Innovative Interfaces Encore 4.2 discovery at Senate House Library.


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I presented this talk on Encore 4.2 as part of a European Innovative Users Group (EIUG) exchange of experience day on user-facing services at the Wellcome Trust on 21 March 2012.

I described new features in the upcoming Encore release and then in more detail some of the things we have done with at Senate House Library using the ability to add custom JavaScript to the catalog.

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  • Format of talk: when questions can be asked.
  • I work for the central University of London. This is the central administrative body of the federal university of 18 colleges.I work at Senate House next to the British Museum. This is Senate House being built in 1937.
  • Senate House Libraries (plural) contains:Senate House Library itself, a large research library of about 3 million items in the arts, humanities and social sciences.The libraries of the School of Advanced study adding another 1 million items. These are specialist libraries of the institutes of the central university.We support research and teaching at our federal University as well as for researchers from about 1000 universities around the world.
  • We have Millennium R2011 and Encore Discovery. We don’t have Encore Synergy.Went live with Encore live from June 2011.It can’t yet replace the WebPAC. I positioned Encore as aggressively as possible as the “preferred” interface while still allowing readers to select WebPAC if they chose, realistically the best I can do for the time being.For Q1 2012 so far Encore usage is about is 52% total Encore & WebPAC use.Cobalt skin from September 2011. It’s nicer.
  • Here’s where to find us.Super-secret, we’re moving to a new domain later in the year.The old one will continue to work though.
  • We were an Encore 4.2 beta partner from January 2012 We went live with a beta Encore 4.2 on March 2012.I would recommend the beta testing experience to anyone.There are no major changes introduced in Encore 4.2 and some improvements we badly needed. So I was happy to do this with this within our term-time.
  • I’ll talk about these things in a bit more detail.This is in increasing order of ‘interestingness’.
  • A quick look at the new Encore then I’ll talk about some specific features
  • Front pageThere are no huge surprises on the front page.It’s still the Cobalt skinStill the provocative “single search” box to encourage keyword searchingYou can now customise for yourself:The links that appear in the footer and below your iconThe icons itself
  • Search engine results pageYou can export to Endnote (also Zotero).You can export multiple records at once by adding to the bookcart.The subjects tag clouds makes a triumphant return!
  • Subject tag cloudThe subject tag cloud was removed in Cobalt as part of getting rid of the right hand menu.I discussed the cloud with John McCullough last year and understood it was removed for usability / user interface reasons.My own testing of Encore was broadly in agreement:On the upside putting library-approved terms for things in front of the readers’ eyes was quite useful. It suggested new terms they could use to search and refine and new avenues to explore.They generally didn’t use the tag cloud for limiting, but would do another iteration of searching using words they picked up on.On the downside, they didn’t understand at all where the terms had come from, or what the cloud could be used for!
  • Last thing on the search results page.A change to how available items are displayed in the results page.Many of our readers live on the search results page. Why not - it’s pretty good.But the default Encore behaviour hides unavailable items. That’s confusing in a library like ours where we’ll have items shown that are not “available” to every type of reader.Let’s zoom in...
  • I’ve expanded the items list on the previous screenWhat you can have instead is Encore emphasising available items rather than completing hiding the unavailable ones.Originally I reported the intended behaviour as a bug to Innovative. They told me it was by design following usability testing... I think it’s great they’re doing usability testing!
  • Encore bib record display.No major changes here, I’m showing it with no customization.Please ignore that little CSS glitch on the Other Sources box.What’s on here:Highlighting search terms is possible and you can customise it.You can customise a few other colours as well in Encore Admin...
  • Custom colours.It would be nice to control the CSS ourselves and do whatever.
  • Back to our bib record.Last thing to note is a few feature for linking locations to a Web page.There’s a new option to replace your Google Maps lightbox popup with a link to a web page instead.So you click on that location and you get this popup:
  • You get this popup.Please ignore my website, we are launching a new one later in 2012.
  • So here’s Encore admin showing this. Here’s is a small sample of ours... It’s a long list.It’s just like the LOC_ wwwoption. You can use wildcards.
  • So materials booking or “self booking”.
  • It’s now possible to initiate self-booking or materials booking from Encore.We use this for Special Collections items which are reserved for consultation.If something is bookable then a link appears in search results page and bib display – says “Book it”.What happens next:
  • You’re initiating the booking from Encore not doing the whole thing there.But it does work though. And our readers already know how to use it so it’s a great improvement and something Special Collections have wanted for ages.Onwards...
  • Mobile Encore
  • You can get Mobile Encore at no cost if you are an Encore and AirPAC site already.It relies on AirPAC for Smartphones for the patron record display.It doesn’t use a mobile domain. It does browser detection – there’s where you can find it.Let’s have a look...
  • On the left the home on my Android phone in Dolphin browser.The rendering needs tidying up a bit as it’s not 100% perfect. But not bad.Search results page on the right.
  • Limiting by Facet. Mobile Encore supports the same faceting as the regular Encore.Facet selector slides out from the left when you click the button to the left of the search form.I’ve limited this to publication date: 2011 and location: Senate House LibrarySo the number “2” appears in the facet button to show two limits applied.Finally the bib display on the right – tidy.
  • Finally the article view in Encore. Maybe I could do with reworking this search a bit.That folder type thing allows me to select a different database to search.It’s OK. But definitely would not be my preferred way of consuming peer-reviewed journal articles.
  • This is the fun bit!You can put your own JavaScript in the Encore bib display to mess around with it and do various useful things.
  • It’s this simple in Encore admin.Just put some JavaScript or links to your hosted JS files in.They appear on the bib record.
  • Encore has these three divscustomTopcustomBottomandcustomSidebarwhere Innovative suggest you put things.This is where they are on the Encore bib record.So you can write in their innerHTML to put your own things in.My approach is a bit different but more on that later.
  • So what can you do with this?
  • First thing I decided to do was add a persistent link to the Encore bib display for bookmarking and linking.
  • This is a simple example, I won’t bore you with loadsaJavaScript.
  • 1. Get bib number from document.URL i.e. the URL of the pageGetting the record number from the URL of the page seemed simplest. Look at that typically nightmarish Encore URL.Well, you can get the bib number from it using indexOf and then substring to get the part of the URL that is the bib number.indexOf('record/C__R')substring(urlindex + 11,urlindex + 19)
  • I create somewhere for the link to live using document.createElementThen I write the innerHTML of the div which I make sure includes my my link in to the Encore record number.Here’s how that looks. Easy-peasy.
  • Finally I attach it using appendChild.I’m going to append my div to the customBottom div I mentioned earlier.There it is.
  • Social bookmarking linksThere it is!My view is: nowadays I expect sites I visit to include some social bookmarking features even if they are not especially social spaces or destinations themselves.I think current library catalogues are relatively unsupportive of social use. Anti-social if you like. (I will expand on this at Library Camp Leeds event in Leeds in May: most people are no longer surprised to see a ‘tweet this’ or Google +1 button and I have wanted this in Encore since the start.Let’s zoom in.
  • Zoomed in versionThis shows where I’ve moused over the popup for additional services.I used This makes things very very easy. If you register an account you can get analytics information for clicks and “viral lift” – meaning traffic driven by sharing.You can as I have customise what social networking sites appear.We’ve emphasised accounts with some academic use such as bibliographic citation sites:ConnoteaCite u LikeDiigoMendeleyEmail!
  • QR codesA QR code is a two dimensional barcode readable by a smartphone.Why: we get readers bringing phones to the enquiries desk to show us a bib record. We wanted to create a quick way for a smartphone user link between bib record and the Mobile Catalogue.Our Encore mobile use is quite small, about 3.3% total visitors so use will not be spectacular. But it’s easy to do and low risk.There is a case study about our use of QR on the m-libraries site – that’s part of the JISC Mobile Infrastructure for Libraries programme:
  • Here’s the zoomed in version of the QR code, and this is what it links to.And this is what the link expands to.Just a few points here. I shorten that URL with for a less complex QR code, easier to read on older phones. I include tracking parameters for Google Analytics as a “campaign” in the URL. That’s the stuff on the end. I use the Google Chart API to render the QR code.
  • This is where we end up on our phone.Usage not spectacular yet - we went live a week ago.There are other approaches to using QR in the catalogue:For example University of Glasgow include text about the item – title and shelfmark – as a QR code. University of Bath do the same.
  • m-libraries project case study
  • Further QR example at U of GlasgowThat QR code on the right encodes the title and shelfmark of the item as text.Credit to Mark Denham for this work – very nice.
  • This is what it looks like on my phone.I’m not sure what I would / wouldn’t include in the text.Harder to know if this is used by anyone as you can’t track use of this sort of QR code.
  • I registered on Pinterest a while ago.I was immediately struck by the appearance of a full pinboard, it made me think of this - Aby Warburg’s Mnemosyne-Atlas. That’s a picture of it.This is a series of plates (or boards) showing images from the classical period to Warburg’s present time (1920s). Loads of stuff: images of classical and renaissance art, photographs, maps, woodcuts, advertisements, fragments of text, posters, and so on – all kinds of visual media. A bit like avant-garde collage.At Senate House Libraries as we have the library of the Warburg Institute so I thought, why not support use of Pinterest to allow users to relate them to other images and construct different meanings from them?Now you’re all convinced...
  • Pinning something to Pinterest needs an image so this appears for records which have a book jacket image.How to do this:The jacket image lives in a div called azImageDiv Check the size of this div. If it’s bigger than 1x1 pixels, assume it’s a book jacket and render a bin button I use to render the button including a link to an image. We can get the ISBN from a variable Encore declares called “key”. (It uses this for Google Books lookup.) We can use the ISBN to generate a link to an Amazon jacket image.Problem: Addthis doesn’t support descriptions yet, this is really annoying.(Since this talk I’ve reworked this to use Pinterest’s own button and added a description based on the page title.
  • If you click the button you get this popup allowing you to pin.Note I am logged in to Pinterest already.
  • There’s the resulting pin at Pinterest.
  • Blog post on this
  • So in summary:This is how our bib record now looks.I am using only the customBottom div so far and need to experiment with putting things elsewhere.Downsides should be noted:You can only alter the bib record screen. Sounds obvious, but remember you are limited by what you can do in-house with JavaScript.
  • I would be pleased for you to improve my efforts at modifying the bib record.That is a pastebin where you can find our current JavaScript.Our just take a look at a record in my catalogue.
  • We covered quite a lot here.The main things to say are:Encore 4.2 has some nice improvements. Opening up the bib record to customisation is a good and necessary step forwards.I have only scratched the surface of what you can do in the Encore bib record.
  • I would love to move Senate House Libraries to Encore as our only search interface. What would that take?An Encore equivalent of the WebBridge bib table.Custom header and footer with our own to maintain a reasonably similar feel between library Web site and Encore - our experience is readers have no idea the "catalogue" is something apart from "the Web site" and I want both to look quite similar.Browseablecall number search. Actually I don't care about the call number aspect of it, I just want to be able to show what else is on the shelf nearby... this has lead me to thinking about LibraryThing for Libraries enhancement in Encore.
  • Thanks everyoneYou can contact me on Twitter @preater or by email.My blog Ginformation Systems is at
  • Innovative Interfaces Encore 4.2 discovery at Senate House Library.

    1. 1. Encore 4.2Andrew PreaterSenate House LibrariesUniversity of London
    2. 2. University of London
    3. 3. Senate House LibrariesSenate House LibraryLibraries of the School ofAdvanced Study
    4. 4. We have:Millennium R2011 1.0Encore 4.2 Discovery
    5. 5. Currently here: later in 2012:
    6. 6. Beta testing
    7. 7. New features1. Highlights2. Materials booking3. Mobile Encore4. Custom JavaScript
    8. 8. 1. Highlights
    9. 9. CustomcoloursIncludes highlightcolour!
    10. 10. Linkinglocations
    11. 11. 2. Materials booking
    12. 12. 3. Mobile Encore
    13. 13. Should detect your phone browser, if not:
    14. 14. Homepage Results page
    15. 15. Facets Bib display
    16. 16. Article search
    17. 17. 4. Your JavaScript in theencore bib display
    18. 18. Examples of things youcan do with custom JS
    19. 19. Persistent link
    20. 20. This is a simple example
    21. 21. 1. Get bib number from document.URL
    22. 22. 2. Create a div using document.createElement3. Write the innerHTML of the divInclude the persistent URL: + bib number
    23. 23. 4. Attach it to the customBottom div using appendChild
    24. 24. Social bookmarking links
    25. 25. Social bookmarking links
    26. 26. QR codes
    27. 27. QR codes
    28. 28. QR codes
    29. 29. m-libraries case study:
    30. 30. Pin records to Pinterest Mnemosyne-Atlas boards photographed by Flickr user dzsil, license CC-BY-SA
    31. 31. azImageDiv
    32. 32. Pin records to Pinterest
    33. 33. Blog post:
    34. 34. Please steal and improvemy JavaScript:
    35. 35. Summary1. Changes to look & feel2. Materials booking3. Mobile Encore4. Custom JavaScript
    36. 36. Room for improvement
    37. 37. Thank youMe: @preater