Library’s secret weapon for researchers

U-News Staff

The UMKC Libraries Toolbar debuted 2008 as a tool for faculty and students to search the UMKC library database from home. However, it has failed to catch on with users according to library officials.

Scott Curtis, Research & Liaison Librarian at Miller Nichols Library, described the toolbar as “a browser add-on that you can install on Internet Explorer or Firefox that allows you to access resources at UMKC Libraries more directly when you are searching the internet.” A beta version is also available for Google Chrome.

When researching on the Internet, the toolbar will generate a button or link that says “Find It @ UMKC” on books, articles and documents in UMKC’s library catalog system.

“By using a toolbar, faculty and students became able to take the library with them,” Curtis said.

“You can also search the UMKC Library Catalog (MERLIN), Google Scholar, or WorldCat.org directly from a text box in the toolbar,” Curtis said. “I don’t think that a lot of students know about it. The toolbar should be very useful to students when off-campus, whether taking an online course or trying to get some research done before heading into campus. We would like to see a lot more students using the toolbar – and we would also really appreciate any student feedback on how it works for them.”

Julie Richards, a freshman Psychology/Criminal Justice major and student library assistant, said she is surprised how few people know about and use the toolbar.

“It’s silly that they don’t know about it. I mean the library talks about it all the time and it’s all over the place online,” Richards said.

UMKC’s first library toolbar was developed in 2007 by Buddy Pennington, Laura Gayle Green, and Chris LeBeau, who worked on toolbars with a program called Conduit. These toolbars were not well-refined. The current version was developed by Buddy Pennington. It can be downloaded at http://library.umkc.edu/toolbar

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