March 05, 2008

Another Cool (End-user) Widget

I'm close to reading an article in National Geographic about animal cognition (which I'll blog soon, hopefully), when I spotted this at the bottom of the page:
NGM Widgets
Put National Geographic images and puzzles on your web page.
Awesome. Widgets for normal people who want to see more National Geographic "stuff." This stuff includes a jigsaw puzzle out of a National Geographic photograph, a great photo of the day:

and their "Daily Dozen" - 12 photos they like each day.

So back to my earlier post about ESPN football widgets (Widgets! Libraries Need 'Em). We need to be offering creative widget-y things for end-users to put on their web space -- blogs, iGoogle, NetVibes, Facebook, course web sites -- so they can easily search & use library materials. I envision widgets for searching the opac (like what WorldCat does with its search box, only with stuff from YOUR library), searching EBSCO, ProQuest, iCONN, institutional repositories, archives (Conn. History Online, eg) ...

LibGuides and ProQuest are two companies I know of that let *librarians* create widgets and put them someplace handy (see my sample ProQuest widgets -- thanks PQ!). That's a great first step. But I'm talking about widgets for end-users: students (college, high school, graduate), teachers at all levels ... Look at the instructions for National Geographic's widgets and see how easy they are to create and use.

Anything that we put online for users to use should be made easier to use, find, and "widget-able" for people to put wherever they want.


Gary Atwood said...

EBSCO will allow you to create search boxes (as other web content as well) that you can embed into a web page as a kind of widget. Even better, regular folks can create them although it is not all that obvious how to do it.

You're right, though. We need more library oriented widgets! --Gary A.

Marilyn Terrell said...

Thanks Stephanie for telling people about the puzzle widget at National Geographic (where I work). I started playing the full-size jigsaw puzzles on their site in October, and since then they've added hundreds more puzzle photos to choose from and created the puzzle widget to help spread the word. We're also lobbying our widget guy to make one for the Map of the Day feature, which tends to get overlooked on our website: