Retiring MTagger

September 17, 2012

MTagger, the University Library's social bookmarking tool, has been turned off, having been replaced by the new MLibrary Favorites tool. We launched MTagger in early 2008 as a way to allow site visitors to save library resources (web pages, items in the catalog, etc.) for future use. (For more information about the tool, please see "MTagger Update.") MTagger was modeled after popular Internet tools such as Delicious. Once someone saved a page and added one or more tags (labels), these tags would then be shown on the item. Each tag linked to every item that shared that tag (regardless of who applied it), allowing future visitors to explore other resources.

Sample MTagger tag cloud

MTagger Tag Cloud

In addition to public "tagging" of items, we also used MTagger as the storehouse for items saved as a "favorite" in the library catalog. A favorite is distinct from a tagged item in that favorites are personal and private, accessible only to the individual who saved them. For example, if I had "tagged" the catalog record for a particular book, my tag would have appeared for all users in the tag cloud. Anyone could have clicked it, seen what else might have been identically tagged (by me or by others), explored other items that I had tagged, or other tags that I had used. By contrast, an item that I marked as a favorite was available only to me. Using MTagger was an inherently public act; using favorites is inherently private.

Usage patterns over the four and a half years that MTagger was part of our web site show a clear preference for "favoriting" items rather than tagging them. Of the total number of MTagger users and items, items saved through the catalog's favorites mechanism are the overwhelming majority (the "favorites" function in the catalog is a bit newer than MTagger, having been launched in the second half of 2009). MTagger's usage stats can be summarized as follows:

Measure Total Number
MTagger & Favorites
Created through Favorites Percentage
From Favorites
Distinct users 8,300 > 7,000 > 75%
Items tagged 88,000 > 72,000 > 80%
Tags used 9,300 N/A N/A

Retiring MTagger, Launching MLibrary Favorites

We have now completely retired MTagger. The tag cloud has been removed from the web site, catalog, and DLPS image collections. The new Favorites tool is more closely integrated with the resources that were used most frequently in MTagger (the catalog and Search Tools), and focuses on resources over which the library has control. To learn more about MLibrary Favorites, read the MLibrary Favorites post in this blog.

If you have questions, please contact Library Web Systems.

Posted by Ken Varnum at 10:32 AM. Permalink | Comments (0)

Introducing MLibrary Favorites

September 14, 2012

Over the past months, a team of library staff comprising the MLibrary Favorites Working Group (Albert Bertram, Sigrid Cordell, Jonathan Rothman, Sonu Mishra, and Ken Varnum), together with Bill Dueber from Library Systems, have been working on an improved Favorites tool for the library web site.

MLibrary Favorites allows library patrons to save citations from the catalog (Mirlyn), our article discovery system (ArticlesPlus), and the database and online journal finder (Search Tools) into a single favorites list and organize them with tags. This replaced the "siloed" favorites services, where there were independent favorites interfaces for each of those 4 tools, but no way to see all favorites at once.

Where favorites were accessed from within the "silo" they were created, Favorites are now accessed through "My Account" pages. Along with Favorites, you can also see your Mirlyn checkouts and holds, fines, media bookings, and interlibrary loan requests.

When someone saves an item as a favorite, they can optionally add one or more tags to help categorize saved items. When you decide to add tags, you can do one or more of the following:

  1. Type in a comma-separated list of tags;
  2. Pick from tags you have previously used; or
  3. Use the abbreviations for the courses you are taking this semester.
tag interface

One of the features of the new favorites tool that we're particularly excited about is the "Course Tags" option as an easy way for people to organize their saved resources for future use and bundle them together, perhaps with other library-provided resources. It seems a natural evolution of this tool to pull together Research Guides for a course or academic department, course syllabi, and an individual's saved resources in one place.

Anyone who used the previous favorites tools will find all their items in the new MLibrary Favorites, with the added benefit of being able to organize their saved items (including items previously saved). For easier access to your account, including Favorites, there's a new link at the top right of all library web pages:

new login links

The Favorites tool requires a uniqname or friend account. Anyone can sign up for a friend account; all you need is a valid email address. A friend account allows you to authenticate, but does not grant any particular permissions.

The new MLibrary Favorites tool will replace MTagger, the library's social bookmarking service. There will be an article posted in this blog in the coming weeks when MTagger is decommissioned.

Posted by Ken Varnum at 10:06 AM. Permalink | Comments (0)