New Generation OPACs

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By Maxine

Current library webs OPACs incorporate a range of enhancements aimed at utilising social networking functionality and personalisation options to suit library users’ needs.

In 2008 Peter Murray presented “Discovery tools and the OPAC”  during which he detailed, with examples, the following scheme of features that have since become commonplace within library web OPACs:

  • Suggested search modifications – such as “Did you mean …”
  • Faceted results – post search limiting
  • Persistent links / URLs – also known as permalinks to items in the catalogue
  • Syndication feeds – RSS allowing library users to remain current with latest content for a particular search
  • User created tagging – reflect users own language terms to describe items
  • User created annotations – such as reviews and comments
  • Book covers – to enhance item content
  • Recommendation engines – “Users who checked out ….also borrowed ….”
  • Social networking tools – users can share a permalink to pinpoint their return 

The intention of these features is to provide users with useful information to support their searching and discovery.

Within a school context Pru Mitchell’s recent slideshare presentation provides examples and points to consider about current and future trends for your OPAC.

How does your current school library catalogue measure up against this list of features?

What advantages can you see for your students with a discovery system that enables such enhancements?

Further Reading:

Vufind – an open source initiative