Reconsidering OPAC


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What is the place of the OPAC in the future of resource discovery for education? Slides for hands-on workshop tour of OPAC as a resource discovery interface. Participants evaluate aspects of their school’s resource discovery service, and discuss how the OPAC meets the needs of their school community.

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  • After 30 years of integrated library management systems we have become very comfortable with the OPAC (online public access catalogue) as the search interface for our collections. As each new format of learning content comes along we adapt our processes to incorporate it. There has been so much development in search technology since then, that the time has come to look again at OPAC.
  • The big question: Do students and teachers need a school-based search tool?This workshop aims to: Evaluate what we do nowProvide a hands-on tour of a range of OPACs and other resource discovery interfaces which can inform our  reviewProvide examples of school OPACS, share reports on usability testing Discuss what features, functions and interfaces schools would like to see. Develop a vision of search: our wishlist
  • Consider search of school-based content. What do students and teachers need in school-based search?How do students, teachers, parents, library staff answer these questions for your school now?School websiteNetwork / LANLearning management systemOPACStudent admin systemJournal/fulltext databasesSoftware databasePolicies and technologies
  • The Australian government series Learning in an Online World, sets out the priorities for learning technology infrastructure in schools, and school libraries should be measured against these principles. We should make sure our systems fit with the other systems in the school for a consistent experience by users, provided access 24/7, promote self-service and reduce duplicationLearning architecture framework : learning in an online world. ISBN 1 920865 01 2 p. 7
  • Check – by OPAC do we mean the search hardware: the OPAC terminal? Or the software module or interface? Or the catalogue content being accessed?History of the OPAC: Designed 25 years ago in the first wave of library automation. While the OPAC is still working, the functionality that people expect 25 years later is not there. For school library search vendors there is no imperative to implement features until clients agree on what is required. Are school library staff holding back because it involves asking for money, or are we too used to accepting technology as given rather than designing/specifying what our users need?It is time to tackle the hard questions. Find out where the pain points are for our users – usability testing, or just watch them and analyse the issues.If we are going to develop successful learning infrastructures our systems and processes have to be quicker, easier, richer, more personal, more user-friendly than the alternatives
  • Learning and literacy tool is becoming a reality with inclusion of easy retrieval of titles tagged as Premier’s Reading Challenge, and with inclusion of Lexiles in some systemsFor some systems it seems that asset management is the primary purpose, and search for information finding or curriculum relevance very much a secondary purpose.Services that provide reviews and summaries within the search results are an excellent selection tool.BTW: Why do we continue to use the obscure term OPAC rather than the well-understood term ‘ search ‘?
  • Seeking to make OPAC a resource discovery tool of authority, of location and of engagement.What do your teacher and students, school community look for in a 21st century resource discovery tool, and how does the OPAC rate as this tool?This is the beginnings of a set of criteria for access, search interface, functionality and display of results. What are the priorities in your situation?
  • DISCUSSION: OPAC REDESIGNWe are going to publish our manifesto for the 21st century OPAC. What should a 21st century OPAC do/look like? List design and functionality criteria for OPAC (not circulation, cataloguing etc just the public interface. Other functionality should be dependent on the needs of OPAC)Design a rubric – usability, ease of access, mobile delivery, speed, plain English, accessibility, remote access
  • Creekview High School Library, Wesley College, Victoria, College, QLD, visual, designed interfaces
  • SCIS demo OPACTrove National Library of Australia, Library of NZ, databases, many different formats of content, offer added services
  • EdithCowan University Library Libraries, NZ http://library.hauraki-dc.govt.nzFederated search across all information sources: print, digital, subscription, openFaceted search results
  • OPAC 2.0 featuresTwo strands of OPAC 2.0 developments enabled by Web 2.0 technologies have emerged: (1) extending the usefulness and search features of the catalogue by harnessing more bibliographic MARC and circulation data for searching, and seamlessly incorporating data from other resources; (2) social networking with personalisation and user community tagging and reviewing to provide a richer discovery experience.Katie Wilson, Further reading:Jessamyn West OPAC Manifesto Patterns: Design for Discovery Peter Morville & Jeffery Callender Publisher: O'Reilly Media January 2010
  • As we add larger and larger content repositories to school-based search, we move from the current issue of ‘not enough hits’ in OPAC to the risk of ‘information overload’This Clay Shirky video puts information overload in a new lightThe onus is on the consumer to filter out the noiseWhat kind of filters do you have in place to keep yourself from getting snowed under?If students and teaches are struggling with this, it may be helpful to investigate Shirky’s question: Which filter is broken?
  • Reconsidering OPAC

    1. 1. Reconsidering the OPAC<br />What place the OPAC in the future of resource discovery for education?<br />
    2. 2. Evaluate what we do now<br />Tour the search landscape<br />Describe the future<br />Do students and teachers need a school-based search tool?<br />
    3. 3. School search test<br />where is the Year 9 maths exam from 2009?<br />find a class photo of 2011 school leavers when they entered the school.<br />who is the career counsellor at my child’s school?<br />does this school have a copy of Romeo and Juliet on video?<br />how do my students access DataGenie?<br />
    4. 4. Learning architecture principles<br />a consistent experience for staff, students, parents and communities <br />access anytime, anywhere, by those who need the information <br />an authoritative source for each item of information <br />a capability for self-service<br />MCEETYA 2003<br />
    5. 5. Defining OPAC<br />Library catalogue of the Institute of Historical Research London 2010 NotFromUtrechtCC-by-sa<br />
    6. 6. Purpose of OPAC<br />Location tool: find a known resource<br />Information finding tool: find topic information<br />Learning and literacy tool: meet learning needs<br />Asset management tool: manage resources<br />Selection tool: find resources to obtain/buy<br />Search<br />
    7. 7. One search to bring them all<br />MARC<br />Dublin Core metadata<br />Learning Object Metadata<br />OPAC<br />and in the OPAC bind them <br />
    8. 8. Criteria for OPAC<br /> Access<br /> Anywhere, anytime<br /> Personalised<br /> Mobile devices<br /> Search interface<br /> Intuitive<br /> Branded<br /> Context-aware<br /> Search functionality<br /> Did you mean?<br /> Phrase search<br /> Predictive terms<br /> Results display<br /> Faceted<br /> Relevance & sort<br /> No dead leads<br />
    9. 9. Review OPACS<br /> <br />Scroll down right hand side column to <br /> School Libraries<br /> OPAC workshop<br />Add your wishlist items to the Wallwisher<br /><br />
    10. 10. School library catalogues<br />Citipointe Christian College, QLD<br />Creekview High School Library, USA<br />Wesley College, VIC<br />
    11. 11. National catalogues <br />SCIS demo OPAC<br />Trove National Library of Australia<br />National Library of New Zealand<br />
    12. 12. University and public libraries<br />Edith Cowan University Library<br />University of Western Australia Library<br />Hauraki District Libraries NZ<br />
    13. 13. OPAC 2.0: richer discovery<br />Harnessing more bibliographic data<br />Incorporating data from other sources<br />Social networking Personalisation<br />User community tagging User reviewing<br />Further reading<br />Katie Wilson<br />Jessamyn West<br />Morville & Callender: Search Patterns: Design for Discovery<br />
    14. 14. Final word on filters<br />Clay Shirky 2007 by<br />
    15. 15.<br />