Web Browser Extensions

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Extending the capabilities of various web browsers so that they are better able to integrate with library content. Appropriate topics include both new browser extensions, as well as information about how to create them.


Bookmarklets are pieces of JavaScript code. These should in theory work in any browser that supports JavaScript. NOTE: JavaScript should not be confused with Java. Despite the (intentionally confusing) names, these are two completely different programming languages. JavaScript was originally, and much more usefully, named LiveScript.

Making Bookmarklets

Bookmarklets from webreference.com

Library-Related Bookmarklets

  • The most famous bookmarklet, and the one which launched the idea of better browser integration with libraries, is Jon Udell's LibraryLookup.

General Bookmarklets

Firefox Quick Search Keywords

Quick Search Keywords can be used to make bookmarks you can invoke with a keyword, and even pass a parameter to. The original documentation appears to be offline, but it is available from the Internet Archive: Bookmark Keywords.

In a default Firefox install, you will find pre-created quick searches in Bookmarks->Quick Searches.

Search Plugins

A search plug-in allows you to access a search engine right from your browser, without having to go to the engine's page first. On Mozilla, you can access plugins via the Sidebar or the Location Bar. On Mozilla Firefox you use the search box on the toolbar.

Library and Academic Search Plugins

I don't know how to make JavaScript links in MediaWiki (necessary to add direct links to search plugins).

Toolbars and Sidebars

Library or institutional toolbars/sidebars that work in browsers to give fast, easy access to catalogs, databases and other useful resources.

Library Toolbars

  1. Patrons toolbar (file exe)
  2. Staff toolbar (file exe)
  • LibraryBar for the New York Public Library and the Morris Automated Information Network. (Firefox only)
  • HHHL toolbar, Half Hollow Hills Community Library (Internet Explorer only)

Academic, Search, Other Toolbars

  • BioBar A toolbar for browsing biological data and databases (Mozilla/Firefox only)
  • PubMed A toolbar that increases your ability to search information in NLM Medline database trough PubMed interface (Mozilla/Firefox only)
  • BioMed Central toolbar Allows you to conveniently search BioMed Central, PubMed Central, PubMed, Faculty of 1000 and Google
  • bioFOX implementing various bioinformatics tools as an extension on the Mozilla based browsers
  • NeedleSearch The NeedleSearch toolbar lets you bookmark search engines
  • SwitchProxy Tool SwitchProxy lets you manage and switch between multiple proxy configurations quickly and easily

Commercial Search Engines

Other Browser Extensions

  • LibrarySearch "when you select text in the browser and right-click, a new context menu appears (Look up selection) that allows you to select which library/resource you would like to pass your selected text to search". From Wayne Graham.
  • Evergreen An open source Integrated Library System (ILS), written in Xul, developed and maintained by the Georgia Public Library Service (Firefox only).
  • Mozilla Amazon Browser A Rich Web Application to search products on Amazon-branded sites, written in Xul (Mozilla/Firefox only).
  • OPAX A prototype XUL OPAC user interface, built on the functionality and appearance of the Mozilla Amazon Browser (Mozilla/Firefox only).
  • ResearchBuddy Will help you capture quotes on webpages, with citations.

Code Generators and Other Tools

Tools to automatically generate code for you.

  • DevBoi, a sidebar extension for Mozilla and Firefox that offers easy access to XUL documentation and reference manuals.

Programming Resources

Websites, Books, Forums on creating web browser extensions.

Websites about Firefox Programming

XUL (XML User-interface Language) the cross-platform language behind Mozilla and Firefox interfaces.

Books on Mozilla/Firefox

Discussion Forums

News and Feeds

News and feeds from browsers developers that worth a read

  • Planet Mozilla News feeds aggregator from Mozilla/Firefox developers' blogs

Software Tools

Journal Articles and Conference Presentations

Specific Blog Postings and Mailing List Messages

Weblogs (sometimes) covering this topic


  • Screencasts about the Maldura toolbar by Gianluca (Flash format):
  1. Installazione (280KB, 45s)
  2. Utilizzo (1700KB, 2m+45s)
  3. Funzioni Avanzate (1700KB, 2m+45s)


NOTE: Much of this content originated, with permission, from Gianluca Drago's excellent Maldura Toolbar - Firefox Extension page. Additional material from Richard Akerman Science Library Pad - Firefox extensions category, and RA's Furl - Firefox Extensions category.