I respect the general stance of the ALA and public libraries on privacy issues with patron records, but I can’t help but imagine all the wonderful widgets the library could create for patrons. Yelp.com has a “recent reviews” widget so users can place a mini Google map of all the places they’ve reviewed on their blog (although it does not work with “environments”, as I discovered in last week’s lesson. It serves the dual purpose of providing an extra special customized service for the user and creating a publicity tool for Yelp. What if patrons could place a widget of “Books I’ve Read,” “Books I’d Like to Read,” or even “My Reviews” on their blog or start page? I believe some patrons would appreciate the higher level of service and it would create mini-outposts for the library’s web presence.
Widgets could also be created for use on city or community websites, perhaps a “San Francisco is Reading…” widget with a list of the top five checked out books. Local groups which meet at the library might appreciate a widget of their upcoming meeting times for their web pages, or children’s service organizations could have a widget detailing upcoming children’s programming at the library.
What I was most impressed with in this week’s lesson were the possibilities for republishing research oriented RSS feeds. The subject guides created by MIT using delicious in particular seemed like an easy way to create a very rich and easy to use resource.