6 Chrome Browser Extensions Every Librarian Needs

Google ChromeA look at global browser market share data will show that Google’s Chrome browser commands more than half of the browser market (58.4% for January 2017, to be specific).  The market share might be even higher among librarians (who have a choice at work).  If you’re not a Google Chrome user, these six browser extensions might make you switch.

If you’ve never considered browser extensions, they are plugins or small applications that add functionality to your browser.  Sometimes they work in the background (like Grammarly, below) but usually they work when you click on a small icon that gets added to the browser’s toolbar.

Chrome browser extension icons

Google has a huge Chrome Web Store for browser extensions, most of them are free.  They offer help to install and manage extensions but for the most part, a single click will install an extension.  Sometimes additional configuration options are available.

Here are six Chrome browser extensions every librarian needs.

Adobe Acrobat

Adobe Acrobat browser extensionConvert any webpage to a PDF document.  According to Adobe, the Adobe Acrobat extension will “[p]reserve the layout, formatting, and links of captured pages – including CSS styles, HTML5 tags, JavaScript, embedded Flash, and more.”  Note that this Chrome extension works only on Windows and that Adobe Acrobat DC or Adobe Acrobat XI (11.0.09 or higher) must be installed on your computer.

Add the Adobe Acrobat browser extension.

DOI Resolver

DOI Resolver browser extension

The DOI Resolver extension does exactly what its name suggests.  Often on publisher sites and institutional repository pages, Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) are shown (such as 10.1016/S0921-4526(00)00753-5) but aren’t actual links.  DOI Resolver allows you to highlight the DOI, right-click, and select “Resolve DOI” to be taken directly to the item.  Also, clicking on the DOI Resolver icon opens a DOI search.  One useful feature is the extension’s ability to generate a QR code for the DOI.

Add the DOI Resolver browser extension.

Google Scholar Button

Google Scholar Button browser extension

Even if you don’t normally use Google Scholar to locate journal articles, the extension has some very useful features for the researcher.  Using the Google Scholar Button Chrome extension’s browser icon, users can search for the full-text version of a highlighted article title, immediately switch from Google to Google Scholar search results, and create article citations in several styles.

Add the Google Scholar Button browser extension.

Grammarly for Chrome

Grammarly for Chrome browser extension

We all have spelling and grammar checking in Microsoft Word and other favorite text editing applications.  But if you do any writing on the Web, you often find you don’t have these features.  The Grammarly for Chrome browser extension adds spelling, grammar, and word choice checking to your online writing in applications such as LibAnswers, WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, online forms, and many others.  Check out other free products from Grammarly.

Add the Grammarly for Chrome browser extension.

Library Extension

Library Extension browser extension

This extension might not help your work, but it is a useful tool for finding library books.  Library Extension adds a box to book sites Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, and Google Books to find titles in your local public library.  It supports “over 3200 library systems and consortiums across the Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.”  Before adding, you can check to see if your library is supported.

Add the Library Extension browser extension.

Wayback Machine

Wayback Machine browser extension

In the course of research or other browsing of the Internet, you probably have tried to access webpages that no longer exist.  If you wished you had one-click access to an archived version of the missing webpage, you’re now in luck.  The Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine created a browser extension for Google Chrome that allows you to do just that.  When you reach a missing page (the dreaded 404 error page), the Wayback Machine Chrome extension gives you a link to the latest archived version of that page (if available).

Add the Wayback Machine browser extension.