Next Generation OPAC

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Next Generation OPAC

  1. 1. Jeff Wisniewski University of Pittsburgh [email_address] Implementing a Next Gen OPAC
  2. 2. this presentation is… <ul><li>Not a full-on case study </li></ul><ul><li>Not the result of post implementation data analysis (we don’t have that data yet) </li></ul><ul><li>A look into our implementation, our thoughts on some lessons learned, and a few general musings about the state of the art </li></ul>
  3. 3. background <ul><li>Voyager library for approximately 14 years </li></ul><ul><li>Federated search via WebFeat/SerialsSolutions </li></ul><ul><li>Local digital collections comprising some 50,000 objects </li></ul><ul><li>Approximately 350 subscription databases </li></ul>
  4. 4. why ? <ul><li>Voyager system </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Legacy design and functionality </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Poor usability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Inadequately configurable </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Siloed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Old school </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Web .05 </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. because this…
  6. 6. … is nothing like this
  7. 7. … but this pretty much is
  8. 8. current status <ul><li>New catalog PITTCat+ currently in beta, Aug. – Dec. 2008 </li></ul><ul><li>Light promotion </li></ul><ul><li>Hard cutover Jan. 2009 </li></ul>
  9. 9. goals <ul><li>Intuitive interface, should NOT have to be taught </li></ul><ul><li>Forgive them father for their sins </li></ul><ul><li>Expose more of our collection </li></ul><ul><li>Integrate various silos </li></ul><ul><li>Get it up and running yesterday </li></ul>
  10. 10. timeline
  11. 11. selection process <ul><li>Literature review (thanks Marshall!) </li></ul><ul><li>Feature matrix </li></ul><ul><li>No RFP, used a one page functionality checklist </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Critical – Highly Desirable – Desirable </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Vendor demonstrations with staff </li></ul><ul><li>Staff evaluation </li></ul><ul><li>Phone interviews </li></ul>
  12. 13. selection process lessons <ul><li>No RFP, the world is passing us by… </li></ul><ul><li>Be flexible in your requirements </li></ul><ul><li>No product will do EVERYTHING you want </li></ul><ul><li>Remember you’re doing this for your USERS not your staff </li></ul><ul><li>You’re NOT selecting a new ILS so stop acting like you are! Please be agile. </li></ul>
  13. 14. <ul><ul><li>“ Librarians like to search, are good at it, and get paid to do it; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Users don’t like to search, are not very good at it, and it costs them to do it” </li></ul></ul>
  14. 15. implementation
  15. 16. beta it baby! <ul><li>Beta is a librarians’ best friend </li></ul><ul><li>Is industry standard </li></ul><ul><li>More eyeballs </li></ul><ul><li>Gentle transition </li></ul><ul><li>Feedback from larger number of users </li></ul>
  16. 17. it’s not old, it’s classic <ul><li>Traditional PITTCat renamed PITTCat Classic </li></ul><ul><li>I would vote for keeping your catalog name, or some variation thereof </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Strongly branded </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Search logs of catalog, website and federated search show users assume everything searches everything anyway </li></ul></ul>
  17. 18. communication- internal <ul><li>Project wiki </li></ul><ul><li>Known issues list </li></ul><ul><li>Feedback </li></ul>
  18. 19. communication- external <ul><li>Soft promotion </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Feedback </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Usability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Article in university paper </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Website announcements </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Demonstrations </li></ul></ul>
  19. 20. usability <ul><li>Most products’ interfaces fairly configurable </li></ul><ul><li>Plain language! </li></ul><ul><li>Ease of use </li></ul><ul><li>It’s not a better looking catalog, it’s a completely different animal! (so get out of “catalog” mindset </li></ul><ul><li>No character limits for most fields!! </li></ul><ul><li>Usability tested old catalog, currently testing new </li></ul>
  20. 21. your data under harsh lighting <ul><li>Your data may be uglier than you realized </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The next gen system will expose past sins and inconsistencies and shine light on cataloging rule changes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You will probably need to prioritize issues and do post implementation revisions </li></ul></ul>
  21. 22. the open <ul><li>Exploit the platform </li></ul><ul><li>Examine data sources critically and use the best available </li></ul><ul><li>MARC database records vs. website database descriptions </li></ul>
  22. 25. it’s not just a prettier OPAC <ul><li>MARC data is just the beginning </li></ul><ul><li>Internal </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Website </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Locally created databases </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Subject guides, aids </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>OAI </li></ul></ul><ul><li>External </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Google books </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Library thing </li></ul></ul>
  23. 26. … but it sure is purty! <ul><li>These are by and large visually fluent tools- exploit </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Syndetics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Visual search tools </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>icons </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Don’t underestimate the power of design, the “wow” factor so DO spend time and energy making it pretty </li></ul>
  24. 27. who’s a pretty catalog? <ul><li>Attention web designers: You have 50 milliseconds to make a good first impression! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Users judge websites QUICKLY and SUPERFICALLY </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>These judgments are persistent </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Attention web designers: You have 50 milliseconds to make a good first impression! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Behaviour & Information Technology, Volume 25, Issue 2 March 2006 , pages 115 - 126 </li></ul></ul>
  25. 28. <ul><ul><li>“… I had a class of Sports and Recreation Management students in working at the library workstations.  I had them go to PITTCat+ and search.  One student went, &quot;Wow!&quot; as the result popped up.  It's the first time I can remember such an amazed and delighted response to a DATABASE.  I think PITTCat+ is a hit.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>-Pitt librarian </li></ul></ul>
  26. 29. implementation lessons <ul><li>Stand on the shoulders of others </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Find a configuration you like and work from it </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Onsite setup assistance is really a bargain </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Nothing beats face to face! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Decide before hand if you’re going to tackle ALL possible changes (wording, data inconsistencies, etc.) as part of implementation </li></ul>
  27. 30. give your catalog legs <ul><li>Embeddable search box </li></ul><ul><li>Widget </li></ul><ul><li>Search bar plug-in </li></ul><ul><li>Facebook search application </li></ul><ul><li>University portal for academics </li></ul><ul><li>One click export options </li></ul>
  28. 31. the social <ul><li>You may or may not be ready </li></ul><ul><li>Move ahead anyway </li></ul><ul><li>Be social while being anti-social </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Library Thing tags as index terms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sharable lists or bookshelves </li></ul></ul>
  29. 32. articles <ul><li>Fed search integration? </li></ul><ul><li>Like two silos connected (that’s progress!) by a covered walkway </li></ul><ul><li>Separate engines separate actions </li></ul>
  30. 35. are we there yet? are we there yet? <ul><li>Will never be perfect </li></ul><ul><li>Should never be “done” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It’s open, and easier…so keep adding, changing and refining </li></ul></ul>
  31. 36. general lessons <ul><li>Expectation management </li></ul><ul><ul><li>journal records still stink </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Local vs hosted still largely determined by size </li></ul><ul><li>Staff resistance </li></ul><ul><li>User enthusiasm </li></ul><ul><li>Data cleanup and/or workarounds </li></ul><ul><li>Labeling and naming take more time </li></ul><ul><li>KISS: Keep it simple….silly  </li></ul>
  32. 37. <ul><li>Worth it? </li></ul>
  33. 38. <ul><li>“ It is very difficult to search for music CDs on the old Pittcat. A search for &quot;Beethoven,&quot; for example, returns 1306 hits, and there is no way to limit the search just to music CDs. </li></ul><ul><li>This has been fixed on PittCatPlus. Just thought that you'd like to know that this particular feature of the new PittCat is a big step forward.” </li></ul><ul><li>-Music faculty </li></ul>Actually there is a way, but it makes doing your taxes seem easy by comparison
  34. 39. <ul><ul><li>“… I had a class of Sports and Recreation Management students in working at the library workstations.  I had them go to PITTCat+ and search.  One student went, &quot;Wow!&quot; as the result popped up.  It's the first time I can remember such an amazed and delighted response to a DATABASE.  I think PITTCat+ is a hit.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>-Pitt librarian </li></ul></ul>
  35. 40. Thank you

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