catalog enrichments that provide information about each item, and jumping-off points for exploring the catalog.

To see it in action, check out the Hartford Public Library in Hartford, CT. Here are some sample links:

We’ve also got a press release and a nifty marketing site.

UPDATE: Webinars Every Week!

We’re now having weekly webinars, in which you can learn all about Syndetics Unbound, and ask us questions. Visit ProQuest’s WebEx portal to see the schedule and sign up!

Long Version

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The Basic Idea

Syndetics Unbound aims to make patrons happier and increase circulation. It works by enhancing discovery within your OPAC, giving patrons useful information about books, movies, music, and video games, and helping them find other things they like. This means adding elements like cover images, summaries, recommendations, series, tags, and both professional and user reviews.

In one sense, Syndetics Unbound combines products—the ProQuest product Syndetics Plus and the LibraryThing products LibraryThing for Libraries and Book Display Widgets. In a more important sense, however, it leaps forward from these products to something new, simple, and powerful. New elements were invented. Static elements have become newly dynamic. Buttons provide deep-dives into your library’s collection. And—we think—everything looks better than anything Syndetics or LibraryThing have done before! (That’s one of only two exclamation points in this blog post, so we mean it.)

Simplicity

Syndetics Unbound is a complete and unified solution, not a menu of options spread across one or even multiple vendors.

This simplicity starts with the design, which is made to look good out of the box, already configured for your OPAC and look.

The installation requirements for Syndetics Unbound are minimal. If you already have Syndetics Plus or LibraryThing for Libraries, you’re all set. If you’ve never been a customer, you only need to add a line of HTML to your OPAC, and to upload your holdings.

Although it’s simple, we didn’t neglect options. Libraries can reorder elements, or drop them entirely. We expect libraries will pick and choose, and evaluate elements according to patron needs, or feedback from our detailed usage stats. Libraries can also tweak the look and feel with custom CSS stylesheets.

And simplicity is cheap. To assemble a not-quite-equivalent bundle from ProQuest’s and LibraryThing’s separate offerings would cost far more. We want everyone who has Syndetics Unbound to have it in its full glory.

Comprehensiveness and Enrichments

Syndetics Unbound enriches your catalog with some sixteen enrichments, but the number is less important than the options they encompass. These include both professional and user-generated content, information about the item you’re looking at, and jumping-off points to explore similar items.

Quick descriptions of the enrichments:

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Boilterplate covers for items without covers.

Premium Cover Service. Syndetics offers the most comprehensive cover database in existence for libraries—over 25 million full-color cover images for books, videos, DVDs, and CDs, with thousands of new covers added every week.

For Syndetics Unbound, we added boilerplate covers for items that don’t have a cover, which include the title, author, and media type.

Summaries. Over 18 million essential summaries and annotations, so patrons know what the book’s about.

About the Author. This section includes the author biography and a small shelf of other items by the author. The section is also adorned by a small author photo—a first in the catalog, although familiar elsewhere on the web.

Look Inside. Includes three previous Syndetics enrichments—first chapters or excerpts, table of contents and large-size covers—newly presented as a “peek inside the book” feature.

Series. Shows a book’s series, including reading order. If the library is missing part of the series, those covers are shown but grayed out.

You May Also Like. Provides sharp, on-the-spot readers advisory in your catalog, with the option to browse a larger world of suggestions, drawn from LibraryThing members and big-data algorithms. In this and other enrichments, Syndetics Unbound only recommends items that your library owns.

The Syndetics Unbound recommendations cover far more of your collection than any similar service. For example, statistics from the Hartford Public Library show this feature on 88% of items viewed.

Professional Reviews includes more than 5.4 million reviews from Library Journal, School Library Journal, New York Times, The Guardian, The Horn Book, BookList, BookSeller + Publisher Magazine, Choice, Publisher’s Weekly, and Kirkus. A la carte review sources include Voice of Youth Advocates: VOYA, Doody’s Medical Reviews and Quill and Quire.

Reader Reviews includes more than 1.5 million vetted, reader reviews from LibraryThing members. It also allows patrons and librarians to add their own ratings and reviews, right in your catalog, and then showcase them on a library’s home page and social media.

Also Available As helps patrons find other available formats and versions of a title in your collection, including paper, audio, ebook, and translations.

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Exploring the tag system

Tags rethinks LibraryThing’s celebrated tag clouds—redesigning them toward simplicity and consistency, and away from the “ransom note” look of most clouds. As data, tags are based on over 131 million tags created by LibraryThing members, and hand-vetted by our staff librarians for quality. A new exploration interface allows patrons to explore what LibraryThing calls “tag mashes”—finding books by combinations of tags—in a simple faceted way.

I’m going to be blogging about the redesign of tag clouds in the near future. Considering dozens of designs, we decided on a clean break with the past. (I expect it will get some reactions.)

Book Profile is a newly dynamic version of what Bowker has done for years—analyzing thousands of new works of fiction, short-story collections, biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs annually. Now every term is clickable, and patrons can search and browse over one million profiles.

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Explore Reading Levels

Reading Level is a newly dynamic way to see and explore other books in the same age and grade range. Reading Level also includes Metametrics Lexile® Framework for Reading. Click the “more” button to get a new, super-powered reading-level explorer. This is one my favorite features! (Second and last exclamation point.)

Awards highlights the awards a title has won, and helps patrons find highly-awarded books in your collection. Includes biggies like the National Book Award and the Booker Prize, but also smaller awards like the Bram Stoker Award and Oklahoma’s Sequoyah Book Award.

Browse Shelf gives your patrons the context and serendipity of browsing a physical shelf, using your call numbers. Includes a mini shelf-browser that sits on your detail pages, and a full-screen version, launched from the detail page.

Video and Music adds summaries and other information for more than four million video and music titles including annotations, performers, track listings, release dates, genres, keywords, and themes.

Video Games provides game descriptions, ESRB ratings, star ratings, system requirements, and even screenshots.

Book Display Widgets. Finally, Syndetics Unbound isn’t limited to the catalog, but includes the LibraryThing product Book Display Widgets—virtual book displays that go on your library’s homepage, blog, LibGuides, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or even in email newsletters. Display Widgets can be filled with preset content, such as popular titles, new titles, DVDs, journals, series, awards, tags, and more. Or you point them at a web page, RSS feed, or list of ISBNs, UPCs, or ISSNs. If your data is dynamic, the widget updates automatically.

Here’s a page of Book Display Widget examples.

Find out More

Made it this far? You really need to see Syndetics Unbound in action.

Check it Out. Again, here are some sample links of Syndetics Unbound at Hartford Public Library in Hartford, CT: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow, Faithful Place by Tana French.

Webinars. We hold webinars every Tuesday and walk you through the different elements and answer questions. To sign up for a webinar, visit this Webex page and search for “Syndetics Unbound.”

Interested in Syndetics Unbound at your library? Go here to contact a representative at ProQuest. Or read more about at the Syndetics Unbound website. Or email us at ltflsupport@librarything.com and we’ll help you find the right person or resource.

Labels: librarything for libraries, new feature, new features, new product

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

For ALA 2015: Three Free OPAC Enhancements

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For a limited time, LibraryThing for Libraries (LTFL) is offering three of its signature enhancements for free!

There are no strings attached. We want people to see how LibraryThing for Libraries can improve your catalog.

  1. Check Library.

    The Check Library button is a “bookmarklet” that allows patrons to check if your library has a book while on Amazon and most other book websites. Unlike other options, LibraryThing knows all of the editions out there, so it finds the edition your library has. Learn more about Check Library

  2. Other Editions

    Let your users know everything you have. Don’t let users leave empty-handed when the record that came up is checked out. Other editions links all your holdings together in a FRBR model—paper, audiobook, ebook, even translations.

  3. Lexile Measures

    Put MetaMetrics’ The Lexile Framework® for Reading in your catalog, to help librarians and patrons find material based on reading level. In addition to showing the Lexile numbers, we also include an interactive browser.

Easy to Add

LTFL Enhancements are easy to install and can be added to every major ILS/OPAC system and most of the minor ones. Enrichments can be customized and styled to fit your catalog, and detailed usage reporting lets you know how they’re doing.

See us at ALA. Stop by booth 3634 at ALA Annual this weekend in San Francisco to talk to Tim and Abby and see how these enhancements work.

If you need a free pass to the exhibit hall, details are in this blog post.

Sign up

We’re offering these three enhancements free, for at least two years. We’ll probably send you links showing you how awesome other enhancements would look in your catalog, but that’s it.

Find out more http://www.librarything.com/forlibraries or email Abby Blachly at abby@librarything.com.

Labels: alaac15, Lexile measures, librarything for libraries, ltfl

Monday, February 9th, 2015

New “More Like This” for LibraryThing for Libraries

We’ve just released “More Like This,” a major upgrade to LibraryThing for Libraries’ “Similar items” recommendations. The upgrade is free and automatic for all current subscribers to LibraryThing for Libraries Catalog Enhancement Package. It adds several new categories of recommendations, as well as new features.

We’ve got text about it below, but here’s a short (1:28) video:

What’s New

Similar items now has a See more link, which opens More Like This. Browse through different types of recommendations, including:

  • Similar items
  • More by author
  • Similar authors
  • By readers
  • Same series
  • By tags
  • By genre

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You can also choose to show one or several of the new categories directly on the catalog page.

Click a book in the lightbox to learn more about it—a summary when available, and a link to go directly to that item in the catalog.

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Rate the usefulness of each recommended item right in your catalog—hovering over a cover gives you buttons that let you mark whether it’s a good or bad recommendation.

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Try it Out!

Click “See more” to open the More Like This browser in one of these libraries:

Find out more

Find more details for current customers on what’s changing and what customizations are available on our help pages.

For more information on LibraryThing for Libraries or if you’re interested in a free trial, email abby@librarything.com, visit http://www.librarything.com/forlibraries, or register for a webinar.

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

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

NEW: Annotations for Book Display Widgets

Our Book Display Widgets is getting adopted by more and more libraries, and we’re busy making it better and better. Last week we introduced Easy Share. This week we’re rolling out another improvement—Annotations!

Book Display Widgets is the ultimate tool for libraries to create automatic or hand-picked virtual book displays for their home page, blog, Facebook or elsewhere. Annotations allows libraries to add explanations for their picks.

Station Eleven

Some Ways to Use Annotations

1. Explain Staff Picks right on your homepage.
Column McCann
2. Let students know if a book is reserved for a particular class.
Semiotics
3. Add context for special collections displays.
Blueberries for Sal

How it Works

Check out the LibraryThing for Libraries Wiki for instructions on how to add Annotations to your Book Display Widgets. It’s pretty easy.

Interested?

Watch a quick screencast explaining Book Display Widgets and how you can use them.

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, librarything for libraries, 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.

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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, 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

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 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

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

Show off your reviews in Facebook

Our new LTFL Reviews Facebook Pagetab feature lets you display recent reviews that have been written in your catalog right in Facebook—where your patrons are. This is a free update to any library that subscribes to our Reviews Enhancement. Make the most out of the reviews your patrons are writing and proudly show them off!

You can set it to show all recent reviews, or filter by category—show just the “staff picks” or “back to school” category you might have set up.

LibraryThing for Libraries Reviews Enhancement is a great addition to your library catalog—letting patrons rate and review right within your OPAC. You can also share reviews with hundreds of other libraries that use the service, as well as draw from over a million hand-vetted user reviews written by LibraryThing.com members.

The Reviews Facebook Pagetab feature dovetails nicely with the last feature we added: social media integration—allowing patrons to sign in with and post their reviews to Facebook and Twitter.

More: Reviews Blog Widget

a reviews blog widget

While we’re on the subject of showing off reviews, the Reviews Enhancement also comes with a reviews blog widget, which lets you display new reviews anywhere (not just on Facebook!). Try adding a widget to your library’s homepage or blog to highlight the activity in your catalog. See for example the homepage of the Cass District Library, the blog of City of Hayward Public Library, or how the City of Port Phillip Library shows off “recent reviews from our catalogue.” Like the Facebook Pagetab, this feature also comes free with a subscription to the Reviews Enhancement!

Instructions on creating reviews widgets are here.

How to get Reviews in Facebook

If your library currently subscribes to the Reviews Enhancement, it’s quite easy to bring reviews into Facebook. Instructions to get started are here.

If you don’t yet subscribe to Reviews, just let me know if you’d be interested in a free trial! (email abby@librarything.com).

Labels: book reviews, facebook, librarything for libraries, ltfl, LTFL Reviews, new features, reviews, social media, social networking