[LibX] Re: Libx Digest, Vol 1, Issue 3

Tony Hirst tony.hirst at gmail.com
Sat Apr 29 22:38:12 EDT 2006


> So far, we followed the principle in LibX that we do not initiate a
> search against a library catalog without explicit input from the user.
> That input must come in form of a mouse click, or drag-n-drop, or
> pressing enter.
>
> An alternative approach is to be more aggressive, and perform lookups
> without explicit consent. For instance, on book vendor sites, we could
> not only place a link for the user to find the book, but we could look
> into the catalog and see if the book is available and display the
> result, in the style of some library lookup scripts. (An example
> screenshot is here: http://blogs.open.ac.uk/Maths/ajh59/006028.html ).
>
> Is this a feature that people would welcome, or feel skeptical about?
> We would probably have to offer a user-specific customization option
> to turn it off, so people don't leave a trail of their amazon browsing
> activity in their library's logs.


For me, the automatic library lookup on Amazon scripts are as much to do
with exploring the idea of Amazon as a fulfillment agent, and finding
sensible, additional library related channels that can be used to enhance
their fulfilment potential. For example, Amazon already link to 2nd hand
resellers, very prominently when Amazon can;t fulfil your wishes.

As a corollary to this, I think it may be useful (at times) to start
thinking of libraries as information fulfillment agencies and here the
library lookup can perhaps be thought of as some sort of affiliate service (
e.g. just as I put Amazon looks on my websites, in the hope of referral
fees, library lookup is a service that libraries can offer to other sites
looking to earn "loan stars"!;-)

As to whether the user should be allowed to switch the service on or off -
yes, definitely. Looking to things like the Google toolbar, many of the
services that can be used must be switched on by the user via an options
panel.

How you go about desiding which options should be enabled on installation,
and which should require the user to explicitly enable them, I don;t know...

tony
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