One of the advantages that use of a social networking environment such as Facebook can provide is the ability to see the Facebook applications that one’s peers are deploying. This was how I spotted that John Kirriemuir had added the UIUC Library Search application to his Facebook account.

What does this do?” I wondered, before deciding that it was worth investing about a minute of my time to find out. So I installed the application and voila:

So I now have a simple interface for searching the UIUC Library catalogue. Not much use for me, here at the University of Bath – but potentially very useful for students (and staff) at UIUC.

Should we be doing something similar within our own institutions, perhaps providing search interface not only to the library catalogue and other local services but also to national services such as Intute? Some might argue that this is unnecessary as a search interface is available on the service’s Web site and that developing additional interfaces for platforms such as Facebook)will require additional effort. I would disagree with the first part – I feel we should be making our data and services available where our users are and expecting them to come to our services may be risky. On the issues of the effort needed to do this, well we need to explore how much effort is required. Perhaps work which can be linked to the IWMW 2007 Innovation Competition? Anyone fancy developing Facebook applications which provide access to a range of JISC services?

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