OLA 2014: A Future of Freedom and Innovation in Library Catalogues

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For too long the catalogue has been an extension of proprietary systems, offering us little opportunity to influence the functionality and usability of this mission-critical tool. While user expectations and our competition have changed radically, catalogues have not.

We will look at some current best-in-class catalogue examples, and consider the future of the catalogue, looking at how we can embrace next-generation trends like Linked Data and the Semantic Web. By advocating for systems that provide openness and flexibility, libraries will be empowered to face an uncertain technological future.

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  • Image credit: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c1/04SHANG4963.jpg
  • Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/trucolorsfly/2970326231/http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/legalcode
  • I am a front line librarian in a single-branch public library (Westmount Public Library, Westmount, QC), who in my work makes daily decisions, small and large, on behalf of our users with the aim of giving them the best possible access to our collections.
  • We’re working on implementing a new discover-ish (discover-esque) layer for our librarybut which is still, ahem, not up and running…
  • “Nothing to see here” (yet…)Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cabbit/6122803170/
  • WHAT I FOUND WHEN LOOKING AT CATALOGUES: very few updated, and the ubiquitous ILS-generated OPAC still visible almost EVERYWHERE.Call for change loud, but whether it involves fundamentally changing the catalogue or something apart (and beyond) from it is less clear. Francis Miksa (2012)Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kaptainkobold/9324963783/
  • To talk about the catalogue as a central library service, at minimum, you need to think a bit about a few different things…
  • Of the 25% of Americans who went to a library website in the past 12 months… This is a crucial services that affects many people.http://libraries.pewinternet.org/files/legacy-pdf/PIP_Library%20services_Report.pdf
  • The catalogue as central public-facing service of libraries, not day-to-day cataloguing (i.e., maintenance and updating of records, practices, standards, etc.) is neglected.The tools we are trying to use are no longer serving their intended purpose.
  • When they come to library catalogues – those on the web, anyway – users are expecting the same functionalities that they’re used tothis is not what they find.
  • There are lots of discrepancies between web interfaces / search and catalogues.Image credit: Http://images.cdn.fotopedia.com/flickr-3043113109-original.jpg
  • We aren’t gorillas,BUT we can at least interpretelements they’ve rendered commonplace for our own uses and contexts to help our users find their way.Image credit: Used with permission from Microsoft. (http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/legal/intellectualproperty/Permissions/default.aspx)
  • Libraries also have websites… are they as behind-the-times? Not really, until you search the catalogue and you land in 1995…Image credit:http://ahtibat-stock.deviantart.com/art/Man-Scared-Face-Reference-164047513http://ahtibat-stock.deviantart.com/journal/
  • Convenience for users trumps all – if they have to jump through hoops they’ll find it elsewhere.Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kevinl8888/1029492933/
  • Both expectations and skills have INCREASED.
  • Story about what an actual student looking for a short story contained in a collection via a traditional online catalogue (once they get to it). Gap between user knowledge/expectations and what we offer via our catalogues and the effects of the whole-item bias.
  • Lorcan Dempsey (2012) – “Attention switch” : Catalogue grew when info resources scarce, attention abundant – now the opposite is true. “Workflow switch” : Info seekers built their workflow around the library, now library expected to build around people’s workflows. Implication is that services come to us many different ways (across many entry points). Image credit:http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Adas_Israel_Synagogue_-_moving_day.jpg
  • Collections have changed immensely, and quickly. The tools and systems of organization we’re still depending on were designed for a well-defined information space.
  • Can’t assume discreet, physical manifestations anymore. Can’t assume that libraries control many / most of these.IF OUR CATALOGUES CAN’T GIVE ACCESS TO THE COLLECTIONS and / or INFORMATION USERS WANT, THEY’RE IN TROUBLE. Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nypl/3110117432/-- NYPL Sign (date unknown)
  • Texas BiblioTech = interesting example: http://bexarbibliotech.org/
  • http://trove.nla.gov.au/This catalogue deals well with a wide variety of resource formats. Bonus: Neat social editing of scanned newspaper text!
  • http://trove.nla.gov.au/
  • http://serendipomatic.org/“Serendipity engine” for digital materials in libraries / museums / archives around the world.Created by One week | One tool – open source software institute.
  • Not to blame, butto understand so we can choose best path forward. ULTIMATELY, IT’S LIBRARIES’ PROBLEM TO SOLVE.
  • Major issues: -Book / whole item bias - many echoes of cards > primacy of “The Record” in online catalogues- increasing EXCLUSION of different resource types
  • For all of our massive efforts, proportion of universe we’re actually providing access to has shrunk dramatically due to the exponential increase of recorded knowledge.Image credit: http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2008/06/16/science/17mund.1.ready.html
  • Miksa (2012) says strength of library catalogues, “… has always been in differentiating in one way of another the more valuable or relevant from the less (…), and by taking at least some of the valuable as their province.” [p.23]Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zen-whisk/7117949979/
  • Campbell and Fast (2004, p.26): “Are we witnessing an evolution in information design and delivery, one that is different from, but continuous with, the information systems we have used in the past? Or are we witnessing a major disruption, a large-scale redefinition of information design and delivery so radically different from the traditional library environment that it renders irrelevant our experience in bibliographic control?”  Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/vige/3151240147/
  • We’ve looked at the bibliographic aspects of the catalogue re. it falling out of step with online expectations, what about the tool itself?[An aside, on the topic of history and librarians who were ahead of their time…TheMundaneum – considered the earliest, mechanical “internet” was created by a librarian Paul Otlet, 1910 or so, in Belgium.There is a museum that preserves this interesting piece of history: http://www.mundaneum.org/en]
  • 1970s - terminals / telnet | 1980s - commercial systems | 1990s / 2000s - stagnation and dissatisfaction | For the 2010s? Still more questions than answers…Image credits:http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/51/Dynix-Main-Menu-via-Telnet.jpghttp://www.flickr.com/photos/dukeyearlook/7046582583/http://www.flickr.com/photos/leyink/6837528156/http://www.flickr.com/photos/umpcportal/3221591123/
  • 1) Priority setting:Who sets priorities? How?2) Communication structures: How are library,and more importantly, user needs communicated to vendors? Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/el_nando/10996448505/
  • The physical and theoretical extents of the catalogue are both totally opaque to users.
  • Another piece that lies between catalogue and bibliographic structures is how the data created is encoded, structured and used.
  • Focus primarily on MARC here, but there are a lot of other influences on how data is structured and presented even in a no frills, “standard” catalogue … AACR / RDA, ISBD, LCSH, Authorities, and last but not least, Classification.MARC standard was originally created at LC in the 1960s. It WAS “machine readable” for certain types of machines, which are no longer the ones most people are using to look at MARC data – today, square pegs in round holes.
  • Cataloguers should be creating DATA not RECORDS – “AGILE CATALOGUING” = NOT INERT (Chambers, 2013)Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/chasblackman/8502151556/
  • In the meantime… An example of MARC playing well with others, from the Scottsdale (AZ) Public Library. This is a reader’s advisory tool that, “… combines library catalog MARC data, content enrichment service images and descriptions, and library staff book reviews on Goodreads.com”Serendipitous search by a variety of themes offered. I chose “your life story”…http://gimme.scottsdalelibrary.org/
  • … and Steve Martin’s biography was suggested.http://gimme.scottsdalelibrary.org/
  • Local copies are definitely an artefact of card catalogues that if we had to do from scratch today wouldn’t even make sense, let alone be adopted.Image credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mimeograph,_1918.png
  • One element of many catalogues that, while imperfect, actually is linked to data outside the individual silo.
  • It has been shown repeatedly that users like and want enrichment.Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zen-whisk/7117949979/
  • Major expectations by users from web in this area – ever-increasing, especially as search becoming de facto more standardized.
  • JakobNeilsensays “Designs that invoke this mental model but work differently are confusing.” Hmmm… sound familiar?From:“Mental Models For Search Are Getting Firmer” May 9, 2005,http://www.nngroup.com/articles/mental-models-for-search/
  • A sampling of issues re. current OPAC search and best practices.
  • This is an example from the Ryerson University Library and Archives of a great finding tool:http://apps.library.ryerson.ca/bookfinder/https://github.com/ryersonlibrary/rula-finder/
  • OCLC’s 2009 report on online catalogs found that: delivery of wanted items is as important, if not more so, than the discovery experience (p. v) 
  • Simple but important improvements for results list displays.Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lselibrary/3926512754/
  •  
  • Defining features as outlined by NCG4LIB list by Eric Lease Morgan from Notre Dame in 2007 http://infomotions.com/musings/ngc/Marshall Breeding also has an excellent checklist and review of products in his chapter in Catalogue 2.0 (2013).
  • In several ways…
  • Who better than a “Librarian with Attitude” (AKA Cecily Walker) to outline a few UX basics?http://cecily.info/2010/10/21/a-user-experience-primer/
  • Aaron Shmidt: UX’ed catalogue examples not fully featured, but gives an idea of look and feel.He and Ontario’s own Amanda Etches’ are gurus of library UX – check out their courses.http://weareinflux.com/Plus more from Aaron on the catalogue user experience (or lack thereof):lj.libraryjournal.com/2013/02/opinion/aaron-schmidt/catalog-by-design-the-user-experience
  • Https://library3.hud.ac.uk/summon/(Christensen, 2013) Need for more “likeable” features – e.g. Univ. of Huddersfield satisfaction jumped to an almost-unheard-of 84% after moving to anNGCGAMING MODEL where users gain points (library card “hotness”) the more they used library services.
  • The game product is called “Lemon Tree”. Info at http://librarygame.tumblr.com/
  • One example of an appealing, beautifully designed catalogue.http://www.richlandlibrary.com/
  • And another…The Stockholm library built theirs in-house using open source tools, Drupal & Solr, and built their own APIs. They have fully integrated emedia delivery build in to the site. They started all of this by evaluating their users’ needs and building to meet them, not the other way around.https://biblioteket.stockholm.se/en/start
  • There is a great deal of information available on usability re. the web generally, and for libraries specifically, which I won’t repeat here. But, there are some catalogue-specific considerations.
  • Stats relatively easily available way to look at usability… - Look at existing OPAC logs for zero-result searches or other issues that might inspire questions. - Considerusing outside tools like Google Analytics or heat mapping tools (e.g., Crazy Egg)Formore information re. GA in libraries see: T. Farney and N. McHale.Library Technogy Report, May/June 2013, vol. 49. no. 4,Maximizing Google Analytics: Six High-Impact Practices.Image credit: http://arturog.deviantart.com/art/keyboard-87528399
  • Easier to improve / update mobile services since they’re newer across the board. Here are someSPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS…
  • There are manyarticles on this in the library literature, and more for the web, generally…Forsomerecommended best practices for mobile sites see Koster and Heesakkers Ch. 4,p.63-,in Catalogue 2.0. Also, re. web tool usability we need to think about Responsive Web Design (RWD). See Flexible Everything: Getting Responsive with Web Design(by Jeremy Snell in CiLwww.infotoday.com, April 2013) for a good overview.
  • We need to look at new ways of generating and offering service to the public through the catalogue. This means a fully modular approach, using widely-accepted web standards and tools which can be swapped in and out as needs evolve. Our data also needs to be out there working for us and our users, not locked Rapunzel-style in silos. Let’s let the catalogue out of the bag, and help our users and ourselves now and into the future!
  • Photo credit: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/17/science/17mund.html
  • OLA 2014: A Future of Freedom and Innovation in Library Catalogues

    1. 1. Moving Toward a Future of Freedom and Innovation in Library Catalogues Accessing Our Collections in 2014 and Beyond Jocelyne Andrews - OLA 2014
    2. 2. I am not a guru…
    3. 3. … I work here.
    4. 4. Discovery layer Discover-ish layer “Discover-esque layer”
    5. 5. Nothing to see here…
    6. 6. Call for change is loud, but what change?
    7. 7. the web hardware content providers usability collections librarians UX interfaces / design ? vendors / developers search functions data standards bibliographic standards ILSs users libraries
    8. 8. 82% searched the library catalog 72% got basic library information 62% reserved books (all formats), CDs, and DVDs. 51% renewed a book, DVD, or CD. 51% used an online database. 48% library programs or events info 44% got research or homework help. 30% read book reviews or got book recommendations. 30% checked whether they owed fines or paid their fines online. 27% signed up for library programs and events. 22% borrowed or downloaded an e-book. 6% reserved a meeting room. From: Pew Internet report on Library Services in the Digital Age, January 22, 2013 http://libraries.pewinternet.org/files/legacy-pdf/PIP_Library%20services_Report.pdf
    9. 9. WHY HAS THE CATALOGUE BEEN NEGLECTED? IMPACTS? ORIGINS? 1
    10. 10. WHAT ARE BIGGEST ISSUES NOW? 2
    11. 11. WHAT CAN BE DONE NOW? WHAT NEXT? 3
    12. 12. WHY HAS THE CATALOGUE BEEN NEGLECTED? IMPACTS? ORIGINS?
    13. 13. WHAT IS NEGLECTED, EXACTLY? WEB HAS GALLOPPED FORWARD, MANY CATALOGUES HAVE NOT USERS’ EXPECTATIONS (& SKILLS) HAVE CHANGED COLLECTIONS: WHAT & WHERE?
    14. 14. WHAT IS NEGLECTED, EXACTLY? WEB HAS GALLOPPED FORWARD, MANY CATALOGUES HAVE NOT USERS’ EXPECTATIONS (& SKILLS) HAVE CHANGED COLLECTIONS: WHAT & WHERE?
    15. 15. familiarity
    16. 16. ―Mimic the gorillas‖ - K. Schneider
    17. 17. Real-life horrifying situation
    18. 18. Don‘t make users jump through hoops
    19. 19. WHAT IS NEGLECTED, EXACTLY? WEB HAS GALLOPPED FORWARD, MANY CATALOGUES HAVE NOT USERS’ EXPECTATIONS (& SKILLS) HAVE CHANGED COLLECTIONS: WHAT & WHERE?
    20. 20. Once Upon a Time: A Short Story
    21. 21. Students felt that… “The Web is cluttered, the catalogue is organized. However, this organization was not always helpful: it was admired, but not understood.” Campbell and Fast, 2004
    22. 22. ATTENTION SWITCH WORKFLOW SWITCH
    23. 23. WHAT IS NEGLECTED, EXACTLY? WEB HAS GALLOPPED FORWARD, MANY CATALOGUES HAVE NOT USERS’ EXPECTATIONS (& SKILLS) HAVE CHANGED COLLECTIONS: WHAT & WHERE?
    24. 24. ―BENTO BOX‖ RESULTS
    25. 25. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? (RESPONSIBILITY?) THE BIBLIOGRAPHIC UNIVERSE MULTIVERSE A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE OPAC VENDORS
    26. 26. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? (RESPONSIBILITY?) THE BIBLIOGRAPHIC UNIVERSE MULTIVERSE A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE OPAC VENDORS
    27. 27. differentiating more relevant from less -Miksa
    28. 28. EVOLUTION OR DISRUPTION?
    29. 29. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? (RESPONSIBILITY?) THE BIBLIOGRAPHIC UNIVERSE MULTIVERSE A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE OPAC VENDORS
    30. 30. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? (RESPONSIBILITY?) THE BIBLIOGRAPHIC UNIVERSE MULTIVERSE A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE OPAC VENDORS
    31. 31. setting priorities + communication structures
    32. 32. WHAT ARE BIGGEST ISSUES NOW?
    33. 33. SCOPE: REPRESENTATIONS META / DATA SEARCH DELIVERY (BEYOND ACCESS)
    34. 34. SCOPE: REPRESENTATIONS META / DATA SEARCH DELIVERY (BEYOND ACCESS)
    35. 35. MARC + BEYOND
    36. 36. “AGILE CATALOGUING” - Chambers
    37. 37. LOCAL COPIES
    38. 38. LINKED CONTENT / ENRICHMENT
    39. 39. SCOPE: REPRESENTATIONS META / DATA SEARCH DELIVERY (BEYOND ACCESS)
    40. 40. ―Designs that invoke this mental model but work differently are confusing.‖ Neilsen, 2005
    41. 41. 1. BOOLEAN SEARCH 2. FACETS 3. RANKING / RELEVANCE 4. SHELF BROWSING
    42. 42. SCOPE: REPRESENTATIONS META / DATA SEARCH DELIVERY (BEYOND ACCESS)
    43. 43. DELIVERY: NOT LISTS
    44. 44. WHAT CAN BE DONE NOW? WHAT NEXT?
    45. 45. NGCs + DISCOVERY SHIFT THE FOCUS TO USERS GOING MOBILE (AND BEYOND…) LET THE CAT(ALOGUE) OUT OF THE BAG! THE FUTURE OF DATA
    46. 46. Next Generation Catalogue 1. It is not a catalogue 2. It avoids multiple databases 3. It is bent on providing services against search results 4. It is built on using things open Eric Lease Morgan, 2007
    47. 47. NGCs + DISCOVERY SHIFT THE FOCUS TO USERS GOING MOBILE (AND BEYOND…) LET THE CAT(ALOGUE) OUT OF THE BAG! THE FUTURE OF DATA
    48. 48. UX (IT‘S AN ATTITUDE, PEOPLE!)
    49. 49. http://weareinflux.com/
    50. 50. University of Huddersfield, UK
    51. 51. USABILITY
    52. 52. NGCs + DISCOVERY SHIFT THE FOCUS TO USERS GOING MOBILE (AND BEYOND…) LET THE CAT(ALOGUE) OUT OF THE BAG! THE FUTURE OF DATA
    53. 53. NGCs + DISCOVERY SHIFT THE FOCUS TO USERS GOING MOBILE (AND BEYOND…) LET THE CAT(ALOGUE) OUT OF THE BAG! THE FUTURE OF DATA
    54. 54. Refererences (pt. 1) Breeding, Marshall. ―Next-Generation Discovery: An Overview of the European Scene.‖ In Catalogue 2.0: The Future of the Library Catalogue, 37–64. U.S. Neal-Schuman, 2013. Campbell, D. Grant, and Karl V. Fast. ―Panizzi, Lubetzky, and Google: How the Modern Web Environment Is Reinventing the Theory of Cataloguing.‖ The Canadian Journal of Information and Library Science / La Revue Canadienne Des Sciences de L’information et de Bibliothéconomie 28, no. 3 (2004): 25–38. Chambers, Sally. ―Introduction.‖ In Catalogue 2.0: The Future of the Library Catalogue, xv–xxi. U.S. NealSchuman, 2013. Christensen, Anne. ―Next Generation Catalogues: What Do Users Think?‖ In Catalogue 2.0: The Future of the Library Catalogue, 1–16. U.S. Neal-Schuman, 2013. Dempsey, Lorcan. ―Thirteen Ways of Looking at Libraries, Discovery, and the Catalog: Scale, Workflow, Attention.‖ Educause Review Online, December 10, 2012. http://www.educause.edu/ero/article/thirteenways-looking-libraries-discovery-and-catalog-scale-workflow-attention. Fagan, Jody Condit. ―Usability Studies of Faceted Browsing: A Literature Review.‖ Information Technology and Libraries (June 2010): 58–66. Farney, Tabatha, and Nina McHale. ―Maximizing Google Analytics: Six High-Impact Practices.‖ Library Technology Reports 49, no. 4 (June 2013). Fay, Robin. ―‗Why Isn‘t My Book on the Shelf?‘ And Other Mysteries of the Library.‖ In Radical Cataloging: Essays at the Front, 228–230. McFarland & Co., 2008. Hauer, Manfred. ―Users Want Catalog Enrichment.‖ Information Outlook 15, no. 7 (November 2011): 23–25. Koster, Lucas, and Derek Heesakkers. ―The Mobile Library Catalogue.‖ In Catalogue 2.0: The Future of the Library Catalogue, 65–92. U.S. Neal-Schuman, 2013. ―Library Services in the Digital Age.‖ Pew Internet & American Life Project, January 22, 2013. http://libraries.pewinternet.org/2013/01/22/Library-services/.
    55. 55. Refererences (pt. 2) Mi, Jia, and Cathy Weng. ―Revitalizing the Library OPAC: Interface, Searching, and Display Challenges.‖ Information Technology and Libraries (March 2008): 5–22. Miksa, Francis. ―The Legacy of the Library Catalogue for the Present.‖ Library Trends 61, no. 1 (2012): 7– 34. Neilsen, Jakob. ―Mental Models For Search Are Getting Firmer,‖ May 9, 2005. http://www.nngroup.com/articles/mental-models-for-search/ . ―Online Catalogs: What Users and Librarians Want.‖ OCLC, 2009. http://www.oclc.org/content/dam/oclc/reports/onlinecatalogs/fullreport.pdf. Schmidt, Aaron. ―Catalog by Design.‖ The User Experience, February 6, 2013. http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2013/02/opinion/aaron-schmidt/catalog-by-design-the-user-experience/#_. Schneider, Karen G. ―How OPACs Suck, Part 1: Relevance Rank (Or the Lack of It).‖ ALA Techsource, March 13, 2006. http://www.alatechsource.org/blog/2006/03/how-opacs-suck-part-1-relevance-rank-or-thelack-of-it.html. ———. ―How OPACs Suck, Part 2: The Checklist of Shame.‖ ALA Techsource, April 3, 2006. http://www.alatechsource.org/blog/2006/04/how-opacs-suck-part-2-the-checklist-of-shame.html. ———. ―How OPACs Suck, Part 3: The Big Picture.‖ ALA Techsource, May 20, 2006. http://www.alatechsource.org/blog/2006/05/how-opacs-suck-part-3-the-big-picture.html. Snell, Jeremy. ―Flexible Everything: Getting Responsive With Web Design.‖ Computers in Libraries (April 2013): 12–16. Thomsett-Scott, Beth. ―The Thrills and Chills of Employing Competitive Usability in a Study of Online Public Access Catalogs.‖ Technical Services Quarterly 25, no. 1 (2007): 27–37. Walker, Cecily. ―A User Experience Primer.‖ Librarian With Attitude, October 21, 2010. http://cecily.info/2010/10/21/a-user-experience-primer/.
    56. 56. Jocelyne Andrews jandrews@westmount.org @jocelynea

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