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.

Basics and Resources Series 2016

Last year we created a Basics and Resources series to introduce some common library technology topics.  As you can guess from the name, in each article we introduced the basic concepts and listed resources where you could learn more.  Based on feedback, these articles proved very popular and we will be posting more in the coming year.

The Basics and Resources articles from 2016 were:

Linked Data

Linked Data mugLinked Data is a set of practices which involves the publishing, sharing, and connecting of related data across the Web in a structured format, preferably using an open access license.

Read Linked Data: Basics and Resources.

BIBFRAME

BIBFRAMEBIBFRAME is a bibliographic framework for the description of physical and online objects to make them accessible on the Web by using a standard Linked Data model. It is a replacement for MARC.

Read BIBFRAME: Basics and Resources.

Altmetrics

Altmetric ScoreAltmetrics are “alternative metrics” to measure the influence and reach of scholarly output on the Web through peer-review counts, influential news sites and blog posts, citation manager bookmarks such as Mendeley, Wikipedia citations, and social media mentions on sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

Read Altmetrics: Basics and Resources.

API

API GraphicAPI stands for Application Programming Interface which allows external applications to access software or Web services data, in the latter case by using HTTP request messages, for recombination (mashup) or custom presentation by the external application.

Read API: Basics and Resources.

We will keep a current list on the Basics and Resources Series page.

Support Open Access Resources

Open Access LogoWe continue our celebration of Open Access Week.

While open access repositories and journals are free for end users, they do cost money to set up and maintain.  Forward-thinking libraries are beginning to allocate funds to support open access resources.

Here are some open access resources you should consider supporting.

BioMed Central

BioMed CentralBioMed Central contains over 290 peer-reviewed journals in Biology, Clinical Medicine, and Health.  Your library can get an institutional membership to manage Article Processing Charges (APCs).

Knowledge Unlatched

Knowledge UnlatchedKnowledge Unlatched creates packages of scholarly books in the humanities and social studies which are “unlatched” to become open access ebooks through membership contributions.  The first two rounds allowed the release of over 100 titles, made available for free via the HathiTrust Digital Library and OAPEN.  The pledging period for the next collection, KU Select 2016, runs through January 31, 2017.

Open Library

Open LibraryOpen Library is an initiative of the Internet Archive with “one web page for every book” ever published.  Users can read public domain “classic books” for free or borrow up to five titles for two weeks each.  Users can contribute by adding books or editing records. Sign up for a personal account or register your library to provide in-library loans for users on your library network.

Open Library of Humanities

Open Library of HumanitiesThe Open Library of Humanities (OLH) is a UK-based open access publishing platform for scholarly peer-reviewed articles.  The OLH charges no author fees, but is “funded by an international consortium of libraries” along with grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.  Annual fees range from $534 to $1,600 based on institution size.  US libraries can join through LYRASIS at lyrasis.openlibhums.org.

PLOS

PLOSAdd PLOS ONE (and other PLOS publications) to your library’s databases list and activate PLOS ONE in your discovery service.  There are several ways you can get involved.  You and your institution’s faculty can publish in PLOS.  Your library can become an institutional member to handle Article Processing Charges (APCs) for your faculty.  Or you can simply donate to PLOS.  See www.plos.org/get-involved.

Open Access Week 2016

Open Access Week

International Open Access Week starts today and runs from October 24–30, 2016.  For all of the details, visit www.openaccessweek.org.

This year’s theme is “open in action” with an emphasis on how you can take practical steps to implement open access in your library or support its growth.

Open Access Week 2016

Ways to Participate

Many organizations which embrace and promote open access are sponsoring events to encourage participation in open access resources. Here are just a few of them.

Open Access Week Commitment

The Open Access Week organization is asking librarians to sign up and take “concrete steps to open up research and scholarship and encourag[e] others to do the same”.  Sign up at www.action.openaccessweek.org.

TwitterFollow on Social Media

Follow and use the Twitter hashtag #OAWeek.

 

Get an ORCID iD

Do you have an ORCID iD?ORCID Open Access Week iD Register  ORCID stands for Open Researcher and Contributor ID and is a unique 16-digit number which distinguishes you from other researchers in online resources.  Register for an ORCID iD at orcid.org/register.

Join COAPI

Coalition of Open Access Policy Institutions (COAPI) The Coalition of Open Access Policy Institutions (COAPI) exists to allow member libraries to help develop and share open access policies.  Sponsored by SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), COAPI offers best practices and advocacy for open access.  To become a member library, see sparcopen.org/become-a-member.

Support Open Access Resources

Open Access LogoWhile open access repositories and journals are free for end users, they do cost money to set up and maintain.  Forward-thinking libraries are beginning to allocate funds to support open access resources (and to support faculty who want to contribute articles to them).  Here’s how you can support open access resources.

Join the FOLIO Project

FOLIOFOLIO stands for the Future of Libraries is Open, an open source library services platform. Learn more about it by reading our recent FOLIO: An Open Library Services Platform article.  Work has progressed swiftly since its introduction in June 2016.  Join the FOLIO Project Discussion site to get involved.

Bake Some Cookies

Think open access only applies to online resources?  You can bake your very own cookies in the shape of the open access logo with a cookie cutter printed from your 3D printer using some open access cookie cutter printer files.  The scalable files are in .stl and .dae format and were created by Chip Wolfe from Hunt Library at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.  Download the open access cookie cutter files.

Open Access Cookie Cutter

API: Basics and Resources

API stands for Application Programming Interface which allows external applications to access software or Web services data, in the latter case by using HTTP request messages, for recombination (mashup) or custom presentation by the external application.

Why use APIs?

Application programming interfaces essentially allow programs and online services to talk to each other.  APIs provide a set of definitions and protocols for services to request and exchange data.  Many library vendors provide public and key-based APIs to their services in order to allow customers to pull bibliographic and other data into local systems and websites.

The Basics

For our purposes, we’ll only look at Web APIs.

Web services and applications exchange data through APIs using a request and response system.  The exchange uses HTTP and HTTPS (secure HTTP) like regular Web requests, however the data isn’t formatted for people to read but rather for other services.  The data format is usually expressed in JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) or Extensible Markup Language (XML).

API Graphic

Continue reading “API: Basics and Resources”