A growing number of library database providers are making customizable search box widgets available to subscribers. Vendors like Ebsco, Gale, Proquest, and Facts on File all simplify the process of adding a search box to a website (or CMS like Blackboard) into a few steps that result in “copy and paste” code.
Over the past few months I’ve been experimenting with ways in which my library can integrate itself into our college course management system, Blackboard. Initially, I started with handouts, PowerPoint presentations, and links to the library website. But lately, I’ve been exploring how we might embed search forms for catalogs and other research databases directly in Blackboard. Here’s what a basic search form for my library catalog looks like in Blackboard:
And here are a few search forms that can be used to search Ebscohost databases:
I’ve been saving the HTML used to create these forms in the Course Management Resources section of the site. In Blackboard, the code can be copied, pasted, and saved into most content areas. Just remember to select “HTML” as the text type instead of “Smart text” or “Plain text” (so that Blackboard will render the code as a form instead of as text.)
The Chroniclementioned an interesting software tool written by University of North Carolina that will convert an exported Blackboard course and its content to a static webpage that can be viewed without having to login to Blackboard.Â The program is called bFree and UNC has released it under the Creative Commons license.
This page links to example library catalog search forms and the source code used to create them. The institutions covered here are all members of the Pittsburgh Blackboard Users Group. These are working forms that teaching faculty and librarians can use to experiment with the integration of library-related content into a course management system. The code for your institution’s library catalog can be copied and pasted into Blackboard or embedded into any webpage.