OPAC 2.0: Supporting library users


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Dave Pattern, Systems Manager at Huddersfield University introduces tips and pointers for incorporating Web 2.0 technologies into college library management systems. Delivered at the SLIC FE Conference in Edinburgh on 28 Nov 2008.

Published in: Education, Technology

OPAC 2.0: Supporting library users

  1. 1. OPAC 2.0 supporting library users Dave Pattern, Library Systems Manager University of Huddersfield [email_address]
  2. 2. preamble <ul><li>Presentation available at: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>www.slideshare.net/daveyp/ </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Please remix and reuse this presentation! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0 </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. contents <ul><li>Does your OPAC “suck”? </li></ul><ul><li>2007 OPAC survey </li></ul><ul><li>Experiences at Huddersfield </li></ul><ul><li>Other libraries </li></ul><ul><li>Open Source and commercial products </li></ul><ul><li>Web services </li></ul><ul><li>OPAC 2.0 </li></ul>
  4. 4. does your OPAC “suck”?
  5. 6. 2007 OPAC survey <ul><li>On a scale of 1 to 10 (where 1 is extremely unhappy and 10 is extremely happy), how happy are you with your OPAC? </li></ul><ul><li>5.1 </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  6. 7. 2007 OPAC survey <ul><li>One criticism of OPACs is that they rarely have cutting edge features that our users expect from a modern web site. </li></ul><ul><li>On a scale of 1 to 10, how well do you think your OPAC meets the needs and expectations of your users? </li></ul><ul><li>4.5 </li></ul>
  7. 8. the OPAC as a “pig” <ul><li>“After all, you can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still very much a pig.” (Roy Tennant discussing the OPAC, Library Journal , 2005) </li></ul><ul><li>“Never try to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and it annoys the pig.” (attrib. Robert Heinlein, author) </li></ul>
  8. 9. pig ugly?
  9. 10. “kissy, kissy?”
  10. 12. experiences at Huddersfield
  11. 13. background <ul><li>General unhappiness with vendor product </li></ul><ul><li>“In-house” enhancements to the existing OPAC… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>user suggestions from surveys </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ 2.0” inspired features </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>borrowing good ideas from other web sites </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>new features launched with no/low publicity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ perpetual beta” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Required staff buy-in and a willingness to experiment and take risks! </li></ul>
  12. 14. spell checker <ul><li>All OPAC keyword searches were monitored over a six month period </li></ul><ul><li>Approx 23% of searches gave zero results </li></ul><ul><ul><li>74 people entered “renew” as a keyword(!) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Users expect suggestions and prompts, not “dead end” pages </li></ul>
  13. 15. spell checker
  14. 16. keyword suggestions (1) <ul><li>Failed keyword searches are cross referenced with answers.com to provide new search suggestions </li></ul>
  15. 17. keyword suggestions (2)
  16. 18. keyword cloud
  17. 19. borrowing suggestions
  18. 20. personalised suggestions
  19. 21. ratings and comments
  20. 22. other editions <ul><li>Uses web services provided by OCLC and LibraryThing to locate other editions and related works within local holdings </li></ul><ul><ul><li>www.oclc.org/research/projects/xisbn/ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>www.librarything.com/api </li></ul></ul>
  21. 23. other editions
  22. 24. email alerts
  23. 25. RSS feeds
  24. 26. RSS feeds
  25. 27. RSS feeds
  26. 28. Google Book Search
  27. 29. shelf browser
  28. 30. was it worth doing?
  29. 31. was it worth doing? <ul><li>421 active email alerts </li></ul><ul><li>167 active RSS feeds </li></ul><ul><li>1,102 ratings </li></ul><ul><li>72 comments </li></ul><ul><li>personalised suggestions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>116 clicks per month (average) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>combined keyword suggestions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>753 clicks per month (average) </li></ul></ul>
  30. 32. other libraries
  31. 33. Ann Arbor District Library
  32. 35. Darien Public Library
  33. 36. North Carolina State University
  34. 37. LibraryThing for Libraries
  35. 38. Plymouth State University
  36. 39. Topeka and Shawnee County
  37. 40. University of Warwick
  38. 41. Hennepin County Library
  39. 42. lipstick on the pig <ul><li>“ We need to focus more energy on important, systemic changes rather than cosmetic ones. If your system is more difficult to search and less effective than Amazon.com, then you have work to do. </li></ul><ul><li>After all, you can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still very much a pig.” (Roy Tennant, Library Journal , 2005) </li></ul>
  40. 43. doing it yourself <ul><li>Encourage suggestions from staff </li></ul><ul><li>Include users in decision making process </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage play and experimentation </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t be afraid to make mistakes! </li></ul><ul><li>Look widely for ideas </li></ul><ul><li>“Build crappy prototypes fast” </li></ul><ul><li>Monitor usage </li></ul><ul><ul><li>if usage is poor, rethink it or get rid of it </li></ul></ul>
  41. 44. Open Source OPACs <ul><li>Scriblio </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Plymouth State University </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>uses WordPress blog software </li></ul></ul><ul><li>VuFind </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Falvey Memorial Library, Villanova University </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Uses PHP & MySQL </li></ul></ul><ul><li>LibraryFind </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Oregon State University Libraries </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>uses Ruby on Rails </li></ul></ul>
  42. 45. Open Source OPACs <ul><li>fac-back-opac </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Laurentian University Library </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>uses Lucene & Solr </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Project Blacklight </li></ul><ul><ul><li>University of Virginia Libraries </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>uses Lucene & Solr </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Social OPAC </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Darien Library (John Blyberg) </li></ul></ul>
  43. 46. Open Source OPACs <ul><li>Open Source Library Management Systems </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Koha </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Evergreen </li></ul></ul>
  44. 47. VuFind
  45. 48. fac-back-opac
  46. 49. the traditional vendors <ul><li>Talis Platform </li></ul><ul><li>Ex Libris “Primo” </li></ul><ul><li>Innovative Interfaces “Encore” </li></ul><ul><li>SirsiDynix “Enterprise” </li></ul><ul><li>Bowker “ AquaBrowser ” (UK) </li></ul><ul><li>DS “ DSArena ” </li></ul>
  47. 50. web services
  48. 51. web services & APIs <ul><li>Talis Platform </li></ul><ul><li>LibraryThing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>thingISBN, thingTitle, thingLang, data feeds </li></ul></ul><ul><li>OCLC WorldCat Grid Services </li></ul><ul><li>Amazon Web Services </li></ul><ul><ul><li>recently rebranded as “Amazon Associates Web Service” with new conditions of use </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Google Book Search API </li></ul>
  49. 52. Amazon Associates Web Service <ul><li>Cover scans, reviews, recommendations, sales commission, etc </li></ul><ul><li>Already used by many libraries </li></ul><ul><li>However, recent change to conditions of use (March 2008) may preclude libraries: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>5.1.3. You are not permitted to use Amazon Associates Web Service with any Application or for any use that does not have, as its principal purpose, driving traffic to the Amazon Website and driving sales of products and services on the Amazon Website. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>( AWS Customer Agreement ) </li></ul></ul>
  50. 53. Google Book Search API <ul><li>Launched March 2008 </li></ul><ul><li>Typically client-side implementation (rather than server-side) </li></ul><ul><li>Link to GBS content: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>via ISBN, LCCNs, and OCLC numbers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>front cover thumnails </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>preview pages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>embeddable book preview </li></ul></ul>
  51. 54. OPAC 2.0
  52. 55. OPAC 2.0 <ul><li>“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” </li></ul><ul><li>(Alan Kay, computer scientist and former Xerox PARC researcher) </li></ul><ul><li>“The future is here. It's just not widely distributed yet.” </li></ul><ul><li>(William Gibson, science fiction author and creator of the word “cyberspace”) </li></ul>
  53. 56. OPAC 2.0 <ul><li>shopping list of features: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>spell checking (“did you mean?”) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>search all library resources (inc. e-resources) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>relevancy ranking, search refining, and facets </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>manual recommendations (“best bets”) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>automated suggestions (based on both global and user-specific data) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>user participation (“read-write OPAC”) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>foster communities of interest </li></ul></ul>
  54. 57. OPAC 2.0 <ul><li>shopping list of features: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>improve serendipity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>expose hidden links between items </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>APIs and Web Services to expose data </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>promote unintended uses </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>user personalisation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>embed external data (e.g. Wikipedia, LibraryThing) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>RSS feeds and OpenSearch </li></ul></ul>
  55. 58. 2007 OPAC Survey – Features <ul><li>Please rate how important you feel the following features are to your users in a modern OPAC. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>embedding the OPAC in external sites (e.g. portals) 8.7 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ did you mean” spelling suggestions 8.6 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>enriched content (book covers, ToCs, etc) 8.4 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>RSS feeds (e.g. new books, searches, etc) 7.8 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>facetted browsing (e.g. like NCSU Library) 7.4 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ people who borrowed this” suggestions 6.5 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>user tagging of items (i.e. folksonomy) 6.1 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>user added comments and reviews 6.0 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>personalised suggestions (e.g. like Amazon) 5.9 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>user added ratings for items 5.7 </li></ul></ul>
  56. 59. implementation of features
  57. 60. feature importance
  58. 61. technology adoption lifecycle
  59. 62. technology adoption – Q1 08?
  60. 63. importance – UK respondents
  61. 64. thank you! www.slideshare.net/daveyp/