Enhancing Automated Library Catalogs: PowerPoint Presentation

Enhancing Online Library
Catalogs for Today’s Users
Heather Payne Savino
ILS 506
July 13, 2007
In the digital age, users are increasingly relying
on online public access catalogs (OPACs) as their
primary means of browsing library collections,
locating and selecting materials.
Internet sites such as Google and Amazon.com
have influenced users’ expectations.
Although the growth of automated catalogs has
resulted in many improvements over card
catalogs, many OPACs retain the traditional
format of the card catalog.
OPACs must be improved to meet today’s users’
needs and expectations.
Ease of Use
 Users prefer ease of use over quality
 Library catalogs are perceived as difficult to use
 Easy-to-use interfaces
 One-stop searching
 Simple instructions
 Context-sensitive, interactive help
Relevancy Ranking
 Users expect the most relevant hits to come to the top
 Dealing with information overload: most users will not
go beyond the first page of results
 Ranking by relative position of terms, the number of
occurrences of terms, proximity of multiple search terms
to each other etc.
 Assigning more weight to terms found in subject
headings, classification captions, tables of contents and
Enriching Content
 Users need enriched content to help find and
evaluate materials
 Additional content improves access and
 Must include summaries, tables of contents,
cover art, reviews and excerpts
 Provision of full-text materials through catalog
Remote Browsing
 Ability to browse library collections through the
 Inserting hyperlinks which will create new
searches for related materials based on criteria
such as author, subject heading or series title
 Allowing users to click on call numbers to see
books with similar classifications
Providing an Information Gateway
 Ability to access both library resources and
external resources
 Including internet results along with OPAC
 Cataloging internet resources
 Creating union catalogs with other libraries
Improved Cataloging
 Outmoded cataloging practices impede patrons’ ability to
use and understand library catalog records
 Make all access points equal
 Remove library jargon from catalogs
 Make works in collections and anthologies accessible
 Banish inversion of name and subject headings
 Use multiple classification numbers and tagging to
increase access
Improved Search Capabilities
 Improved search capabilities to help improve access
 Advanced search features like the ability to save and
reuse search criteria and results, combine queries etc.
 Qualification cataloging (searching on qualifications such
as the particular discipline or format)
 Faceted navigation/clustering (separating results into
categories that users can click on to narrow their search)
Library 2.0 and Personalization
 Incorporation of Library 2.0 concepts: interactive, multimedia, personalized services
 User accounts that keep track of users’ favorite authors
and subjects, enabling librarians to make
recommendations and notify users when the library
acquires new materials that match their interests
 Allowing users to add comments and reviews to
bibliographic records
 Allowing users to tag items in the catalog
With so many users happy to turn to internet search
engines for their information needs, library catalogs will
have to offer more to attract patrons.
This means incorporating better content, improving
cataloging, access and search capabilities, creating easyto-use interfaces, helping users find what they need
through relevancy ranking, allowing remote browsing,
and allowing users to personalize the OPAC to their
The OPAC of the future must be a portal to the world of
information, helping users find the information they need
wherever it can be found.
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