Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Keys Catalog How-To: LibX Plugin

(by Heather Hernandez, Technical Services Librarian)

If you use Firefox or Chrome, there is now a LibX plugin for use with the Keys Catalog.

New to LibX?  Here's what it does:

It places a little icon your toolbar that gives you quick access to a Keys Catalog search; it's asking for an ISBN to search, but it will search keywords if you just put them in and hit Enter.  To reach an advanced search screen, leave the search box empty and hit Enter.

Why is it configured to search by ISBN?  To make searching from sites like Amazon easier.  Once installed, a little Keys Catalog icon will appear on some sites--in an Amazon listing it looks like this (see him just to the right of "[Library Binding]"?):

When that little Keys icon appears, you can click it, and you'll be taken directly to a Keys Catalog search to see if we have that exact edition:

Remember:  it's looking for that exact edition--we may have another edition.  If that edition of that title isn't found, you'll find yourself at a keyword search screen--if you'd be happy with another edition, just put in some words and see if we have another edition or reprint that would suit your needs.

If there are other catalogs that you use frequently, they might have a LibX plugin as well--you can search or browse for the public LibX plugin editions.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Behind the scenes in Tech Services: setting up Koha

(by Heather Hernandez, Technical Services Librarian) 

In the Technical Services area of the Library we do a variety of things including cataloging, serials management, book repair and preservation, and library catalog administration.  Recently our catalog administration got really fun.

When we first saw the test version of our new catalog, it looked like this:

Screenshot of Koha out of the box

Making it look like this was a blast:

Screenshot of current Keys Catalog appearance

Now, I love tweaking.  If I see a button, I click it.  If I see a menu option, I select it.  In my opinion, one of the most fun things about Koha is that we can change it and tweak it to suit our needs.  With frequent visits to the Koha Community Documentation site, and with the help of our hosting and support company, ByWater Solutions, I did a lot of this myself.  I didn't have to--they would have done it all for me--but I wanted to.  I wanted to get under the hood and click and tweak myself so that, well, I could click and tweak it whenever we wanted to click or tweak.

We didn't have to stay with the structure--we didn't have to keep that blue Koha bar, with areas below and above, but we chose to keep it that way.  We like it.  Other Koha catalogs have many other designs, and if you'd like to see more of them, check out Koha Users Worldwide on the Koha Community wiki.

In the white area, the column of links on the left and the whole central area is simple HTML that I keyed into appropriate boxes in the OPAC preferences of the Administration area of the staff client.  Whenever the reference staff have asked if they can have something changed on the Catalog, it's been so fun to say, "Sure!"  I can also use the News Tool to put a news alert in the middle of the page, or can even get fancy with book covers.  Lots of other areas are just as easily set up or changed.

I have to admit, it's been tempting to make the overdue notices say, "Return your late books or be keelhauled!"  I have wanted the date due reminder notices to say, "Your books will be due in the next three days--set sail for the Library, or it's the lash for you!"  Since only our staff can check out books...well...we'll see...

But as for the rest of the layout, great fun was had playing with the css to get the color and layout that we wanted.  The blue of the Koha bar was pretty, but we wanted a blue that suggested a deep, ocean blue.  Many blues were tried; only one blue won.  Once we had that, it was pretty simple putting in the rest.  ByWater helped me with the margins and the text size, and we came up with the current look.

Hope you like it!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The new Keys Catalog of Library materials

(by Heather Hernandez, Technical Services Librarian) 

We are delighted to announce the Keys Catalog of Library materials at San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park:

Screenshot of the Keys Catalog of Library materials

Available online, the new Keys Catalog brings the Library to you.  Researchers will now be able to access records of all the cataloged holdings of the Library with live links to available electronic editions.  It also contains a growing number of records for archival collections that link to the expanded descriptions at the Online Archive of California.

Logins and passwords are freely available to anyone and allow access to Keys Catalog features such as lists, record tagging, and more.  Purchase suggestions may be made from any page, with or without a login, but if you have a login, you will receive updates on the status of your suggestion.  Contact us for a login, or to learn more.

With support and hosting from ByWater Solutions the catalog is powered by Koha, the first developed open-source integrated library system.  Koha is an enterprise-class ILS in use worldwide and is developed by a growing community of collaborating libraries.  We are proud to now count ourselves among the growing number of institutions in the Koha Community.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Digging for Gold at the Library: Ladies in Rigs

(by Gina Bardi, Reference Librarian)

Stephen Canright, our Park Historian, just showed me something wonderful in our collection, the San Francisco Yacht Club scrapbooks. These scrapbooks were compiled by members and contain clippings, illustrations, cartoons. photos and ephemera. They are not limited to San Francisco, although they are San Francisco centric. The library has volumes 1880-1882, 1883-1895, 1922-1923 and 1936 in our Rare Book Collection. With America’s Cup 34 fever building, these are sure to be of great value researchers looking for primary source material. We’re hoping to eventually get these digitized and up on our website so that more people may enjoy them. I think the illustrations and drawings will be of particular interest. Oh you don’t believe me? Want a little proof? OK, then, just take a look at some of these:

Newspaper illustration of ladies in the rigging
Ladies in the rigging
Newspaper illustration of first day races
First day races
Newspaper illustration of party becalmed in a boat
Newspaper cartoon of two model boats racing
"Two Nations"
Illustration of the Aggie under sail
Photographs of J.C. Cousins vessel construction
J.C. Cousins
Lines for cruiser for single-handed sailing
General plans for the cutter Wasp
Plans for the Wasp
Yeah, I know, right? Don’t even doubt me again…unless we are playing poker. Come into the library to see these for yourself. They are almost as much fun as sailing on a yacht.

Image sources:  Ladies in Rigs, First Days Race for the Cup, Becalmed and Two Nations are from the 1883-1895 volume. The rest are from the 1880-1882 volume.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Gold Rush Journal 'Round the Horn - Two More Sketches

(by Palma J. You, Archives Technician)

It was likely for gold rush ships sailing around Cape Horn to stop in a South Atlantic port; the typical location was Rio de Janeiro. The Croton, however, stopped several hundred miles further south on the island of Saint Catherine [Santa Catarina], a favored rest and replenishing spot of American whalers because of its good harbor, fresh supplies, and good Brazilian wine (Lewis, Roberts).

Small bay, House, grog stop, boat house, etc.

This represents a old dilapidated catholick church situated upon the island of St Catherine, down near the entrance of the harbor. The rear building is ocupyed as a church at the present day.”

Old dilapidated Catholic church on the island

 “This represents a small bay, House, grog stop, boat house & C. situated upon the main opposite where we lay at anchor in the harbor of SA Catherine.”

The first posting from this series of neat drawings from Mr. Chittenden journal was posted on March 7, 2012, [and the second appeared on March 28, 2012 -- Ed.]

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Welcome to the new Full Fathom Five

(by Heather Hernandez, Technical Services Librarian) 

Welcome to the new home of Full Fathom Five: Down Deep in the Collections.

Our blog was previously hosted on the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park website, with the posts mirrored at MaritimeCompass for enhanced functionality. Now we are offering even greater functionality; in addition to an rss feed and full-featured commenting, you can subscribe to our blog via email and easily share via multiple sites.

From the first post to appear on Full Fathom Five:
When Shakespeare has Ariel sing this song in Act 1, scene ii of The Tempest, he sings of transformation--of the ordinary becoming something beautiful at the end of its life:

Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes;
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rare and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell:
Hark! now I hear them -- Ding-dong, bell.
Here in the Collections Department at San Francisco Maritime, what we collect, preserve and make available were often ordinary objects at the ends of their useful lives--sometimes, literally, from "full fathom five," in the case of objects retrieved from shipwrecks. Through our care, we give them new life as museum collections, and we help them to emerge into exhibits and into the arena of research, study, and enjoyment.
Join us in our journey, deep in the collections, through the rich and strange.