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LISZEN Reloaded

On October 26th, 2006 LISZEN went live with 530 searchable blogs.  Today that number has grown to over 750 blogs thanks to blogger submissions.  In light of the 1 year anniversary of LISZEN, I decided to rework the site design from the ground up.

Those familiar with the old search page design would agree that it had a Google feel to it.  This consisted of a standard logo and a few links leading to additional information.  In a word, the design was simple. 

When setting off to give LISZEN a new feel I had a few goals in mind:

  • Reduce number of clicks to get to desired information.
  • Offer a way for library bloggers to promote LISZEN.
  • Create a unique results page that focuses on results.
  • Continue to keep the Graphical User Interface (GUI) simple.

I believe the new version of LISZEN meets all of these goals.  And I hope others agree.  As always, if you have a suggestion for improving the design shoot me an email.  Many improvements were the result of comments and the ever wonderful Google Analytics data.

So, have at it… the newly redesigned LISZEN.

(Old Search Page Design)

(Old Search Page Design: Results)

(New Search Page Design)

(New Search Page Design: About)

( New Search Results Design: Promote)

(New Search Results Design: Results)

LISZEN: Searching Trends and Notable Blogs

Since it has been a few months since I’ve provided a the “monthly top ten searches” I’ve decided to instead compile a list of the top 20 from April 1st, 2007 – August 15, 2007.  So here we go:

  1. Library 2.0 (+2)
  2. Service
  3. Information Literacy (-1)
  4. “Barbara O’ Connor” (-3)
  5. Twitter (-1)
  6. Exalead
  7. “Generation Y”
  8. Dominican
  9. Harry Potter
  10. Older Adults
  11. Web 2.0
  12. Seattle Public Library
  13. Google Scholar
  14. Search Engine
  15. “National Library Week” 2007 Ideas
  16. Contra Costa
  17. Ex Libris SFX
  18. Library Signs
  19. School Library
  20. solr

As usual Library 2.0 and Information Literacy hovered at the top, but a number of new trends have made their way up.

Highlighted Blogs

Senior Friendly Libraries

Resources and discussion about library services to older adults.

Librarian Central

Your official source for Google tips, new and updates.  (Which  mentioned LISZEN in its May 28th newsletter- thanks Google)

Prairie Librarian

A wide open space to talk about libraries and First Peoples, the environment and more!

Morphed Librarian

“Librarians need to change to keep up with technological changes in the profession. Many of us have ‘morphed’ into techies (we were already nerds)”

Dewey & Main

Where library meets local

Obnoxious Librarian from Hades

Library satire inspired by BOFH.

Final Notes

As usual, thanks for all the submissions.  There has been a bit of a bottleneck with maintaining Library Zen, LISZEN and working on other projects.  However, things are beginning to settle down.

With my final semester as a LIS student approaching the launch of LISZEN: Social (codename) has been delayed.  An update will be provided in the next couple months.

Second Life Spoof

For those that enjoyed the “Get a First Life” campaign. Check out the video below- this is seriously how I feel when interacting in Second Life. I’d say the major drawback of the Second Life is usability.  No matter how you feel about Second Life, you’ll be sure to get a laugh from this spoof if you’ve tried “interacting” in the virtual world.

LISZEN: Top Ten Searches + Highlighted Blogs

Top Ten Searches

Here are the top ten searches for March. A lot of new and interesting search terms.

  1. “Barbara O’Connor” (+1)
  2. information literacy (+2)
  3. Library 2.0 (-2)
  4. Twitter (new)
  5. Corinthian (new)
  6. Google (+3)
  7. Wisconsin (new)
  8. Library Technology (new)
  9. Dell+Hell March 2007 (new)
  10. Post-Processing (new)

5 Highlighted Blogs

Librarian of the Possible

Musician, public librarian, bookseller, cook, cyclist, dumpster diver, theatre usher, Masters student. Passionate about public libraries for social justice, community development, information literacy, emerging technologies. BA, Grad Dip (LIS), Social Work background, completing MA (Public Administration).

Further & Higher

To 999, and beyond.


Five librarians review online information tools.

The Librarian in the Stacks

Just adding to the many wondrous experiences wrought by the public.

The OPLIN 4cast

The OPLIN 4cast is a weekly compilation of headlines, topics, and trends that could impact public libraries, published in a blog format.

Final Notes

Thanks for all the submissions- LISZEN is nearing the 700 blog milestone! In the meantime, I’ve started to migrate the “Library Zen Network” over to a new server. This is in anticipation of my newest project being completed in August. LISZEN has already been moved over to the new server which leaves Library Zen as the final stage. The Library Zen Wiki will continue to give updates on such changes or outages.

National Library Week: Corner Banner

National Library Week it just around the corner (pun not indented) and if you’re looking for a quick way to promote the special occasion, look no further.

The corner banner will displayed in the upper right corner of your website. The code is provided below and can be demoed over at LISZEN, enjoy!

Place in <Header>:

<style type=text/css>
#topright {
position: absolute;
right: 0;
top: 0;
display: block;
height: 216px;
width: 216px;
background: url(http://liszen.com/banner/national_library_week.gif) no-repeat;
text-indent: -999em;
text-decoration: none;

Place below <Body> (includes link):

<a id=topright href=http://yoursite.com title=Library Week>Library Week</a>

Place below <Body>:

<a id=topright title=Library Week>Library Week</a>

Below are some additional colors you can use for your site:


New Library Classification System Created

This week a new classification system was introduced to the library world.  It includes 10 main categories as follows:

  1. Computer science, information, and general works
  2. Philosophy and psychology
  3. Religion
  4. Social Sciences
  5. Language
  6. Science
  7. Technology
  8. Arts and recreation
  9. Literature
  10. History and geography

The new system is being called the “Melvil Decimal Classification” and offers a number of benefits for libraries wishing to switch from the inferior Dewey Decimal Classification ®.  These benefits include; not needing to re-label any books or place a ® symbol on posters referring to the new classification system- an ink saver.

This new system was created by Conan the Librarian, well known for his library advocacy videos. “He really has a way of persuading people and I’d expect 99.9% of all libraries to be using the system next year” commented an anonymous ALA member.

Critics argue that the system is exactly the same as the Dewey Decimal Classification ® and therefor has the same flaws. Conan responded that, “these flaws would be fixed with Melvil 2.0” a more “user centered” classification upgrade.

When asked if April Fool’s Day would still be classified as 392.262, Conan let out a roar and yelled “Don’t you know the Melvil Decimal System!”

LISZEN: Plugin Fix

Please Read: Required Update

LISZEN Search 2.0 Plugin (click on link to install) has been released today.  Any previous versions of the Plugin will no longer work.  The update is necessary for a minor change in the structure of the search engine- switched from an HTML to a PHP extension.  The Plugin remains compatible with Firefox 2.0+ and IE7.

With the new structure you can expect improvements to the LISZEN results page in the near future.  You will notice that the “white space” at the end of a search result has been eliminated (a common complaint).  I apologize for any inconvenience.

LISZEN: Top Ten Searches + Highlighted Blogs

Top Ten Searches

Here are the top ten searches for February. For the first time ever a name made it to the list- congrats to Barbara O’ Conner.

  1. Library 2.0 (unchanged)
  2. “Barbara O’Connor” (new)
  3. reference (+1)
  4. information literacy (-2)
  5. ex libris (-2)
  6. new library design (unchanged)
  7. “Google Custom Search” (+4)
  8. trends (new)
  9. Google (-2)
  10. librarything (-5)

Highlighted Blogs

Thank you to everyone that submitted a new blog this month. LISZEN now searches 675+ blogs. Here some of the blogs submitted that I’d like to highlight:

Library Playground

The purpose of this site is to present news and commentary about evolving technology trends in the world of libraries.

Fahrenheit 451: Banned Books

A discussion on censorship through the Pelham Public Library, Fonthill, Ontario. A comprehensive list of “banned book” sites and resources for the novel “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury can be found on the sidebar.

Discovery Tools

The Discovery Tools Blog is John Houser’s personal blog dealing with emerging technologies in libraries.

Allan’s Library

Blog by MLIS student, Allan Cho, blog touches on Web 2.0 technologies and Library 2.0 concepts for libraries.

The Grammatically Incorrect Librarian

“Yet another blog to add to the chaos.”

Final Note

I continue to be amazed at the number of quality blogs that are emerging and feel extra special to be one of the first places people go to announce a new blog. Since it would be unfair to keep all these phenomenal blogs to myself I plan on providing “highlighted blogs” with each monthly update. Enjoy!

Online Dictionary Reborn

WordSource (beta), a new online dictionary, has been released.  It’s very functional, clean, and incorporates a social network.  Users can upload words, cite words, and even vote on words.  When I looked up the word book, I received the following result: 

 1 person says that they like this word.
 0 people say that they dislike this word.
 0 people think that they are this word!
 This is the perfect word in the eyes of 0 people.
 0 people feel all warm and fuzzy inside about this word.
 This word caused 0 people to fail an English test.
 0 people always have trouble spelling this word.

Now go check it out.  And don’t forget to vote that you like the following words: book, library, and librarian.  You do, however, have to sign up to do so (should have known there would be a catch).