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NASIG 2013 -- LibX: The Small but Mighty Button for E-Resource Discovery and Access


LibX is an open source browser extension (project site: that pushes access to a library’s e-resources and services out to users wherever they are on the Internet (e.g. Amazon, …

LibX is an open source browser extension (project site: that pushes access to a library’s e-resources and services out to users wherever they are on the Internet (e.g. Amazon, Wikipedia, etc.). Once installed in Firefox or Chrome, LibX appears as a button in the upper-right corner of a user's browser window ( and its functionality includes: a search box for library resources, links to library services, dynamic links back to targeted library holdings’ information for citations and books found on freely web sites, and a “reload current page with EZ Proxy” option for easy off-campus authentication. In Fall 2012, University of Connecticut (UConn) Libraries unveiled their instance of LibX along with homegrown user guides and instructional materials as well as targeted marketing and promotion efforts such as ad campaigns, short promotional videos, flash drives, and a "How Has LibX Helped You" contest. For the contest, people were invited to submit a 100 word statement about how LibX helped them. The goal is to promote LibX, but also gain insight on how LibX is being used and what features users of LibX found most helpful. This presentation will describe the successes and challenges of UConn's LibX implementation and promotion, as well as an analysis LibX usage as self-reported by users.

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  • 1. NASIG 2013LibX: The Small but Mighty Button for E­Resource Discovery and AccessGaladriel Chilton and Joelle ThomasUniversity of ConnecticutPresentation AbstractLibX is an open source browser extension (project site: that pushes accessto a library’s e­resources and services out to users wherever they are on the Internet (e.g.Amazon, Wikipedia, etc.). Once installed in Firefox or Chrome, LibX appears as a button in theupper­right corner of a users browser window ( and itsfunctionality includes: a search box for library resources, links to library services, dynamic linksback to targeted library holdings’ information for citations and books found on freely web sites,and a “reload current page with EZ Proxy” option for easy off­campus authentication. In Fall2012, University of Connecticut (UConn) Libraries unveiled their instance of LibX along withhomegrown user guides and instructional materials as well as targeted marketing and promotionefforts such as ad campaigns, short promotional videos, flash drives, and a "How Has LibXHelped You" contest. For the contest, people were invited to submit a 100 word statement abouthow LibX helped them. The goal is to promote LibX, but also gain insight on how LibX is beingused and what features users of LibX found most helpful. This presentation will describe thesuccesses and challenges of UConns LibX implementation and promotion, as well as ananalysis LibX usage as self­reported by users.Presentation OutlineSlides Presentation NotesWho are we, where did we come from, andwhat are we going to talk  about?
  • 2. Demo other features of LibX?Now that you have an idea of what is LibX,we’d like you to join us on a short adventure ofwhy we perceive LibX to be an important toolfor libraries to implement, how we went aboutour implementation, and the trials andtribulations encountered along the way.[Joelle]One of the challenges libraries face afterspending millions of dollars on subscribingand purchasing access to databases ande­journals is figuring out how to extendaccess to users in their native online habitat.Our refering statistics show that this nativeonline habitat for a significant number of ourusers is NOT ­­ despite all of our agonizingover link placement and top level links ­­ thelibrary’s website.January 2012 through May 2013:Where were users when the clicked andgenerated and Open URL menu?January 2012 through May 2013:Where were users when they accessedSpringerLink e­journals?[Statistics courtesy of Springer]January 2012 through May 2013And how did users get to JSTOR?[Statistics courtesy of JSTOR]So clearly, if want users to access libraryresources, we need to step away from thehome page and determine other methods ofproviding and authenticating access to paidcontent...
  • 3. [Galadriel]...Because we want to meet users’expectations of providing access to theinformation that they need for their work ­ withthe goal of facilitating successful achievementof their aspirations.Philosophical UnderpinningsIn his February 7 keynote address at theLYRASIS eGathering, president and founderof The Harwood Institute, Rich Harwoodnamed four steps required of everyone in thelibrary for libraries to turn outward  and berelevant instead of just stating that we arerelevant or defending relevance.1.       Reflect Users Aspirations (When talking to your uses ­­­ could you speakto them about their aspirations as people andexperiences (not programmatically/budgetary)in their language could you look in their eyesand do it? Would they believe us? Do weunderstand our communities?2.       Creation of conditions for community towork and possibility.  Create/support  spacefor conversations, collaboration, communityto occur.3.       Impact and enduring belief. Help  in thecreation of trust  and belief in self and self aspart of bigger picture4.       Be a part of the narratives that help usmake sense of where we’ve been, where weare, where we can go. Narratives help usplace ourselves and determine where we canand need to go.Citation:Harwood, R. (2013, February). LYRASISeGathering Keynote Address. Symposiumconducted at the LYRASIS eGathering, online.Harwood Institute:­rich­harwood/
  • 4. [Joelle]Tom Scheinfeldt; UConn Libraries SpringForum, April 23, 2013If helping users meet their aspirations byproviding access to our rich collections, ourcontent than we want users to bypass thelibrarys website all together so that they willhave direct access to collections; ourcollections should be findable via Googleand...."We need to fess up to the fact that ourwebsites may never be destinations in and ofthemselves for the people we want to serve."Scheinfeldt, T. (2013, April). Perspectives andCurrent Trends in Digital Scholarship.Keynote Address. UConn Libraries SpringForum. Scheinfeldt[Joelle]So with these big philosophical underpinningsand goals ­­ One very small, tiny but mightyway to work towards meeting users in theirnative habitat, helping them achieve theiraspirations is via tools, plugins, add­ons, andAPIs like LibX.[Galadriel]The problem with LibX is that users have toknow of it’s existence in order to partake in it’smight.Thus began our plotting and scheming...Because implementing LibX aligned withelements of the UConn Libraries strategic  ­namely improving the visibility of onlineresources, this project met the criteria for
  • 5. submitting a UConn Libraries’ Planning TeamProposal that, if approved, included allocationof funds for marketing LibX.Since marketing is key, we submitted a planfor strategic project funds. Our plan wasapproved and we were allocated $3,480.00for the following marketing efforts:● UConn Co­Op Gift Certificates forPromotional Contest Winners● Daily Campus Ad● Table Tents for all Dining HallTables● Bus Ads ­ Two Separate 2­Week AdRuns ($255 for the first week, $100 foreach additional week.). First ad: firsttwo weeks of class. Second ad:Mid­terms● Promotional Jump Drives withImprint and Digital LibX Toolbar Adinstalled on Drive● In House development ofinformational fliers, etc.[Bolded marketing efforts werecompleted][Galadriel & Joelle]Creating the UConn Libraries’ instance ofLibX....[Galadriel]Galadriel configured the first iteration of LibXin a couple of hours with tearch functionalityfor the e­journal locator, Summon, GoogleScholar , the  catalog, WorldCat as well aslinks to services and help. However,configuring the search for the cluster ofEBSCO databases took some additionaltweaking ­­ an hour here and there for anadditional couple of days.A team of five library staff ­ Joelle andGaladriel as well as the Nursing subjectlibrarian, Valori Banfi, Phara Bayonne,librarian at UConn Stamford’s library, andJean Nelson, the head of PublicProgramming, Marketing &
  • 6. Communications all worked on the LibXproject.Additionally, UConn’s Library IT departmentwas very willing to add LibX to the basicimage for library computer stations.But there were other trials and tribulations  ..[ Joelle ] ­ talks about Chrome and Wikipediabreakage > what happens when you realizeyou have no control whatsoever.To some extent we were victims of timing;wed just rolled the thing out when Chromemade changes to the way it handlesextensions that caught the LibX creatorsoff­guard. Installation workarounds popped upand down, I kept changing the LibGuideinstructions, etc. Finally that all settled down.Then Wikipedia temporarily removed supportfor COinS: LibXpasses COinS info to OpenURL resolvers, sothis killed all LibX functionality on Wikipediauntil COinS was restored. As Chromesextension installation changes, we could onlywait for the problem to be fixed.]We also discovered that before launching thepromotional contest that the rules had to bereviewed and approved by UConn’s Office ofCompliance and Ethics as well as UConn’sOffice of the General Counsel ­­ excellentchecks and balances steps, buttime­consuming.Additionally, promotional video production didnot occur as quickly as planned and for avariety of reasons the following marketing/prefforts did not occur:Despite this, UConn Libraries’ instance ofLibX was live by Fall 2012 = success!
  • 7. [Galadriel & Joelle][Galadriel]So, we missed some of target dates andmarketing efforts, but....Phara Bayonne and other librarians at UConnRegional campuses introduced students andfaculty to LibX as part of the libraryintroduction and instruction sessions.Valori Banfi integrated a quick LibX demo ormention in all 29 of her fall and spring nursinginstruction sessions.In­library demos were also given by Galadrieland Joelle ­ to their areas as well as at alibrary­wide Town Hall meeting.[Joelle]While we have absolutely no idea how manypeople installed LibX and of those thatinstalled it, how many are actively using it, wedo know that from the regional campuses:there were 115 clicks to a screen capturedemo of LibX: that UConn­wide, there are 129 clicks tothe LibX install site via the UConn short URLto LibX: (129  clicks)[Galadriel]In a research workshop attended by 120 gradand post doc students, Galadriel handed outflash drives with a short cut to the LibXlibguide and gave a short demo of LibX’sfunctionality. [quote slide][Joelle]Entries in the promotional contest included...
  • 8. So we spoke earlier of the grand, noblephilosophical underpinnings of knowing ourusers’ aspirations and providing usersaccess from their native habitat.While LibX does this, it’s not perfect and  justone tiny, small tool in reaching these goals.But it’s still mighty![Might Mouse Theme Song Video]