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    July 21st, 2009LISWire aggregatorLISWire

    Palos Verdes Library District ( working with the development team at (a website development initiative offered by CraftySpace CMS) announces the launch of SOPAC (social online catalog) integrated into a new Drupal version 6 website. This launch is one of the first public library adoptions of SOPAC outside of Darien Library in CT, where John Blyberg first developed this open source technology.

    Commenting on the project, David Campbell, PVLD's Manager Digital Library Services said, "It brings a uniformity between the look of our website and our catalog. We can finally sign in with usernames and passwords like the real world (instead of library card numbers). SOPAC gave us faceting and filtered search results... and even though we had ratings and reviews before, this system is a lot better... with an improved interface design too."

    PVLD first began working with to develop a Drupal version 4.7 website, which launched in 2007. Discussions about the SOPAC integration began well over a year ago. "We knew when we started that being first was going to take longer. However, we like being an industry leader. A lot of people, a lot of libraries, are sitting on the fence with regard to technology ... I want to be an example saying yes, a library can do it, we can innovate and don't have to go with the old solutions," said Campbell. "There was no question about working with YourLibrarySite on this project since they are the industry leaders as far as SOPAC and Drupal for Libraries is concerned. Communication from YourLibrarySite was free of tech jargon and understandable. Barbara (the Project Manager) was good at getting back with quick answers. It was great."

    "We were pleased to continue our relationship with PVLD, porting the original Drupal 4.7 website we developed to version 6, adding SOPAC functionality as the online presentation layer for their iii 2007 ILS, and of course customizing Drupal and SOPAC to meet PVLD's specific needs" said Joseph Muennich, CraftySpace partner and senior project director.

    Custom development for the SOPAC integration included the creation of a flexible search widget that allows the developer to construct search strings used for searches across the website and PVLD's pre-existing WordPress blogs, as well as catalog searches. This search widget works for any URL-driven database searches. YourLibrarySite engineered the ability to pull in titles of recent WordPress blog posts onto the home page using RSS feeds. Drupal iframe functionality was improved to pull Google search results inside the website interface.

    YourLibrarySite developed a number of SOPAC-specific upgrades for the PVLD project, including support for multi-branch holds, incorporating the ability to select a home branch for any account, which then is the default for all holds - and the ability to choose non-default branch when placing a hold. An optional display of reader's checkout history was added, allowing users to turn checkout logging on or off. When it's on, they can view their history. Search speed optimization, which includes multithreaded search requests for quicker response was developed. This optimization can be fine-tuned to accommodate varying response times from different ILS installations. Additionally, "Download" links for audio books in the catalog were added.

    When asked about advice to other libraries considering major website upgrades, David Campbell offered, "You need to plan, stay disciplined and use restraint. Best not to listen to staff too much. If you want a perfect site you'll stay in beta forever. You need to have a clear project plan and a clear vision of how you want things to look in the end. You should stop looking at just library websites as examples of what to build - we were looking at sites like Amazon and eBay for our inspiration. Libraries have a tendency to copy other libraries - we should be looking at what is possible, not just what has already been done."

    "We will be posting case studies of the PVLD project to our website in the near future, and we welcome interested librarians to contact us for an in-depth walk-through of SOPAC and Drupal capabilities," said Muennich. The new PVLD SOPAC can be viewed at - search the catalog directly using the search widget in the global website header or perform faceted searches from (select "Advanced Search").

    CraftySpace CMS created YourLibrarySite to provide website packages and web development services to Public, Academic, and Special libraries. YourLibrarySite uses the Drupal open source CMS platform and is a well-established participant in the Drupal open source community. YourLibrarySite also actively works with John Blyberg and (, in implementing SOPAC 2 community-driven online catalog systems. Please visit
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  • scissors
    July 21st, 2009LISWire aggregatorLISWire

    It’s official! People are now sending more text messages than they are making cell phone calls. Librarians are aware of the popularity of texting and are ready to take their professional services to cell phones.
    Starting today, patrons of approximately 50 libraries from all over the US will be able to text a question to (309) 222-7740 and a real, live librarian will respond within minutes. The service is free of charge, but standard text messaging rates do apply. Staffed by librarians from around the country, answers are sent to cell phones by librarians in 320 characters or less, or the equivalent of two 160-character text messages.
    It’s a different way of helping people get the answers they need, wherever they are at the time, with professional assistance. The service, named My Info Quest is the first collaborative text messaging reference service of its kind. Alliance Library System ( in East Peoria, Illinois has partnered with participating libraries, Altarama ( and Peoplewhere ( to build this exciting new reference service. The pilot program will extend until December 31, 2009. Other partners include San Jose State University Graduate School of Library and Information Science, South Central Regional Library Council in New York, and TAP Information Services.

    “Text reference service is the next big “thing” to hit libraries,” said Kitty Pope, Executive Director of the Alliance Library System. “It is important because it augments traditional core reference services and meets our customers where they are. I would like to thank all the libraries who are so eager to learn this new service and to our great partners Altarama, Peoplewhere, San Jose State, TAP Information and the South Central Regional Library Council in New York; without your enthusiastic support and encouragement this project would have been impossible!”
    "The technology is the easy part. The hard part has been months of planning and preparation by dozens of creative and committed library professionals, and we're delighted to be along for the ride," said Arthur Brady, President and CEO of Altarama.

    The hours of service will be Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-10 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. For more information about My Info Quest and for a list of participating libraries, check out

    The project is still accepting new library members to join in August. Please contact Lori Bell at, or 309-694-9200 ext. 2128 if you would like to join or more information on the project.