in Libraries/Info Sci, Tech, UAH

UAH library browser tools

This has been my pet project for the last few weeks:

Browser tools!

As the name implies, I pulled together a number of browser-based search options for our resources. So far we’ve got: Firefox search bar plugins (for that search box in the upper right corner) for the catalog and Academic Search Premier, IE7 search bar plugins for the same two resources, and a full fledged Firefox toolbar with a number of campus-related links and search options.

It isn’t quite live to the public yet – I want to increase the list of search bar plugins available, and I’m still toying with a couple of options for an IE toolbar.

They probably won’t be much good to anyone not affiliated with UAH, as everything gets routed through our proxy, but I’m just proud of the results and wanted to share 🙂

Here’s some stuff I learned in the process:

  1. Firefox toolbars are really easy to hand code – it’s just XML and javascript, and mostly takes a bit of trial and error. This tutorial was very helpful.
  2. IE toolbars are unfortunately much more complicated – the programming involved is beyond my level of expertise, at least for something to be done in my spare time at work. I’m looking at toolbar generators like instead, which a lot of other libraries have used.
  3. Firefox search bar plugins are pretty simple to look at once created, but if the url for a database or catalog is complicated, creating it is a bit of a headache your first time.
  4. IE7’s search bar plugins conform to the Opensearch standard, and are ridiculously easy to code. Each one is a simple XML file – the part that took me the longest was figuring out that XML doesn’t like raw ampersands in the content.
  5. I’ve starded using these tools in my day to day work, and the number of clicks and page loads I’ve cut down on is amazing.

Mostly, I just hope someone else finds them useful. I learned a lot in the process of creating these tools, and look forward to expanding our list.