follett destiny

Your mobile Destiny: taking advantage of apps

There are three mobile apps for Follett's Destiny library system that deserve greater attention. 

And -- because my mantra is "make the virtual visible" -- the three posters below sit prominently on our front desk as visual marketing props for any student, parent, or teacher who chances by with queries that could be solved by downloading them. 

(Feel free to copy/modify the posters for your own Destiny environment -- click here for a Dropbox folder with Mac OSX Pages and PDF versions.)


QUESTION:  Do you have the book "__________"?

ANSWER: Do you have the mobile app that lets you search our catalog?

I then pick up my iPhone, tap on this app, and type in the title they're asking about.  If we do have it, there's no need to scribble down the call number -- it's in my hand as I walk them to the shelf.

This app is particularly useful when out in the wide world.  I tell people to check if we already own a title -- before buying a book online or at the bookstore. (Why waste your money?)

A secondary benefit is that you can see your current checkouts, if you opt to login.

When patrons ask how to get the app, I just point to the poster.


SearchIncludes Library, Digital, and One Search.

Library search results show whether a title is IN or OUT -- and gives one Call Number -- the top one in the list of Available copies. 

NB:  What you can't see is the list of all copies and their Sublocations.  A real shame - as we have popular titles in multiple locations.  Another shame is that Subject Headings are not shown for titles.  But perhaps in future versions.

My Lists and Public Lists:  Very useful. Books searched for can be added to "My List" from within the app.  NB: Visual Search categories/lists are not accessible via the app.

My Bookshelf:  This accesses the three bookshelves available via the Destiny Quest interface:  Now Reading / Want to Read / Have Read.  It would be great if these lists were part of the traditional interface.

Account:  Very useful.  Users can see titles on hold, titles checked out, fines, and their checkout history.

FollettShelf:  Online access to ebooks, allowing users to read books instantly.  (For offline access, they will need the K-12 Brytewave app shown further on....)

Top 10 and New Arrivals:  Unfortunately, these are the Destiny equivalent of click-bait -- catchy titles that fail to deliver real value.  It would be wonderful if we could limit these by other data fields, like Circulation Type.  E.g., New Arrivals only shows the last 15 books cataloged -- and, because our catalog contains ALL texts within the school - whether library books, textbooks, professional books for departments, etc., new arrivals in general aren't of general interest. For the same reason, our Top 10 usually reflects unsurprising results, such as textbooks.

*UPDATED June 13: I just learned that Top 10 can be limited by Patron Type circulations, by Material Type, and by Call Number range -- and "in library use" can be included, if desired.  So my apologies to Follett!


TEACHER:  Someone left this textbook in my classroom.  Who is it checked out to?

ANSWER: Do you have the mobile app that lets you teachers not only see who a book is checked out to -- but lets you check books in and check books out to students?

At our school, the Destiny catalog contains all bar-coded resources, including textbooks for departments like Mathematics and Science as well as hundreds of FVR (Free Voluntary Reading) books in English classroom libraries.  So all our teachers are mini-librarians, checking books in and out to students in the classroom, using their iPhones or iPads and this incredibly useful app from Follett.  Yes, it does mean a training session or two, but the effort is worth it, given all our satellite collections and the fact that teachers have 24/7 access to our library (thanks to magnetic door keys) so they can check out whatever books they want whenever they want.

I impress patrons all the time by walking them to a shelf to retrieve a requested book -- and immediately check it out to them while standing there in the aisle -- using my iPhone and this app.


CHECK OUT:  Search for a patron, tap on "Scan" and then the mobile device's camera scans for the barcode -- and voila! A transaction is complete.

CHECK IN:  Tap on "Scan" and scan the barcode -- with an option to "record in-library use" On/Off.  The only thing it doesn't do is tell you who the book was checked out to, if anyone.  (Maybe in a future version?)

PATRON STATUS:  Very useful for quickly showing a patron what they have out.  Again, the only patrons who have the Access rights to this app are Library Staff and Teachers. 

ITEM STATUS:  All our teachers can use this function to pick up a school/library bar-coded book found anywhere on campus and see who it is checked out to.   I use this app function when closing up the library at the end of the day - on books found lying around - rather than just scanning them in.  So I can email a student and say, "Hey, your Psychology textbook was left on a table in the library - come pick it up from me tomorrow."

*UPDATED June 13:  SNEAKING IN AN INVENTORY?  We are asking some of our classroom teachers to help us with inventory, by giving them some old iPod Touches (ones no one seems to be using), with the Follett Destiny app installed on them, so students can scan and "Check in" all the books to be found in their classroom.  (Kids love to scan barcodes -- and I tease them that it's training for them to work in a shop some day....)  The scans will update the "Date Last Accounted For" field for items -- which the inventory function looks at.  (The "Item Status" function doesn't update the date field.)


QUESTION:  Do you have ebooks?

ANSWER: Yes -- and did you know there's an app that lets you read Follett ebooks offline?

I'm not sure how many patrons are using this app, but I need to make sure they know it's available.  Hence the poster.

It would be useful if we could get statistics on how many patrons accessed our resources via these apps.

Outside Connections and Follett Destiny

If I could wave a magic wand and improve Follett Destiny as a school library catalog, it would be to improve ways of linking and looking into it.

Here are a few ways to ameliorate the situation.

1)  Share a Destiny link -- the need to add the all-important 'site' information

Have you ever wanted to send a Destiny link to a title, resource list, or copy category to someone?  If so, you know you HAVE TO add:


to the end of the link, where NUMBER is usually 100, 101, 102, 103, etc.

We host our own catalog, so that's all we have to do.  I just learned that if Follett hosts your catalog, you also have to add:


For example:  &context=saas18_8553630&site=100

You can see your particular site information by hovering over the link that gets you into your particular catalog.  For example, our Dover Secondary library is site 100, our Dover Primary library is site 101, our East Primary library is 102, and our East Secondary library is 103.  So that information is added to any link we send to anyone.

Update 12Apr14:  If Follett hosts your catalog and you need to find your CONTEXT number, look at the URL when you see all your catalogs displayed -- and it will be at the end of the URL:

2)  Get a Destiny link -- to a set of search results

If you want to send someone a "canned" ("tinned"?) search -- such that they can dynamically search the catalog by clicking on a link, you need to edit the URL.

For example, suppose I want to send someone a link that will do a keyword search on "economics".  I put "economics" in the Basic Search box and press Enter.  The URL that results is not reproducible -- you can't send it to someone and get the same results.  Instead you need to choose "Refine your search" and work with that URL.

When you get that URL, you need to change the word "present" to "handle":

Lastly, I have to add the site/context info, e.g., here is the final URL.

The URL above will do a keyword search on "economics" for the East Second Library of UWCSEA and present the results.

Note:  You can also use DQL (Destiny Query Language) to do a more complicated search out of the Basic search box (because you can't access meaningful URLs based on an Advanced Search).

See the Destiny Help system for more information, e.g.,

3)  Goodreads -- how to click to check if you already have a Goodreads book in your Destiny catalog

First, find a book in Goodreads.  On the Title information page, look for "online stores" and "book links" at the bottom.  It's the "Book Links" bit that you (and your patrons) can customize to go to your school's Destiny catalog to check availability.

Angie Erickson and I presented a workshop on "Geeking out with Goodreads" in September at the Google Apps Summit here in Singapore -- and put "how to" information about integration with Follett Destiny up on a Google Site page here:

4)  Book Cover Displays -- mirroring bits of your collection via Goodreads or LibraryThing or showing "Latest Arrivals" via Pinterest

Many people use Goodreads or LibraryThing to generate book display widgets for parts of their catalog.

Basically, you reproduce a Resource List or Copy Category (i.e., a list of books) in your catalog into Goodreads or LibraryThing or Pinterest -- and then put them on a shelf or board or tag them.

E.g., here is the 2013-2014 Red Dot books for Older Readers -- display out of Goodreads:

Update 12Apr14:  
If you "pin" books from within your Destiny catalog (adding the &site=xxx as per above), then when users click through on the board, they will be taken to the title in your catalog.

Pinterest, unlike Goodreads and LibraryThing, is a time-sensitive -- last in, first out -- list.  So it's perfect for showing things like "Latest Arrivals". (In Destiny Quest, users can see latest arrivals, but only 10 or so and you can't control what is on that list.   Via Pinterest, you can choose the books to advertise.

And here are some links to Pinterest boards that show our latest arrivals:

5)  LibraryThing for Libraries -- Book Display Widgets -- linking back to Destiny

LibraryThing for Libraries has a javascript Book Widget generator available via Bowker for about US$ 400 -- which allows you to create any number of book display widgets in four different styles that will let people click on a book cover and go directly to that item in your school catalog.

We're now using it to get beautiful displays of booklists on our Libguide pages, e.g., see our Economics: Introduction: Books & Physical Resources and our Mathematics: Introduction: Books & Physical Resources guides.

The widget can take a variety of inputs -- as the screenshot to the right shows.

If you want to have the book covers displayed link back to your own catalog -- you need to use the " User".  When you buy the widget generator, you automatically get a LibraryThing account to put books into.  The widget works off LibraryThing "Collections" -- so when you enter or import titles, put them in a Collection.

If you have a Destiny Resource List and want those titles imported into LibraryThing, you can run a "Title/Copy List" report out of Destiny -- which includes the ISBN of copies. When the report is displayed, select all and copy the whole text output.  Then in LibraryThing go to "Add Books" then "Import Books" -- and paste that text into the "Grab ISBN" box.  Identify what collection you want them imported into -- then import.

You can then create a widget based on that collection.

You can also dump your whole school catalog as MARC records out of Destiny - and LibraryThing will upload them in batch mode -- though you can't identify tags or collections upon import.

In order to have the widget link back to your catalog, you have to tell LibraryThing how to search your catalog using a URL, e.g.,

ISBN search:

Title search:

 Access-based URL:

After you get these Global Configurations set up, creating the widget is straight-forward.

Here are the four styles available:

3D Carousel example:

Dynamic Grid example:

Carousel example:

Scrolling example:

NB: As it's javascript, it's not possible to embed these widgets into Google Sites nor in the Destiny HTML homepage.

 6)  Destiny Homepage -- call numbers and collections....

Last but not least, I think we all should be providing better clues about the structure of our catalogs on our Destiny homepages.   

When I get to somebody's catalog start page, I have no way of knowing how many books they have or how they've organized their collections.  So I'll look at Resource Lists and Visual Search lists, but if people haven't create any -- then it's a blind search box and I have to guess.

Ideally I'd like to create a map showing my library's layout and physical collections as well as digital resources -- and have that on my homepage.

Until I get around to to doing that, I list all the major call number prefixes on our Destiny Home Page.