D2D is the new thing, popping up recently on Lorcan Dempsey’s weblog and the program for NISO’s upcoming workshop.

What is it? Simply an acronym for “discovery to delivery,” the process that a person goes through to get anything from a peer-reviewed research article to a new pair of Manolo Blahniks. Four steps are often outlined: discovery, location, request, delivery.

Unfortunately, and for many reasons, much of the free web does a better job at providing a seamless D2D experience than libraries. What with our catalogs, database lists, metasearching, ILL systems, next gen catalog overlays, and tools and technologies yet to be developed (not to mention links into library resources from sites like Google and Windows Live Academic), you can expect the D2D puzzle to occupy the profession and show up on blogs, programs, and journal pages for the foreseeable future.

OPAL, Virtual Reality, and Academic Libraries

Looking for free or inexpensive continuing education opportunities? Check out OPAL, which describes itself as “an international collaborative effort by libraries of all types to provide web-based programs and training for library users and library staff members.” Most events are offered for free and past events are archived at the website.

One upcoming event of note for academic librarians is “Collaboration Opportunities for Academic Libraries in Second Life.” Second Life is an online virtual reality environment, and according to the program description, “This fall over 50 institutions of higher education are offering (or preparing to offer) courses in Second Life.” Is this the Next Big Thing?

Social Networks and Portals

InfoWorld says, “Search satisfaction on the wane,” but happiness with web portals is increasing.

Compete, a market research firm, asserts that traffic to social networking sites like MySpace is poised to overtake traffic to portal sites like Yahoo!

Nielsen//NetRatings reports that “User-generated content drives half of U.S. top 10 fastest growing web brands.” PDF Report

At the end of the day, library websites are mostly about search. But what does the growth in portals and networking sites imply about future library site design and features? Should our next design strive less for the clean-and-uncluttered look and more for Yahoo’s put-it-all-on-the-front-page look? As our sites start to include more social features, such as tagging and reviews, what else will users want to go along with them? Which features are most applicable to library sites?

No answers yet, sorry; just asking the questions.

Mobile Browsing and Text Messaging on the Rise

An April 19th article in Information Week discusses the rise in the use of mobile phones to access the web. The trend is stronger in Japan than either the United States or Canada (no surprise there); nevertheless, over one quarter of mobile users have used their phones to access the internet, according to the article.

The growth of internet-ready devices with small screens–whether video iPods, mobile phones, or “traditional” handhelds like PDAs–has implications for the kind of web design we do and the level of flexibility we need behind the scenes to ensure that everyone can use our websites. This is closely tied to accessibility for people with disabilities, which I’ll talk more about in a future post.

The article also mentions that text messaging is “the most popular mobile and wireless activity” (I think they actually mean most popular after using a mobile to make a phone call). Text messaging is a way to send short messages of up to 160 characters asynchronously to mobile phones.

If you’re interested in reading more about text messaging, blogwithoutalibrary.net has a useful summary of a CIL presentation on the topic by John Iliff of PALINET, including links to some libraries that are offering text messaging reference services.