By Peter Magierski
January 21, 2011
Recent years have seen a steady increase in the number of online tools intended to facilitate access to and organization of information. Some of these tools are focused on helping researchers manage the rapidly expanding universe of bibliographic and other scholarly data. Libraries—including NYU—have been working hard to simplify the management of research and bibliographic data though software and web-based solutions; this article focuses on LibX, a web browser extension that has proven useful to many NYU scholars.
While many librarians might expect scholars to begin their research on the library's website, in reality this is not always the case. It is a well-documented fact that researchers increasingly discover information via multiple channels, often starting with a web search engine. In doing so, they face the challenge of weeding out the sometimes irrelevant or questionable search results and then bridging the gap between their online research and their library's set of authoritative print and electronic resources.
The LibX browser extension, recently launched by NYU Libraries, is an innovative tool that helps scholars address this challenge. With the help of LibX, you can access NYU Libraries resources directly from Firefox and Internet Explorer browsers. You can search Google or Yahoo, browse books on Amazon.com, or read email, and be just a click away from discovering whether or not NYU owns a particular title, or provides full text access to a journal, magazine or newspaper. This article describes NYU's implementation of the LibX tool, explains its main features, and provides links for you to download and try it yourself.
LibX is a web browser plugin that lets scholars connect to resources offered by their library. It was developed by Godmar Back and Annette Bailey from Virginia Tech University. Since 2005, over 800 libraries have tailored it to meet their own community's needs. The NYU version of LibX allows you to:
Perhaps LibX's most exciting feature is its automatic inclusion of the NYU search button, making it a simple matter to conduct a keyword search of Bobcat for the desired item.
Similarly, clicking on the NYU icon on an Amazon.com web page will search the Library's catalog for the sought-after title, and show the book's availability at Bobst Library.
Another convenient feature is the ability to search NYU catalogs based on text you select from any web page or email message. LibX enables you to highlight text, right-click to open the contextual menu, then immediately search for those keywords in BobCat, WorldCat, Google Books, Google Scholar, e-journals and other library resources. The search feature also works with non-Roman scripts (Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Hebrew, and others).
Currently, LibX is available for Firefox (Mac and Windows) and Internet Explorer (Windows). To install the LibX plug-in and learn about its additional features, visit nyu.libguides.com/tools. We hope you'll try the search functions of LibX, and let us know about your experience. Comments and questions can be submitted via Ask a Librarian (library.nyu.edu/ask).
Peter Magierski is the Librarian for Middle East Studies at NYU Bobst.