Monday, April 12, 2010

Libraries and Google Chrome extensions

Chrome is the fastest growing browser today, as of March 2010 Chrome has a 6.1% of the market share, which is the third most popular browser next is to Firefox 24.5% and Internet Explorer

Pretty good for a new browser has it has leapfrogged over Opera, Safari etc which has being around almost forever. I'm personally quite fond of it, it's faster than Firefox (my current favourite), seems more stable. Until recently, one of the main reasons why Firefox users didn't switch over was the lack of extensions and this has recently being remedied!

In  Does your library have a Firefox add-on collection?  I blogged 
about libraries creating Firefox collections of library related extensions.

Currently, there are far fewer chrome extensions, but here are some I found that are library related.

1.Amazon related - Winnipeg Public Library Amazon Search Tool , Suginami Library Search by Amazon 

This is a chrome extension, that alters amazon pages to show if the book is available in the library - in this case Winnipeg Public Library. There are greasemonkey scripts that do this, future versions of LibX 2.0 might allow you to create plugins that do the same.

2. EZproxy related - Ohio State University Library Proxy Extension , EZProxy ReloadNUS Library Ez-Proxy (by CX) 

EZproxy is commonly used by libraries to enable access to electronic resources off-campus. Though there are numerous ways to add the proxy stem to the url , the proxy bookmarklet is perhaps the most common way.

One can of course create a Chrome extension for this, as in 

Ohio State University Library Proxy Extension 

This isn't particularly special, just a button that when pressed adds the proxy.

EZProxy Reload is a non-library specific version, you can enter your own ezproxy proxy string but is otherwise similar to the Ohio's one

NUS Library Ez-Proxy (by CX)  created by a user from my institution - National University of Singapore, offers not only a button that adds the proxy but also offers links to popular physics journals as well as to a specific vol and page of a specific journal

3. Online reference manager extension - Mendeley Web Importer , CiteULike Web Importer 

These are basically chrome versions of bookmarklets that are usually to capture citations into Mendeley and CiteUlike

This isn't a library related extension per se, but  a search related one. 

Still this one is very interesting. You highlight some text, do a drag and drop into a specific Zone and it does a search depending on which zone you drag it into.

Obviously the "search zones" can be customized and you can put in library related searches, including library catalogues, library subscribed databases.


Given that currently most library webpages and subscribed databases don't officially support Chrome yet so it might be premature to start supporting and building Chrome extensions! Still, unofficially such extensions are rather handy. One advantage of Chrome extensions over Firefox's is that the former does not require a browser restart when installing or uninstalling extensions. Creating and modifying extensions also seem to be far easier.

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