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David Lee King

ALA Midwinter 2007: MARS Hot Topics Discussion on OPACS



MARS hot topics discussion group, mars products and services committee: Not your Dad’s Interface: next generation opacs and search engines

Endeca: Someone from NCSU spoke

  • Endeca is not a replacement for their catalog
  • Barnes and Noble, Walmart – both use Endeca as search front-ends…
  • Does great relevance ranking, and allows you to tweak those

AquaBrowser: Someone from King County Public Library spoke

  • Deadends – syndetics content
  • Deadends – searches that bring up no results
  • No option for database implementation
  • It has RSS!
  • The need – a desire to escape OPAC limitations
  • OPAC keyword search didn’t always work
  • Also didn’t work for Ref desk staff
  • great search example – song, “Another Sunny Day” – catalog can’t find it by song title, unless they use an odd pull-down menu (using librarian terminology) – Aquabrowser just finds the song.
  • Color coding and other visual search options allow customers to browse in ways they can’t in the OPAC
  • Some librarians hate it
  • Liked ILS independence
  • The “cool factor” – very important for public libraries
  • Ran a Survey Monkey usability survey… customers liked it “gave more options when you don’t know what you’re looking for”
  • Realities: ILS independent? have to have unique ID for bib records
  • Interesting – AquaBrowser server keeps load off of the ILS server
  • Have to update AquaBrowser every night for new items
  • Also not their default catalog link (they’re trying to raise awareness of it, so they have AquaBrowser as another search option)
  • Catalogers love it – it’s a great clean-up tool (because it searches better)

Grokker: Jody Fagan, James Madison University

  • They did usability tests with EBSCOHost’s visual search interface
  • Everyone who has an EBSCOHost product has this visual interface – EBSCOHost administrator has the ability to set this up through the administrator interface
  • Half of the students tested liked the visual search interface better than the traditional search
  • From EBSCOHost – 1% of libraries have disabled visual search
  • And visual searches accounts for only 1% of all searches
  • Summary: change default search behavior from phrase to and search (mirrors googleish search); show visual search as an option

Interesting – two of the presenters showed screencast snippets as part of their presentation. Cool.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Michelle

    Hello David! I believe the person from KCLS who presented Aquabrowser is named David Wasserman.

  • Michelle

    Hello David! I believe the person from KCLS who presented Aquabrowser is named David Wasserman.

  • http://www.haineslibrary.org/ Dan Coleman

    After 14 years with a frustratingly inaccurate, user unfriendly, and out of date Winnebago Spectrum OPAC, the Haines Borough Public Library just replaced our old OPAC with Aquabrowser and our users are actually excited to search the catalog again. We’re the first installation in the state and while it’s been a leap of faith totally replacing our old OPAC, we figured we didn’t have anything to lose because our patrons stopped using the OPAC years ago. We’ve had a few glitches that we’re working through on the installation, but overall Aquabrowser has impressed everyone who’s used it. Our collection is finally getting used again. No OPAC is perfect, but this one goes a long way to solving our issues at a reasonable cost without the need and much larger costs of replacing our ILS too.

  • http://www.haineslibrary.org Dan Coleman

    After 14 years with a frustratingly inaccurate, user unfriendly, and out of date Winnebago Spectrum OPAC, the Haines Borough Public Library just replaced our old OPAC with Aquabrowser and our users are actually excited to search the catalog again. We’re the first installation in the state and while it’s been a leap of faith totally replacing our old OPAC, we figured we didn’t have anything to lose because our patrons stopped using the OPAC years ago. We’ve had a few glitches that we’re working through on the installation, but overall Aquabrowser has impressed everyone who’s used it. Our collection is finally getting used again. No OPAC is perfect, but this one goes a long way to solving our issues at a reasonable cost without the need and much larger costs of replacing our ILS too.