The following is a press release for local papers. I thought it would be helpful to published the unedited (with links intact) version here.

Cook Memorial Library in Tamworth, NH has been chosen to be the beta test for a brand-new website design for public libraries. Our new site, www.tamworthlibrary.org, was designed by Scriblio.net as a prototype website for small public libraries. Scriblio’s founders, Casey Bisson and Lichen Rancourt received a prestigious Mellon Foundation Grant under the sponsorship of Plymouth State University to develop this software as an open source (available for free on the Internet) replacement for a library’s online catalog. It includes several innovative and dynamic features that improve the usability, findability, and remixability of a library’s online collection–even making titles in the collection visible to web search engines so that library holdings can be found in Google and elsewhere.

Scriblio’s design integrates the catalog with the rest of the website. Most online catalogs stand alone and apart from the rest of the website on which they are published, and can’t interact with the rest of the site’s information. On this website, the local history page which lists our holdings can link to those titles in the catalog, making the individual titles more accessible.

This website is fully searchable. The search box on the navigation bar allows you to type in keywords to search the library’s online collection, or the website and all its content, or both at once. Type in “traveling pants” and voila!

This website has “Web 2.0” interactivity. The user can comment on any of the content on the website, and so doing, help to create valuable content by adding remarks. See the buzz on this title. This interactivity allows the possibility of simulating online what happens at the circulation desk in the library every day with staff talking about books and library events to patrons, and patrons talking about books and library events to one another. We hope www.tamworthlibrary.org will encourage the online exchange of ideas and book recommendations among patrons. Patrons can also renew and reserve titles by making a comment. Another 2.0 feature is that any new content on the site can be RSS fed to an e-mail, a cell phone, a blackberry, or whatever.

Scriblio built this website entirely of open source software, all available for free on the Internet, in order to make it more affordable for small libraries on limited budgets. As a “beta test” prototype, this website did not cost the Town of Tamworth any money to build. Scriblio has created this website for free in return for the opportunity to work with “a real live library” in which the library’s users can help improve design by making comments on the site’s functionality. So please keep those comments coming.

We’ve had the site up since February and are pleased to see the increase in traffic, nearly 5000 daily page loads. Because each post and title on the site is searchable via its tags by search engines, this library’s entire collection is accessible to web searches. If someone types “Chocorua Mountain Club” into a Google search, they will get items in our local history collection in their search results. This is a first. Heretofore, on-line library collections have been invisible to searches.

Please note that being a beta test means that the website will be continually tweaked, with functionality changing and developing constantly. Sometimes functions will be missing, like tagging right now, and then will come back in a different form. Be patient with us. “In development” means just that.

web 2.0, web design, scriblio, research, library, development, libraries

Welcome, a Second Time
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