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The OPAC: Where We Stand, Late 2007 K.G. Schneider College Center for Library Automation Tallahassee, Florida September, 2007.

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Presentation on theme: "The OPAC: Where We Stand, Late 2007 K.G. Schneider College Center for Library Automation Tallahassee, Florida September, 2007."— Presentation transcript:

1 The OPAC: Where We Stand, Late 2007 K.G. Schneider College Center for Library Automation Tallahassee, Florida September, 2007

2 Access 2007 Preconference (Victoria, BC) Wednesday, October 10, 2007: How to Skin an OPAC: Integrating Users with the Social Web A one day pre-conference on new and emerging trends/developments in the area loosely described as the "social web." What are the issues and implications for academic libraries in this area? How will it impact on our current online systems and services? Is there new software appearing that can be incorporated into our current online environments? http://www.library.ubc.ca/preaccess/ http://www.library.ubc.ca/preaccess/

3 Why bother Nothing will replace the look, feel, and smell of a dusty, old, age-cured card catalog, but it's been a decade or two since we made the switch and I think it's okay to consider making our OPACs special. Nothing will replace the look, feel, and smell of a dusty, old, age-cured card catalog, but it's been a decade or two since we made the switch and I think it's okay to consider making our OPACs special. – John Blyberg, blyberg.net

4 Why they suck The reason why relevance ranking has not been implemented in our catalogs is because the library community has not asked for it above things like advanced command-line searching techniques. --Eric Lease Morgan

5 What I know about search Most people make typpos some of the time Most people make typpos some of the time Most searches are two, three, or four words without Boolean operators Most searches are two, three, or four words without Boolean operators Search is a hesitant, iterative, often random process of discovery Search is a hesitant, iterative, often random process of discovery Most people start elsewhere Most people start elsewhere Nobody reads help screens Nobody reads help screens Nobody uses advanced search Nobody uses advanced search Raw MARC records frighten end-users Raw MARC records frighten end-users People want to like your software People want to like your software

6 Last-gen OPACs (Online Public Access Catalogs) Poor at known-item searches Poor at known-item searches Weak at discovery Weak at discovery Really bad at user engagement Really bad at user engagement Digital content has to be attached like artificial limbs Digital content has to be attached like artificial limbs Walled gardens Walled gardens Out of sync with user expectations Out of sync with user expectations Policy driven by software limitations Policy driven by software limitations Lack emotional connection Lack emotional connection

7 Higher industry awareness

8 Progress and Problems Better OPACs abound! Better OPACs abound! Better OPACs Better OPACs Conceptual models have changed or are being reexamined Conceptual models have changed or are being reexaminedBut… Some fundamental issues are harder to address Some fundamental issues are harder to address

9 Next-gen OPACs: Whats Improved Ranking (relevance and otherwise) Ranking (relevance and otherwise) Spell-check Spell-check Search as a single omnipresent box Search as a single omnipresent box Recommendation functions Recommendation functions Improved integration of digital content Improved integration of digital content Overall better ease of use and lifestyle integration Overall better ease of use and lifestyle integration Software that is sometimes fun and engaging Software that is sometimes fun and engaging

10 Emotions matter The opposite of love is not hate, its indifference.

11 Four Approaches Ditch the vendor OPAC and bolt a separate product on top of your ILS Ditch the vendor OPAC and bolt a separate product on top of your ILS Go with an ILS that offers next-gen features Go with an ILS that offers next-gen features Replace the catalog with a unified finding aid Replace the catalog with a unified finding aid Wait for the vendor to catch up with state- of-the-art functionality Wait for the vendor to catch up with state- of-the-art functionality

12 New (Or Renewed) Conceptual Models Decoupled modules Decoupled modules User-centered design User-centered design The ILS as middleware (and the OPAC as userware) The ILS as middleware (and the OPAC as userware) Union catalogs Union catalogs Leveraging other peoples data and data models Leveraging other peoples data and data models Enterprise open source Enterprise open source

13 The value of open source Koha, Evergreen – proven products -- Industrial-strength, professional-quality -- Industrial-strength, professional-quality Better vendor competition Better vendor competition Healthier service orientation Healthier service orientation Actual fixes Actual fixes Disrupts the ILS market in a way that benefits the consumer Disrupts the ILS market in a way that benefits the consumer

14 Conceptual Models Under Fire Institutional silos Institutional silos Worldcat Local is in production Worldcat Local is in production PINES has been live for over a year PINES has been live for over a year Librarians are openly questioning the cost/value of local metadata enrichment Librarians are openly questioning the cost/value of local metadata enrichment Stovepipe applications Stovepipe applications Stovepipe development Stovepipe development Design that drives library policy Design that drives library policy Non-interoperability Non-interoperability FODM (Funky Old Data Models) FODM (Funky Old Data Models)

15 Spell-check (last-gen) These errors cause up to 10% of all failed searches.

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17 Spellcheck at Skokie

18 The ranking problem (Cream should float to the top) It is difficult to get ranking to work well in a surrogate-record environment It is difficult to get ranking to work well in a surrogate-record environment But that doesnt mean you shouldnt try But that doesnt mean you shouldnt try Surrogate record: a database record stands in for the object (such as a book) Surrogate record: a database record stands in for the object (such as a book) Digital object: the actual thing itself (ebook, full-text article) Digital object: the actual thing itself (ebook, full-text article)

19 Ranking, last-gen Real-world OPAC test of searching the term million (first-page results): Hog heaven: the story of the Harley-Davidson empire Hog heaven: the story of the Harley-Davidson empire The rock from Mars: a detective story on two planets / Kathy Sawyer The rock from Mars: a detective story on two planets / Kathy Sawyer The Johnstown Flood The Johnstown Flood Mosby's 2006 drug consult for nurses Mosby's 2006 drug consult for nurses Hotel Rwanda Hotel Rwanda Teens cook dessert Teens cook dessert

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23 Decoupling the OPAC from the ILS: Conceptual Readjustments The OPAC as a search engine for library materials The OPAC as a search engine for library materials Oriented toward user discovery and personal management Oriented toward user discovery and personal management The ILS as a suite of tools for collection maintenance The ILS as a suite of tools for collection maintenance Oriented toward library staff activities Oriented toward library staff activities

24 * Hosted Hegemonic OPAC

25 Strengths of WorldCat Local Leverages quasi-global database Leverages quasi-global database Development driven by nonprofit organization with large research division Development driven by nonprofit organization with large research division Consistent look and feel from one library catalog to another Consistent look and feel from one library catalog to another

26 Questions about WorldCat Local Will development keep pace with user expectations? Will development keep pace with user expectations? Will OCLC stay in this space? Will OCLC stay in this space? Will costs stay reasonable? Will costs stay reasonable? How does this compare with the PINES approach? How does this compare with the PINES approach?

27 Issues with Decoupling Eventually, the applications need to hook up Eventually, the applications need to hook up Increased maintenance of effort at the library level Increased maintenance of effort at the library level Scramble to develop interoperability standards that meet realistic needs Scramble to develop interoperability standards that meet realistic needs

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35 Hard Problems to Solve Aging legacy data structure Aging legacy data structure Why we have walled gardens Why we have walled gardens Core taxonomy (LCSH) is complex, expensive, and non-intuitive Core taxonomy (LCSH) is complex, expensive, and non-intuitive Our record-based data Our record-based data Records versus content (surrogate records versus the objects) Records versus content (surrogate records versus the objects) Getting in the river of user experience Getting in the river of user experience

36 Fluffy Bunnies (A personal list) Word clouds Word clouds Tagging (without incorporating separate outside social content) Tagging (without incorporating separate outside social content) Rate/review (without incorporating external social content) Rate/review (without incorporating external social content) RSS (unless labeled and marketed very carefully) RSS (unless labeled and marketed very carefully)

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