Just in time for end-of-semester projects, the University of Texas Libraries has introduced a page of tools that make finding and using information on the Web a lot easier.
The "Library Widgets" page (LIBwidgets) has been posted on the Libraries’ Web site to provide library users central access to a variety of tools that can be used for finding, storing and organizing information from almost every corner of the Internet.
The page features an assortment of applications and browser add-ons that will allow users to use the Libraries’ resources through their computers and personal devices in tandem with sites across the Internet such as del.icio.us, Google, Flickr and Wikipedia. All LIBwidgets are free for download.
Some of the featured tools include:
- A Library Catalog Web browser plugin that allows users to search the University of Texas Libraries catalog using a Web browser’s search toolbar.
- A Google gadget that users can add to their personalized iGoogle homepages, blogs, Blackboard page or any other Web page.
- A Facebook application that allows users to access information from the University of Texas Libraries from within Facebook.
- An add-on for Firefox or Internet Explorer that will automatically add "Find it at UT" buttons to resources listed on popular sites such as Wikipedia, Google News Archive and Google Scholar.
- An add-on for Firefox that allows users to send text information such as catalog call numbers to their cell phones.
The LIBwidgets page also allows users to submit recommendations for tools that may not be listed on the site, but could be useful to other users.
"We want to locate library services wherever users are working online-whether they are using course materials in Blackboard, searching Google, interacting with friends on Facebook ,or simply using a Web browser," says Libraries’ Associate Director for User Services Damon Jaggars. "You shouldn’t have to come to the library Web site to access library services, and LIBwidgets is our first step in moving the library into the daily online workflow of UT students and faculty."
The LIBwidgets project is one of several forays by the Libraries into the reaches of Web 2.0, a movement to increase interactive creativity, collaboration and information sharing on the Internet through the advent of user-generated content technologies and structures. Other recent initiatives have included the collaborative digitization project between the Libraries and Google and the newly upgraded Libraries catalog, both of which have unique Web applications.
A demonstration screencast for some of the Widgets is available for viewing online.