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Discovery: Next-Gen Library Catalogs

Overview of new library information resource search and discovery tools.

Gary Daught

on 15 September 2010

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Transcript of Discovery: Next-Gen Library Catalogs

The movement toward a new generation of library catalogs represents one of the most important technology-based transitions libraries currently face. A major portion of the interactions between a library and its users takes place through its Web site and its online catalog. Unfortunately, in recent years libraries have lagged behind other Web destinations in the way that they deliver their services and provide access to their collections. online catalog (OPAC): user interface; traditionally for accessing physical collections
integrated library system (ILS): library staff interface for managing collections and users
next-generation library catalogs: a way to go from what is familiar (at least to staff)...
discovery interfaces: incorporating a broader set of library collections using newer Web conventions Two major problems with the earlier generation of Web-based online
catalogs include a narrow scope that fails to address the full breadth of
library collections and user interfaces that lag behind the conventions used on Web destinations outside the library. Narrow scope: the online catalog can no longer serve
as a comprehensive search tool. Library users aren't familiar with the ways that libraries
organize and provide access to their collections. For example, library users don't necessarily understand that
the catalog isn't the place to search for articles, book chapters, or the contents of a library's digital collections. Users don't realize that the interface doesn't search the full
texts of materials--as they are used to elsewhere on the Web. There are too many starting points. Our users come to library Web sites with expectations set by their broader experience on the Web. These expectations apply both to the look and feel of the interface and to the delivery of content. Next-Gen Library Catalogs Insights from Marshall Breeding's Next-Gen Library Catalogs (Neal-Schuman, 2010) Many of the popular Web destinations overlap with services offered by libraries. Libraries do not hold a monopoly on organizing and providing access to information on the Web. What makes for a great user interface? Ease of use...yet still functions as a sophisticated tool for information retrieval
Self-explanatory; avoids the use of techniques that require instruction
Consistency with interface techniques employed elsewhere on the Web
Natural flow leading users to the desired goal (emphasis on what users want to accomplish, not the mechanics of operating the interface) Some key/desired features of discovery interfaces Optimized for library users not librarians
Relevancy ranked results (most relevant hits rise to the top)
Faceted navigation (results broken down by categories)
Visually enriched displays (e.g., cover art, "look inside," TOC, reviews)
Search term recommendations (e.g., "Did you mean?," auto-complete)
Recommended related resources ("More like this")
Tag clouds
Personalization (e.g., saved searches, bookmarking, patron record)
Social features (user submitted reviews, comments, tags)
Deep indexing ("pre-harvested" centralized index, full-text as metadata)
Single point of access to all library collections
Integratability with course management system Let's take a look at some discovery products live DISCOVERY Terminology Innovative Interfaces Encore at University of San Diego

. OCLC WorldCat Local at Pepperdine University
http://library.pepperdine.edu Serials Solutions Summon at University of South Australia
http://www.library.unisa.edu.au/ Ex Libris Primo at Vanderbilt University
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