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Free and Innovative

There is a ton of free innovatve software that you can implement in your portal. I wonder how many cool applications are out there in libraries of all kinds using the following:
1. Blogger (or other blogging services)and RSS
2. Bloglines to aggregate your blog and RSS subscriptions
4. Facebook to see the next generation of social networkingin colleges and high schools
5. Flickr to post digital photos online and to tag and annotate them.
6. LibraryThing to catalogue small personal collections.
7. MSN Photo Album to build an album to share with colleagues.
8. Myspace and see how this service has become so huge globally.
9. Custom bookmarklets
10. PubSub to start searching the future.
11. Experiment with some sound and picture search engines like Podscope.
12. Links to different, non-mainstream web search engines like Exalead, Wink, Gravee, Clusty, Mooter, Kartoo, etc. or others we can find at Search Engine Watch’s list.
13. Visual display tools like Grokker.
14. Google Base to see what the fuss is all about.
15. to share bookmarks and to play with social bookmarking and tags.
16. Google Picasa account to post pictures and edit them
17. Do intersting things with MP3 files a la iTunes, LimeWire, Kazaa, and/or eDonkey. Look for something that’s not music too.
18. Podcasting local, teen and/or library issues.
19. Use Google Maps on your library website.
20. Use Copernic and extend your searching.
This isn’t a comprehensive list – just a bunch of stuff that’s almost or is ready for primetime. The barrier isn’t cost here since they’re mostly free. The hurdle is basically just our imaginations and energy. Either way it would be great to collect the efforts of all libraries in building small innovative applications in their websites and portals.
Any suggestions for other cool opportunities?
I’d love to hear about innovation in your library portals using all kinds of applications that improve the user experience. Use the blog comments link or send me an e-mail at Another place to look and post is the Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki.

Posted on: January 2, 2006, 9:25 pm Category: Uncategorized

4 Responses

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  1. Stephen,
    I am just waking up to the social web or Web 2.0 and your blog is the one I check out to see what’s new and hot! Thanks for sharing and keep it up. I learn something everytime I read your blog.
    I have released some books into the wild at and will be considering adding this link to our website for our patrons to use.
    We are also looking into putting up a blog. We would like to have patrons involved in the content as well as adding comments.
    It would be great to hear what others are doing on their websites.

  2. Thanks for this great list! You include several that I’m familiar with, but several new ones (for me) to look into as well. Have you heard of Ning ( I don’t know much about it, but it looks interesting.

  3. James said

    I saw that you have a page that discusses patent-related resources at I wanted to suggest adding to the page. This web site has free PDF downloading (instead of having to page through TIFFs like at the US PTO). It is by far the best free patent searching site.