In my kindergarten, we sang a song most days about sharing (probably when one of us brought in a special toy, or a bag of cookies). I no longer remember all the words, nor the melody (which as a 5 year old I probably couldn't manage anyhow), but I sure had it drilled into me that Sharing is Good.
To that end, and following hot on the heels of our recent addition of Google Book Covers and Previews to the Andornot Starter Kit (ASK), today we added a Share button to ASK.
Look familiar? Yes, you've seen this button before. Just about every website has one now. What is it? A very quick way of letting others know about something you've found. Imagine you've been searching and searching in one online database after another for a very particular resource and... You Found It! And you're excited, and impatient, and you want to share the news, either by email or Twitter or on your Facebook page, or through any other social networking site. With just a couple clicks, you can do that.
This particular button is provided by AddThis.com. This site aggregates hooks into every known social networking site, from Facebook to Twitter to Delicious, as well as providing the ability to simply bookmark the page or email the link to a friend.
When you get your own button from AddThis.com, you can customize its appearance and the social bookmarking services offered, and sign up to have AddThis track usage, so you know how often your resources are being shared.
These buttons are available from other sites as well, such as ShareThis.com. You could also construct your own that provides all the same services: emailing, bookmarking, sharing... but it's far simpler to take one of these pre-built buttons, available at no cost.
Why should you have a Share button in your online database? These have become ubiquitous on the web. More and more users are expecting a site to have these and the ability to quickly click a button to grab the identifying information. As links are shared, more users will become aware of your resources. Search engines rarely index deep into databases, but they do index social networking sites, providing a whole new way for users to find and re-share your resources. This in turn may help increase your website's standing in search engine rankings, especially if you have unique or very specialized content.
A small but major caution: By default, the AddThis button shares the URL that appears in your browser's address bar. After searching an Inmagic WebPublisher PRO textbase, this URL contains a temporary variable. While the URL will continue to link to a record for a while, depending on the volume of searches on your site, the link may no longer work after just a few days. However, Andornot has developed a Permanent URL http handler that can be easily added to a textbase so that the URL that is bookmarked remains valid indefinitely.
What next? See the button in action here (search, click through to the full record detail page, and test the button by emailing yourself details of a book), then contact us to help you add a Share button to your site.