Module 5: Browser Tools

Add-ons and Plug-ins

Learning objectives

At the end of this module, you will:

  • understand what a browser add-ons and plug-ins are
  • know where to find browser add-ons and plug-ins
  • know when you might want to use browser add-ons and plug-ins
  • learn to install a plug-in within Mozilla FireFox.

What are Add-ons and Plug-ins?

  • Add-ons and plug-ins are small programs that add functionality to your browser, allow you to customize your web browsing experience, and interact with online content. Add-ons are also known as “Add-ins” and are often used interchangeably with the term “Plug-ins”.

How are add-ons and Plug-ins useful to me?

  • They can improve your browsing experience by allowing you to customize your browser to meet your needs, interests, and preferences.
  • There are many different types of add-on and plug-in tools available that may appeal to you.
  • They make your browser do more for you!
  • They can save you time.

Some Points to Remember About Add-ons and Plug-ins:

  • Too many add-ons can slow down the browser
  • Ensure downloads are from a secure and reputable source
  • In FireFox, add-ons are called “extensions” once downloaded
  • Some add-ons are freely available and other cost $5-10 to install

Where do I find Add-ons?

FireFox:

  • Add-ons can be accessed from your browser menu via Tools>Add-ons>. From here you can view recommended add-ons, search all add-ons, or browse all add-ons. Add-ons can also be uninstalled from the same menu.
  • All add-ons for FireFox can also be found @ https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/

Interet Explorer (IE):

  • IE add-ons are linked from within the browser at Tools>Manage Add-ons>Find More Add-ons. This takes you directly to the IE add-ons gallery, which is also available @ http://www.ieaddons.com/ca/

LibX: A Special Plug-in for Libraries

LibX is a library specific browser plug-in available under the Mozilla Public License. According to its webpage LibX makes “common library related tasks fast (http://www.libx.org/, FAQs).”

Does the University of Waterloo Libraries have a LibX Edition?

  • Yes, an edition has been built for the University of Waterloo.

What does it do?

  • LibX facilitates access to your library’s resources including the catalogue and electronic resources available through the open URL resolver, from within your browser. This means that it saves you navigation time and enables you to search for and access resources more quickly.
  • LibX provides embedded cues when visiting web pages such as Amazon or Google. These cues inform you if the library has access to resources found on the webpage.
  • View a summary of the key features of LibX at http://www.lib.uwaterloo.ca/UWLibX.html

Examples of Other Add-ons:

For Firefox

add-ons-firefox

There are so many add-ons to choose from but here are a few ideas:

  • Amazon Universal Wish List: Add an item from any website to your Amazon wish list.
  • Glue: Get suggestions from your browser on the books, movies, or music that you might like, as you surf around the web.
  • ImTranslator: An online translator that covers 1640 different language combinations.
  • AdBlock Plus: Get rid of those pesky web ads and replace them with the images you choose.

For Explorer

There are many categories available to explore, such as dictionaries and reference, travel, weather, finance, etc. Here are a few samples from different categories:

  • The Weather Channel Accelerator: Get local weather from your browser instantly.
  • PDF download for Internet Explorer: Convert web pages into PDFs.
  • Search suggestions from Google, Yahoo, or Amazon.

Activities:

Activity 1

Watch it done here

In this activity you will be installing LibX into the Firefox browser.

  • If you don’t already have Firefox on your system, download it from Mozilla @ http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/personal.html .  You don’t need to have administrator rights to download and install Firefox or its add-ons.
  • Install LibX – watch video of activity 1 – how to install Lib X

To install LibX:

Using LibX

There are some screencasts available online that may help you with using LibX.  Caution: they may be out of date. LibX homepage > screenshots/screencasts. Index page: http://www.libx.org/screencasts/

Activity 2

Installing other (fun) browser tools

  • Browse the wide variety of Mozilla FireFox add-ons.  Try adding one to FireFox.  Let us know what you think!
  • Check out the add-ons available from Internet Explorer. You won’t be able to install these       as you do need administrator rights.
  • (Optional) Post to the library blog outlining the browser tools you found useful, any you          didn’t like, and your thoughts on LibX.

Activity 3

Send a screenshot of your chosen add-in (it could be LibX or some other add-in) to libweb20@library  if you want to receive a certificate at the end of the Web 2.0 training.

Post a comment to the Web 2.0 blog on what you thought of this activity.

Additional Resources:

10 must have FireFox Extensions for Business (Computer World): http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9175084/10_must_have_Firefox_extensions_for_business

Top 10 FireFox Extensions to avoid (Computer World): http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/print/9015599/Top_10_Firefox_extensions_to_avoid

20 Must Have FireFox Extensions (Computer World): http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9011975/20_must_have_Firefox_extensions

Acknowledgements:

Written and recorded by Kristen Jensen, Rishan Munasinghe and Laura Howell.

Based on Learning 2.0 from McMaster Libraries Emerging Technologies Group: http://macetg.wordpress.com

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