Friday, May 30, 2008

New iTunes Music Listening Stations

A picture of Chad listening to some tunes!After years of visiting book and music stores like Borders, Virgin Records, and FYE and having an opportunity to listen to any CD’s tracks before making a purchasing decision has been a luxury that I certainly have taken for granted. Libraries usually do not have this luxury, but why? Right outside my office is a monolithic filing cabinet where all of our CDs are hidden. That’s right, they are hidden! I have heard first hand the cries of many library users who have become so frustrated when trying to find a CD. It is true that these CDs are difficult to find because they have stickers and other “library stuff” stuck all over them. And it doesn’t help that they are tightly squeezed into this filing cabinet.

Picture of music listening stations
So, I asked myself wouldn’t it be nice if we could open up our CD collection for people to browse and listen to these CDs before they decided to check them out or not? There are several libraries doing just that, so I decided to take it seriously and set up a system. Luckily, I was able to get my hands on 2 old PCs and set them up to become our music listening stations by using iTunes. Although 2,000 songs have been digitized, not all of our collection is digitized yet. That will come very soon. So, please visit the West St. Petersburg Community Library at St. Petersburg College and try it out!

Also, I have been working on creating a web page based on the XML data that iTunes creates. This web page is still a work in progress, but you can check it out at: http://www.spcollege.edu/SPG/WSPCL/iTunes%20Music%20Library.xml. Firefox doesn’t like it yet, but I am working on it. The links should open up the iTunes application so that you can listen to a 30 second clip. I will have the call number links going to our library catalog very soon.

If you are interested in the process, I am working on a document that explains the process of setting up this system. Just send me an email or comment on this blog post and I’ll forward you a copy.

Stay tuned!

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great Idea Kathleen Brodnick

Anonymous said...

Hi my is Lilia Repman.I think this is a great idea to open up a library CD collection for people to browse and listen to this CDs. This is will be very convenient.

amie evans said...

I think it is a great idea to let people listen to the cd collection before they check the music out. How many times have you ever heard maybe two songs and then went out to buy the cd..only to find out that the cd was horrible and you just wasted money?

Anonymous said...

I like the idea of being able to download CD for personal listening pleasure. Thanks Deborah Williams

Matthew Ouano said...

That's awesome that you set up a listening station for the libraries CD collection. Using iTunes is also great b/c its ease of use. Great ideas Chad!

Lori Alvarez said...

Yes... this makes sense. Although, generally, the main attribute of this system is to ensure the consumer that he/she is going to happy with his/her purchase. Seeing that there is no cost for checking out music CDs at the library, this feature may not be necessary. However, it can save some time for the unsatisfied individual; therefore, it can remain readily available for the next person.

Chad Mairn said...

You are right, it isn't necessary; however, we want our library users to be happy and have ample opportunities to discover new things while in the library. We also want our users to disover new things while outside the library. The primary reason for creating these listening stations is for users to discover music. Our music CDs are really hard to find/browse because they are in these huge filing cabinets. And the CDs have stickers all over them making it even worse. So, discovering new music to check out of the library is difficult via traditional means. Also, many music students need to write research papers on certain styles of music. Now, they can browse our entire music collection easily while listening to the music. Then they have the opportunity to check the CDs out for a more in depth analysis.

Bonnie Oakey said...

What a great resource for students! Thank you for your great ideas, I will definetly check it out

Anonymous said...

i think this is a wonderful idea!
-Thao Nguyen

Christa Couch said...

What a wonderful idea to allow students to listen to music while they are researching and doing homework! Keep up the great ideas. I like the SPC blog idea too!
Christa Couch

Amanda Walker said...

I think this is a great idea! I know that I would definitely use this tool. Even though this is not considered a necessity like another user said I do believe that this tool will make checking out music more convenient because you will know what you are getting before you take it home.
Amanda Walker

Jackie Manzano said...

What a great idea! This is especially beneficial for someone like myself that does not remember song and artists names. I always like to listen to my music before buying.

rosalind clarke said...

I think its a great idea and i think you bring up a good point on being able to listen before you purchase. I have taken advantage of that at music stores plenty of times great idea chad.

Anonymous said...

I think it's a good idea- music not only helps you relax but it also would bring more traffic to the library.
Gretchen Alvey-Ramirez

Anonymous said...

I also believe this is a great idea. I'm sure many people including myself would benefit from a service like this.

Anonymous said...

Hi Chad,
I like what you do about listening to the CD prior to checking it out. Could you tell/teach me how to do it. If you could give me step by step how to, it would be greatly appreciated.

thanks
ann

Chad Mairn said...

I am in the process of writing a "how to" for this project and would be happy to send it to you once I am finished. If you don't hear from me in a few weeks please send me a gentle reminder. :)