Posted tagged ‘OPAC’

What’s So Bad About Google

January 26, 2009

The Autocat regulars have picked up the Guardian article on OCLC last week, and the direction they’ve gone with the conversation seems a little….oh what’s the word…wrong?  Complaints immediately sprang up regarding the anti-OCLC agenda held by those who were interviewed (why this is surprising, or a problem I don’t get).  And people responded even more vehemently against the suggestion that it’s wrong for catalog records to be part of the hidden web.

The arguement goes something like this, people can search for a book in either a library’s own catalog or in Worldcat, so why would you want to let Google do it?  Well let’s see, because people use Google and they don’t use Worldcat (the majority of patrons have probably never even heard of it).  Because Google is intuitive to use and our catalogs are anything but.  Because we have to meet the patrons at their level and not force them to come up to ours.

Furthermore, there’s a bit of a fear that giving search engines access to our data will make our own systems irrelevant.  That’s only true in that our systems are already bordering on decrepitude.  Our jobs are to find ways to let people discover our resources.  To do so we should use every single tool at our disposal.  There is no possible downside if a new patron finds our stuff that wouldn’t have otherwise.  Really who cares if this discovery happened through an approved channel or not?  The important thing is that it was able to occur.

Pushing the Boundaries

August 27, 2008

The recent release of III’s Millenium 2007 (not a typo) update has come with one fairly large problem, but it’s one that probably should not be corrected.  Namely that the online catalog no longer functions with outdated versions of internet explorer.

Now it’s one thing to demand that libraries keep up with technology, but it’s another to ask our patrons to do the same, and we have had quite a few complaints because of this.  III clients are libraries, and despite the fact that the catalog is a product designed for the patrons, they are a step removed from the catalog’s designers, and I doubt their voices are ever really heard except for when it’s second hand.

It’s rough because we should be teaching our patrons a bit of computer know how as part of our jobs (in this instance, start using Firefox), but we can’t expect everyone to have the ability to keep current.

Reprioritizing

June 25, 2008

I had an interesting conversation yesterday while trying to fix 5 particularly annoying computers yesterday (all were the same system, all behaved differently.  One fixed itself and another needs to have its harddrive reformated).  Anyway, it was pointed out to me how fascinating it was that as soon as a computer has trouble in the building, all other work is instantly dropped until it is fixed.

This really is true, I have a lot of work right now in tech services trying to wrap up FY’08 and a broken computer trumped it all.  And it doesn’t matter which computer.  In this instance the problems were all public use workstations, but in the past I’ve dropped everything to work on 1 of our 8 computers that are only used to access the opac.  If one of these is down for a day it’s not a big deal, except apparently it is.

So, when did this happen?  Why is one pac more important than getting out our new books, working on the budget, or even working on the payroll!?  Especially since I don’t think these priorities were ever consciously created, they just evolved into their present state.  Kind of sad really.

Going Mobile

June 9, 2008

The LibrarianInBlack has been thinking about taking catalogs mobile and asks the big question, why hasn’t anyone done this already?  Well that’s not quite true, according to her link to a study by Edward Vielmetti there are actually 15 libraries who have taken this step, but that’s such an insignificant number that it might as well be no one.

Meanwhile, in the non-library focused part of the web Apple announced the IPhone 2.0 today at the WWDC.  The price is being knocked down so that it is almost affordable, which means even more people will be out there with mobile web devices, and that’s definitely a trend that’s going to continue.  This is a huge market that we absolutely have to tap into, and it’s unforgivable that only 15 libraries have taken this step.