Why study OPAC use? Questionable role of the OPAC in terms of relevance, use and value Are there new ways of information seeking and are they changing the way patrons are searching the OPAC? How seriously should we consider calls to abandon LCSH cataloguing? What about the “classical functions of bibliographic control”? Are South African students following the same searching behaviour patterns shown elsewhere?
UCT implemented the Web OPAC in 1999 (Aleph® ILS system from Ex Libris) Since 2006 OPAC search records have been stored as Oracle tables Transactional Log Analysis (TLA) was rejected as a tool for data analysis in favour of SQL and other reporting tools No attempt was made to study or measure search success, nor measure user satisfaction
Events that are registered in the Z69 (Web OPAC events) Oracle table (Ex Libris, 2009): Search Command - Multi field (find-a) Search Command - Basic search (find-b) Search Command - CCL (find-c) Search Command - Advanced (find-d) Search Command - Multi base (find-m) Scan Refine Search Cross sets My Library Card Help SDI Profile Save Z39 Server Search request Z39 Server scan request Search = Keyword search Scan = Alphabetical Browse search
Description of the 4 Reports: 1.Types of OPAC searches 2.Browse Searches 3.Keyword Searches 4.Self mediated services in the OPAC (My Library Card) and the Help function
Type of browse search Title Author ISSN ISBN Journal title Author & title Corporate authors Keywords from author System number Imprint Words from title Series Publisher Corporate authors Keywords from author Place of publication Keywords from place of publication Keywords from publisher MeSH subjects, Subject, LC subject, Keywords from subject, Local thesaurus, LC subject subdivision Course code Location Department General keyword Shelf mark Course code Keywords from language code Keywords from year Dewey classification number General keyword Known Items Subjects Qualification Metadata General Keywords
Type of browse search No. % Title745 910 44.3 Author360 174 21.4 Subject248 010 14.7 Shelf mark120 180 7.1 Journal title115 976 6.9 Author & title24 050 1.4 LC subject18 656 1.1 Course code14 834 0.9 System number5 450 0.3 ISBN5 314 0.3 Top ten Web OPAC Browse searches
"icts impact" AND "user" "information technology impact" AND "libraries" "internet" AND "information user" "internet" AND "library" "is branding evil" "issues in Diagnosis" "jazz" and "south africa" "jim goes to joburg" Actual Subject Browse searches in the OPAC showing inappropriate keyword and Boolean searching
Type of keyword search Words W-titles W-authors ISSN ISBN Barcode W-series W-publishers W-Unif.Titles W-place of publ W-subjects W-ToC W-sublib. W-year W-format W-language code W-theses W-notes W-material type W-collection W-shelf General keywords Known Items Subjects Qualification metadata
Type of keyword searchTotalPercentage Words3 989 423 60.8 W-titles844 494 12.9 W-authors809 381 12.3 W-subjects215 963 3.3 ISSN193 505 2.9 W-sublib.119 463 1.8 W-year80 819 1.2 W-format77 804 1.2 W-language code77 027 1.2 ISBN73 683 1.1 Top ten web OPAC Keyword searches
The study supports the trends in the literature which show decreasing use of subject searching in favour of keywords What is the role and importance of subject searching ? For whom? OPAC is rigid and unforgiving for untrained searchers OPACs still reflect 1.0 design in interface and ability Solutions?
User studies User instruction “Hacker ethics” (Evans, W. 2009) Bibliobarbarism? (Berman, S. 2006)