Today’s Minor Facebook Victory

One of the reasons that Facebook has had outstanding growth, in my opinion, is because of the wide variety of applications that are available. Why are there so many available? Because Facebook opened up its platform to developers and allows pretty much anyone to create an application. For free.

Ever since I got on Facebook, I wanted an application that would allow people to search the library catalog from within Facebook. (Like the application that Duke University has.) I downloaded the Facebook developer software but after looking at some sample code provided by UIUC, I realized that it was way beyond my skill level. So I patiently waited for someone at my home institution to create the application for me.

I got tired of waiting.

Yesterday I was looking at one of the many Facebook groups for librarians and read that the Binghamton Library uses an HTML widget application to create a link to their OPAC. “Hey!” I thought, “I know HTML!” And they were also a Innovative Encore school! So I looked at the code they used and adapted it…and it still didn’t work.

I mentioned this to my co-worker Michelle (she of the awesome Facebook advertising campaign) this morning and she took a look at the code and somehow made it work. I don’t know how exactly, so let’s just chalk it up to magic. But then we couldn’t get it to load properly onto the library’s page and I figured out how to make that work. Basically, make sure you have the final version you want to appear on your page before you add the application, because otherwise it won’t let you adapt it. Also, you have to edit it through the Page Manager page, not through the regular application editor. Also, magic.

So, anyway, long story short, it is possible to make an OPAC search function for your Facebook page or profile without getting into the details of an official Facebook Application. Just use one of the many “put HTML in your profile” applications available. We used “my HTML.” If you’d like the code we used, e-mail me and I’ll be happy to send it to you.

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