> I found the links above *very* helpful, thank you, but now I am torn.
> On one hand I see extraordinary power and functionality in the creation
> of these toolbars. All you need is a text editor and knowledge of a few
> computing technologies. On the other hand, they will only work with
> Firefox, and too few people use this browser. Chagrin.
> Eric Morgan
first of all I must admit I am not neutral in the choice between
Internet Explorer and a community-developed open-source software as
Firefox is :-) I developed a Firefox toolbar not only to give our
patrons a new tool to play with, but also to promote the "freedom of
choice". That said, I understand that the vast majority of people use
Internet Explorer and I 'm not here to convince anyone to waste his time
in developing a niche tool.
On the other hand, Firefox is free, anyone can install it from the web,
without the need to throw Internet Explorer away, he can have both
browsers coexist together inside his desktop.
What if, instead of running inside a Firefox window, the toolbar could
run inside its own container, as for instance in the Mozilla Amazon
Browser (http://www.infodraft.com/~faser/mab/)? I think the real node
is: "Is this kind of technology useful?" If yes people will start using
it no matter if they usually surf the web with a different browser.
It also depends on how your library services (catalogs, databases,
ill/dd service, and so on) are presented in Internet. If you already
have a well structured portal maybe a tool like this is redundant, if
your services are 'hidden' at the four corners of the web and you must
click and re-click, and click again to reach them, maybe a toolbar will
make sense. You can think of it as a client library portal, where you
don't have a server side library portal, or -- to say it with the words
of Lorcan Dempsey (http://orweblog.oclc.org/archives/000505.html) -- as
an 'intrastructure', a desktop tool for interaction and integration.
Moreover it could be useful in kiosks where you have freedom to choose
which browser to install (actually at the University of Padua we have
kiosks with Linux and Firefox.)
For my work is really valuable this exchange of thoughts, I hope I
didn't abuse of your patience.
"Is not patrons that build the library, it's the library that builds
patrons". (One of the first things I learned as a librarian)