Stop Form Spam with ReCaptcha

 We recently added a new tutorial to the Web Authors site showing how to add a Captcha to a form. A Captcha program is used with forms to reduce spam by insuring the form is submitted by a human. We decided to use ReCaptcha to support the digitizing of books from the Internet Archive. Please visit the ReCaptcha web site for more information on their project.

If you are interested in adding ReCaptcha to your form:

  1. Visit our tutorial and follow the code example.
  2. Review the section on customizing background color and setting the tab order.
  3. Visit the ReCaptcha web site for additional information about their project and for customization options.

Adding Google Book Search API in the Library Catalog

We had the chance to add the new Google Book Search Viewability API to the library catalog and we took it. It uses javascript to show a link from our full records if those items exist in Google Book Search. The link will appear if the item has either full text of a limited preview. We decided not to display the link if the item only has a minimal record there.

You can see a limited preview link here.

A Molehill Can Be A Mountain.

It would have been very simple to do and no one would have ever found out.

He could have taken someone else’s work off of the internet and used it for our own purposes (believe it or not, some people actually do that!).

Instead, our Instructional Technology Specialist asked me (the Designer) to take the time to create a graphic that was 11×11 pixels in size. That’s about the size of two match heads. (See below.)

810×11 Pixel Graphic.

The graphic is actually 810×11 pixels in size, but only 11×11 pixels of it contain any work at all. The rest of the graphic is white space. The process took about 40 minutes with all the edits and tweaks to make sure the final product was just right for our purposes.

This resonates with me because an inherent part of our mission is integrity.

So, what’s the big deal if we swipe a little bit of someone else’s work or copy another person’s work and just change it around a bit? People do it all the time and no one ever finds out.

The big deal is that if we did that, we would be failing ourselves and our mission. Generating content that is offered from a university raises even higher the standard of integrity that we choose to maintain.

“Swiping” = stealing.

The “molehill” of stealing a tiny 11×11-pixel piece of someone else’s artwork becomes a “mountain” because it degrades the reputation of the person who stole that work (not to mention the reputation of anyone who knowingly still uses that stolen work).

What else have they stolen? How many other times have they submitted someone else’s work as their own? Can you trust that person?

Time and Effort.

The end result of the tiny piece of work generated by our Instructional Technology Specialist and myself is a product crafted from original thought, teamwork and integrity.

The work of our team is the sum of the pieces submitted by different team members. This experience has taught me that we can be confident that even the tiniest of those pieces is original.

That little 11×11-pixel graphic is actually one of the pieces of work of which I am the most proud.

US Latino & Latina WW2 Oral History Project

UT Libraries Facebook App

A few weeks ago we launched an updated version of our Facebook app for UT Libraries. The application includes search tools, instant messaging, video tutorials, our “How Do I” wiki, and library news.

We followed the instructions written by Gath Adams to create the app. Our hope is to expand on our work and include some more community building features, similar to the Facebook app created by the University of Michigan.