What is LISinfo?
Currently, there is no comprehensive source of information for library and information science professionals. We intend to change that: LISinfo is a comprehensive, free catalog of library and information science.
What information can I find at LISinfo?
- Chat spaces (e.g. IRC channels)
- Job postings
- Mailing lists
Much of this data can be found on other sites if you know where to look. Our goal with LISinfo is to make this data a lot more useful.
So it's a Wiki?
No. It's a catalog, with a controlled vocabulary and records created by trained, volunteer editors. And it won't have full-text resources, though it will point to existing full-text resources as often as possible. You won't go there to read about upcoming conferences, you'll go there to find information about conferences that is sortable by date, geographical area, subject, and other relevant facets. See also, "Why you're going to hate LISinfo, at least at first."
How will this help me?
LISinfo's goal is to provide professionals, students, and anyone else interested in the LIS community with answers to these and other questions. What's the best use for next year's professional development budget? What services are available to meet your library's information needs?
One example: MLS applicants might use this authoritative, well organized resource to help them compare nearby schools with online programs, review scholarship requirements and deadlines, determine which professional associations people with their interests should consider joining, which conferences they should attend, which blogs and mailing lists they should read, and which journals librarians are talking about when they refer to "the literature."
We intend to document everything about LISinfo as transparently and usefully as possible. Please contact us with ideas for how we can better meet your needs.
What does LISinfo look like?
LISinfo's first prototype made use of The Flamenco Search Interface Project, an open source, National Science Foundation-funded project developed by Professor Marti Hearst and her colleagues at the UC Berkeley School of Information. Go to their Nobel Prize Winners demo, but pretend it's about library and information science (e.g. associations, blogs, books, conferences, etc.), and you'll get an idea of our guiding vision for LISinfo.
Our latest prototypes are heavily influenced by Kochief. This is no coincidence: one of our co-founders is Kochief's project owner. You can follow his deployment of this project by viewing the Collections at Drexel University Libraries.
Who's developing LISinfo?
Co-founders Brett Bonfield and Gabriel Sean Farrell got the ball rolling during Brett's final quarter at Drexel University's iSchool (June 24–August 25, 2007). Drexel professor M. Carl Drott was Brett's advisor on this project, and the Drexel Libraries, Sean's employer, is its host. Drexel Libraries staff Peter Ivanick and Tim Siftar have also agreed to help, as have Drexel iSchool faculty members.
What are the technical specs?
You can access information through a faceted browsing interface or by keyword searching. You will also be able to export as many records as you choose. Records conform to standard data formats and are indexed using controlled vocabularies.
LISinfo will run exclusively on free, open source software. You may reuse any content that appears on LISinfo however you like, including any software written specifically for LISinfo. We're reviewing licenses to determine what will be appropriate for our software, database, and documentation.
Why are you doing this?
- Making information accessible is what librarians do.
- It hasn't yet been done.
- This seems like a great opportunity to play with open source software, open access information, faceted interfaces, and controlled vocabularies.