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.

Contents

Bookmarklets

Bookmarklets are pieces of JavaScript code, packaged and used as browser bookmarks. 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
  • Make Search Bookmarklet Tool from bookmarklets.com
  • Karin Dalziel's instructions on how to create a Firefox search extension for any library using any OPAC by using the ffirefox "Add to search bar" extension. Also includes instructions on making the search auto discover on your library's web page.

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.
  • Peter Binkley's Google Scholar OpenURLs bookmarklet
  • Homer Township Public Library's implentations of the LibraryLookup bookmarklet and a Search bookmarklet made from the bookmarklets.com make-your-own bookmarklet tool.
  • Rijksmuseum Research Library Bookmarklet for MS Explorer and Mozilla/Firefox.
  • FRBR Bookmarklets are similar to those available from Jon Udell (listed above), but take variant ISBNs in the same FRBR worksets into account FRBR Bookmarklets

General Bookmarklets

  • www.bookmarklets.com has lots to try out.
  • Jesse's Bookmarklets Site has lots too.

User Scripts

User scripts are, similar to Bookmarklets, pieces of javascript code. Unlike Bookmarklets, they are automatically invoked on the web pages they are made to run on, and still mostly require a specific browser extension to be installed to support them; Internet Explorer needs Reify Turnabout, Mozilla (including Firefox) requires Greasemonkey, Opera can use them natively.

Making User Scripts

  • Dive into Greasemonkey, while aimed at making Greasemonkey user scripts, has much content applicable to generic user script writing too.
  • If you need help, you might try dunck.us GreaseMonkeyUserScriptRequest

Library-Related User Scripts

  • One of the most famous user scripts turned Mozilla extension, is Book Burro by Jesse Andrews. See below for more information.
  • There is a big list at http://userscripts.org/tags/library
  • Also see the list at dunck.us GreaseMonkeyUserScriptsSpecific: Amazon
  • Seattle Public Library
  • Palo Alto Library
  • Melvyl (University of California libraries)
  • KVK (Germany)
  • Lakeland Library Co-op (West Michigan)
  • New York Public Library
  • Toronto Public Library
  • Timberland Regional Library (Washington State)
  • Cass District Library (Michigan)
  • Ann Arbor District Library (AADL, in Michigan)
  • St. Joseph County Libraries (Indiana) - Official, blog.skagirlie.net report
  • University of Huddersfield (UK) (Amazon.co.uk only)

Book Burro

Book Burro adds a panel to Amazon (and a few other web book shops') book pages that cross references book prices and links to the same book in other book stores. A branch of the Book Burro project (demonstration page here) has migrated back into user script form and also adds links to Google Book Search and shows book availability in a library, with extensive plans to cover and cross reference any library, in scope similar to that of Jon Udell's bookmarklet LibraryLookup project.

General User Scripts

  • userscripts.org has lots to try out.

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.

Mozilla/Firefox 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.

  • Add To Search Bar Firefox Extension Enables a contextual "Right click, Add to Search Bar" functionality in the browser.
  • Mycroft. Advanced Mozilla-Search Plugin Documentation
  • LibDev: How to create a Firefox Search Plugin
  • LCLS Lab How to: Add Your Library Catalog to the Firefox Searchbar
  • Seminole County Florida Library - (How to Create a) Mozilla Search Plugin (particularly for Horizon Information Portal)

Mozilla/Firefox Library and Academic Search Plugins

These are links to info, not direct links to the install.

  • Library Search A collection of search plugins that search online library catalogs. To request a search plugin for your library, go to the Requests page.
  • Academic Search Plugins
  • RedLightGreen search plugin
  • Ann Arbor District Library search plugin for Firefox (AADL plugin)
  • Rijksmuseum Research Library search plugin
  • Hennepin County Library (MN)
  • You can find Yahoo and Google search plugins for WorldCat at the bottom of Open WorldCat-enabled Web tools
  • Several for Colorado libraries have been created by Michael Sauers. Includes a link to a multimedia presentation on how to create Firefox search plugins.
  • (Unofficial) Library Search Plugin, Open University, UK
  • Homer Township Public Library catalog search plugin (Sirsi iBistro)
  • Firefox Search Plugins for Digital Library resources (spanish)
  • Firefox search plugin for the Lewis and Clark Library System (LCLS) and (Chicago) Metropolitan Library System (MLS)
  • Winnefox Library System 28 different flavors of keyword catalog search Firefox extensions for Winnefox Library System's SirsiDynix catalog
  • St. Joseph County Libraries (Indiana)
  • Lansing Public Library (Illinois) catalog search plugin (Sirsi-Dynix's Horizon/HIP 3.06A)

Internet Explorer Search Providers

Internet Explorer 7 support search providers, similar to (but with a completely different syntax than) Firefox search plugins.

  • IEblog - Adding Search providers to IE 7 using OpenSearch 1.1 - September 14, 2005
  • Anonymouse.org - Search provider for IE 7 to surf anonymously
  • OpenSearch Description for the University of Huddersfield, also available as a search target at a9.com (further info available on this weblog)

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

  • Morrisville State College Libraries Toolbar - Created using Conduit.
  • FastJack - Stanford Graduate School of Business, Jackson Library toolbar
  • HALBar toolbar for The Appalachian School of Law Library.
  • Barra Maldura - Una estensione per Firefox (Firefox only, in Italian) Toolbar for the Maldura Library, University of Padua (Italy).
  • SBArra - Una barra di strumenti per le ricerche bibliografiche (Firefox only, in Italian) Toolbar for University of Padua Library System (Sistema Bibliotecario di Ateneo - SBA).
  • Yahoo! OCLC Toolbar (Internet Explorer only).
  • The KnowItNow Toolbar a service of the State Library of Ohio (Internet Explorer only).
  • HCPL Toolbar Harris County Public Library Toolbar.
  • Greene County Public Library Toolbar
  • HS/HSL Web Toolbar Health Sciences & Human Services Library (Internet Explorer only).
  • Shrewsbury Public Library Toolbar
  • e-klummes toolbar (Firefox only, in Danish)
  • Sjøkrigsskolens bibliotek (in Norwegian)
  • Tyngsborough Public Library toolbars (Internet Explorer only):
  1. Patrons toolbar (file exe)
  2. Staff toolbar (file exe)
  • Lansing Public Library Toolbar (Internet Explorer and Firefox versions with RSS feeds built-in)
  • Jackson Library Toolbar - Walter Clinton Jackson Library (Firefox only)
  • LibraryBar for the New York Public Library and the Morris Automated Information Network. (Firefox only)
  • Maryland Library Toolbar, Eastern Shore Regional Library
  • HHHL toolbar, Half Hollow Hills Community Library (Internet Explorer only)
  • (Unofficial) Library Toolbar, Open University, UK
  • LibX Virginia Tech Edition, Virginia Tech Newman Library. See also: LibX Main Page for other editions. (Firefox only)
  • QuickSearch CMB Toolbar, Central Medical Library, University Medical Center Groningen, The Netherlands.  : Download(IE & Firefox)
  • UT Southwestern Medical Center Library toolbar, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas Library
  • University of Illinois Toolbar, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Firefox and IE)
  • Denver Public Library Toolbar (Internet Explorer only).
  • University of Huddersfield (UK) Library Toolbar (Firefox only).
  • HBLL Toolbar Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University (Firefox only).
  • Penn Library Toolbar (Firefox only).
  • Letterenbibliotheek toolbar
  • GALEN Toolbar University of California, San Francisco Library.
  • Prior Health Sciences Library toolbar
  • MGAS library toolbar, Biomedical Library, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium. (IE & Firefox, Dutch language)
  • Belgian Health Care Knowledge Centre Library toolbar, allows to search our library catalogue
  • Forbes Library Toolbar
  • University of Winnipeg Library Toolbar
  • UPS Library toolbar, University of Puget Sound library
  • Cumberland Library Community Toolbar
  • BettendorfLibrary Community Toolbar
  • Izmir Institute of Technology Library Community Toolbar
  • New England College of Optometry Library Community Toolbar
  • bondlib Community Toolbar, Bond Library
  • Columbia Basin College Library Community Toolbar
  • The Axe Library Browser Toolbar, Pittsburg State University
  • Jackson Library Toolbar, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  • Pace University Library Toolbar
  • Ball State University Libraries Toolbar

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
  • NCBI search toolbar, National Center for Biotechnology Information
  • HealthLinks Toolbar University of Washington (Firefox only).
  • Die HdBG-Toolbar – das Werkzeug für Historiker und Archäologen Haus der Bayerischen Geschichte
  • MyAthens Toolbar can be used to access Athens-authenticated resources
  • NeedleSearch The NeedleSearch toolbar lets you bookmark search engines
  • SwitchProxy Tool SwitchProxy lets you manage and switch between multiple proxy configurations quickly and easily
  • AustLII Toolbar, Australasian Legal Information Institute
  • OAses toolbar for searching Open Access resources. (Internet Explorer only)
  • Nature.com toolbar (Internet Explorer only)

Commercial Search Engines

  • PubSub Sidebar
  • A9
  • (also see Yahoo OCLC toolbar in Library Toolbars section)

Other Browser Extensions

  • Firefox Scholar/SmartFox See Zotero "it will enable the rich use of library and museum web collections" ... "[it] will enable users, with a single click, to grab a citation to a book, journal article, archival document, or museum object and store it in their browser."
  • Peter Binkley's Google Scholar OpenURLs Extension (Firefox only).
  • Openly Informatics OpenURL Referrer for Google Scholar and COinS (Firefox only).
  • COinS Browser Extensions for Your Library
  • 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.
  • Gnosis ClearForest Gnosis is a Firefox extension that automatically locates people, places, companies and other entities on the web page as you surf. You can then use these tagged entities to launch additional searches in Wikipedia, Technorati and a variety of other sources.
  • The Wikipedia extension for easy editing of this page!
  • Various Y!Q Firefox extensions for Yahoo contextual searching.
  • More extensions at Mozilla Update.
  • More extensions at Extension Room.
  • Zotero is a free, open source scholars' extension for the Firefox browser, that enables users to collect, manage, and cite research from all types of sources from the browser.

Code Generators and Other Tools

Tools to automatically generate code for you.

  • LibraryLookup bookmarklet generator Info here
  • Make Search Bookmarklet tool
  • Extension Developer's Extension An extension to make life easier for extension developers. A Meta-extension if you will.
  • Firefox extension install generator If you need help updating or creating an extension for Firefox, you can use this helpful CGI.
  • Turn on Updates For Your Firefox Extensions. An online form to generate update.rdf contents.
  • Greasemonkey compiler, converts Greasemonkey user scripts into full-fledged Mozilla Firefox extensions.
  • DevBoi, a sidebar extension for Mozilla and Firefox that offers easy access to XUL documentation and reference manuals.
  • LibX - A Firefox Extension for Libraries, LibX is a framework from which editions for specific libraries can easily be created. "Librarians: if your library uses Millenium, Horizon, or Voyager, getting your own edition of LibX can take as little as 15 mins..."
  • One great resource for building toolbars is Conduit. Over 90 libraries have used it so far. It provides a toolbar for Firefox and Internet Explorer. (Formerly Effective Brand)

Programming Resources

Websites, Books, Forums on creating web browser extensions.

The basic expertise you will need is HTML/XHTML, the web formatting language, JavaScript, a lightweight programming language that runs in browsers (unrelated to the Java programming language, despite the name), and XUL if you want to program Firefox specifically.

Websites about Firefox Programming

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

  • XUL Tutorial at Xul Planet All you need to know about Xul user interface. A must read.
  • Firefox Toolbar Tutorial The best Firefox extension tutorial, at Born Geek. Step after step you will be guided in creating a Google toolbar
  • Dev : Extensions Extension development documentation project at MozillaZine. Includes: Getting started with extension development for Firefox 1.5 and later (Mozilla 1.8 branch)
  • Application Extensions Packaging Extensions, Deployment of Extensions and Themes, Updating, Versioning and Compatibility at mozilla.org
  • Creating a Mozilla Extension Tutorial at mozilla.org
  • The XPToolkit Architecture The most comprehensive (yet often out-of-date) guide to XUL widgets, at mozilla.org
  • Devmo Site dedicated to providing solid information, documentation, and community for Mozilla and Firefox developers of all types
  • Extensions Main Page at Mozilla Developer Center. Includes: Building an Extension A tutorial about building extensions for Firefox 1.5 (Mozilla 1.8 branch)
  • XulFr.org All about Xul, Mozilla, Firefox and Thunderbird — and a Xul tutorial (French language)
  • Firefox Extension Tutorial A short and simple Firefox extension tutorial
  • How to create Firefox extensions Another good and often cited Firefox extension tutorial
  • Lazy Programmers (LP) Guide To Creating A Firefox Mozilla Extension Another Firefox extension tutorial
  • Créer une extension Another short Firefox extension tutorial (French language)
  • XML User Interface Language (XUL) The home page for Mozilla XUL documentation at mozilla.org
  • Mozilla Tutorial English French Xul, Mozilla Tutorial with clear examples (English and French language)
  • XUL A short introduction to Xul at Everything2
  • XUL Programmer's Reference Manual A reference manual at mozilla.org
  • Writing an Extension for Firefox A look at installing a really simple extension into Firefox that adds a "Hello World" menu item to the Tools menu, on Brian Duff's weblog
  • Creare estensioni per Firefox - livello 1 A Firefox Extensions tutorial (Italian language)
  • Come creare una estensione per Firefox A Firefox Extensions tutorial (Italian language)
  • Construye tu propia extensión para Firefox con Zootropo http://zootropo.f2o.org/archivos/2004/06/21/construye-tu-propia-extensin-para-firefox-con-zootropo/ http://zootropo.f2o.org/wiki/doku.php?id=construye_tu_propia_extension_para_firefox Two pages, one Firefox Extensions tutorial (Spanish language)
  • The Xul Periodic Table Examples of all widgets — Boxes, Buttons, Checkboxes, Lists, Menubars, Trees ...
  • Multi-Part Tutorial on creating XUL + PHP apps
  • Creating Rich Applications with Mozilla, XUL, and AMP Technology a live presentation by Jay Sheth.
  • Free GUID generators http://www.hoskinson.net/webservices/guidgeneratorclient.aspx http://www.famkruithof.net/uuid/uuidgen A GUID is a unique identifier for your extension. You definitely need one.
  • Extension Developer's Extension As the Author says "An extension to make life easier for extension developers"
  • Extensions Firefox/Signer Une Extension How to sign an extension (French language)
  • So you want to sign your XPI package? How to sign an extension
  • Enabling Extension Updates "This tutorial will show you how to keep your users up to date with your latest version automatically." A must read for localization
  • Writing Mozilla Extensions This DemoExt extension has the goal "to provide the simplest amount of functionality necessary to demonstrate how to make a localized, cross-platform extension that works with Firefox and Mozilla Suite." It helped me in figuring out how to localize text strings in javascript files
  • The Future of Mozilla Application Development Among other things explains how to add a custom button for your toolbar to Firefox
  • Firefox Toolbar Tutorial - How to make your own toolbar in Firefox/Mozilla
  • Developing Firefox Extensions with GNU/Linux Very long tutorial.
  • Creating Custom Firefox Extensions with the Mozilla Build System This article describes how to set up the development environment for a large, complex Firefox extension with components written in C or C++ (not only JavaScript & XUL.)
  • George Nava's XUL applications Collection of XUL application examples. At the bottom of the page there is "Codex" app that you can use to poke around the source code for the entire collection to see how he made it all work.
  • Your First Firefox Extension Extensions tutorial at Webmonkey.
  • Browser extensions using XUL, Part 1: Create a Firefox browser extension with user-interface features

Books on Mozilla/Firefox

  • Creating Applications with Mozilla by David Boswell, Brian King, Ian Oeschger, Pete Collins, Eric Murphy. ISBN 0596000529. Available under the terms of the Open Publication License.
  • Rapid Application Development with Mozilla by Nigel McFarlane. ISBN 0131423436. Available under the terms of the Open Publication License.
  • Firefox Hacks by Nigel McFarlane. ISBN 0596009283.
  • Greasemonkey Hacks Mark Pilgrim. ISBN 0596101651.
  • More Mozilla and Firefox Books

Discussion Forums

  • XUL Forums The place to talk about XUL at XulPlanet
  • Extensions - MozillaZine Forum The forum about Mozilla/Firefox Extensions on MozillaZine
  • Extenzilla A forum about Mozilla/Firefox Extensions (Italian language, registration required)

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

  • Bluefish for code editing in Linux
  • Jedit for code editing in Windows and Linux
  • The Gimp for raster artwork
  • Inkscape for vector artwork
  • Wink for screencasts

Journal Articles and Conference Presentations

  • Bailey, Annette LibX: A Firefox Extension for Libraries (MP3 audio) Access 2006
  • Bridgewater, Rachel and Heins, Beth. Firefox Can Do That? Using Extensions to Customize Your Web Browser Online Northwest 2006
  • Akerman, Richard. How to Enhance Access with Browser Extensions Internet Librarian International 2005
  • Wusteman, Judith. "About XML: from Ghostbusters to libraries - the power of XUL." Library Hi Tech 23.1 (2005): 118-129.
  • Lauke, Patrick. "Mozilla Firefox for Rapid Web Development." Ariadne 42 (2005).
  • Kelly, Brian. "Interfaces To Web Testing Tools." Ariadne 34 (2005).
  • Chudnov, Daniel, Richard Cameron, Jeremy Frumkin, Ross Singer and Raymond Yee "Opening up OpenURLs with Autodiscovery." Ariadne 43 (2005).
  • XTech 2005 Presentations: XUL - Mozilla's XML User Interface Language by Ben Goodger, lead engineer for Mozilla Firefox.
  • Janes, Joseph. "The Right Tool for the Right Job" American Libraries December 2003: 84-85
  • Chang, Daphne, and Helen Keil. "Need Another Toolbar for Your Toolbox?". Searcher 14.9 (Oct. 2006): 39-43

Specific Blog Postings and Mailing List Messages

  • More on Jon Udell's LibraryLookup Bookmarklet The Shifted Librarian, 2002
  • Toolbar Tidbits /usr/lib/info, 2003
  • Firefox search extension for OPACs? code4lib Mailing List, 2005
  • Harris County Public Library - Internet Explorer Toolbar The Distant Librarian, 2005
  • A Library Toolbar LibrarianInBlack, 2004
  • Library Technology for the New Year TechnoBiblio, 2005
  • All I Want for Christmas is a Library Toolbar LawLibTech
  • The user interface that isn't Lorcan Dempsey
  • Stitching services into user environments - intrastructure Lorcan Dempsey's weblog
  • Reference wish list Digital Reference, 2005
  • PL Toolbar Tame the Web
  • Firefox extension for Maldura Library Science Library Pad, 2005
  • more on Firefox sidebars Science Library Pad, 2005
  • Toolbar Goodness Linux Librarian
  • Harris County Public Library Creates Toolbar for Online Customers LISNews, 2005
  • Stanford toolbar BiblioAcid, 2005
  • One New Thing: Library toolbar! One New Thing, 2004
  • lii.org Toolbar Free Range Librarian
  • Toolbar Tidbits, Toolbar Tidbits (Google Cache version) LibraryCog: Library Systems Stuff
  • Harris County Public Library - Internet Explorer Toolbar SEMLS Tech Watch, 2005
  • OUseful Firefox Library Toolbar 0.1
  • OUseful - the Jackson Library Toolbar
  • More Library Toolbars OUseful Info
  • LibrarySearch Firefox Extension July 22, 2005
  • Google Print in Book Burro 0.17, and future library plans
  • Distance from the default: Web browser extensions Lorcan Dempsey's weblog

Weblogs (sometimes) covering this topic

  • Science Library Pad - Firefox extensions, SLP - Bookmarklets
  • Lorcan Dempsey's weblog
  • The Shifted Librarian
  • OUseful Info
  • ecmanaut
  • SlayerOffice "web experiments gone horribly awry"
  • Library toolbar Blog voor bijhouden van info over het gebruik van Library Toolbars

Demos

  • Screencasts about the Maldura toolbar by Gianluca (Flash format):
  1. Installazione (280KB, 45s)
  2. Utilizzo (1700KB, 2m+45s)
  3. Funzioni Avanzate (1700KB, 2m+45s)
  • MyJack toolbar screencast by OUseful Info
  • Firefox Advanced Search screencast
  • These screencasts show LibX's predecessor, the VT Library Bar (Flash format):
  1. Basic use of the toolbar (about 2min)
  2. Context searches and xISBN (about 3min)
  3. Access to the OpenURL resolver (about 3min)
  4. Cues (about 3min)
  • Jon Udell's four-minute screencast on, among other things, LibraryLookup and a Greasemonkey user script that looks up Amazon books in Keene Library, right on the Amazon book page.

Acknowledgments

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.