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Whither the ILS – especially the OPAC ? notes and ideas from the ―Symposium on the Future of the ILS‖ (and elsewhere) Wither the ILS – especially the OPAC ? notes and ideas from the ―Symposium on the Future of the ILS‖ (and elsewhere) Some Current Trends / Factors 1. Current generation of OPACs increasingly is seen as inadequate due to: – too limited content – too difficult to use – the lack of enhancements such as: faceted searching adequate relevancy ranking ―social‖ functions FRBR implementation 2. Commercial ILS vendors are spending less and less time and effort on ILS-based OPACs despite many remaining problems and opportunities Trends 3. Emergence of the “social” web & related user expectations – user-created lists, reviews, etc. 4. Emergence of Open Source (OS) ILSs with their accompanying next generation (“next gen”) OPACs – Koha – Evergreen 5. Emergence of commercial firms to support OS ILSs – Equinox (Evergreen) – LibLime (Koha) – Care Associates (several systems) Trends 6. Disaggregation: while most OPACs deliver the package, many users want the item inside the package rather than the package -- the song rather than the CD, the article rather than the journal or issue, etc. 7. Googlization: a push for – a single omnipresent search box fast, easy, simple keyword searching capable of being embedded in other places (courseware, campus portal, etc.) – everything in one search multiple bibliographic levels, metadata schema, and object sources – ―fun‖ customizable, social, and engaging Trends 8. New available content – TOCs, summaries, reviews, etc. – new stuff in digital form – OpenURL links to digital items – some integratable, some linkable 9. Decoupled modules, web services, interfacing disparate systems, etc. – ―system disintegration‖ – syndication – the growing cult of interoperability – ILSs supporting only part of a Library’s work Lorcan Dempsey’s “The Integrated Library System That Isn’t” (from his blog, 2-22-2005) needed functions usually needed functions NOT part of an ILS usually part of an ILS – acquisitions – metasearch / portal – OPAC – OpenURL resolver – cataloging – electronic resource – circulation management (ERM) – portable bibliography (e.g., RefWorks) – digital asset management – virtual reference Trends 10. A changing bibliographic world – Karen Calhoun’s 2006 report for LC: The Changing Nature of the Catalog and its Integration with Other Discovery Tools recent report by the Library of Congress Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control LC’s priorities, and resources, already are shifting away from traditional bibliographic activities and toward the digital Three main areas of OPAC concern: 1. What should OPACs contain? just local stuff, or also stuff from other libraries and vendors? just the traditional types of materials, or newer, more diverse ones as well? 2. How should OPACs work? what functions? how easy, how understandable? 3. Where and how does the OPAC fit in with other systems? How important and useful can it be? context & comment… context & comment… "As a long-time cataloger, I truly feel the pain that technical services personnel have known for a long time: the era of the library OPAC is over." — Brad Eden, from the "Introduction" of Library Technology Reports 43:6 context & comment… Roy Tennant: (blog Nov. 10, 2006) – ―The OPAC of the future will not be our most important finding tool‖ – ―The OPAC should function well alone but recognize its position in the larger scope of available information‖ context & comment… Karen Markey: (from ―The Online Library Catalog: Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained?‖ D-Lib mag, Jan/Feb 2007) – ―For a decade and a half beginning in the early 1980s, the online library catalog was the jewel in the crown when people eagerly queued at its terminals to find information written by the world's experts …. – ―Long ago, we could have added more value to the online library catalog but the only thing we changed was the catalog's medium. Our failure to act back then cost the online catalog the crown. Now that the era of mass digitization has begun, we have a second chance at redesigning the online library catalog, getting it right, coaxing back old users, and attracting new ones.‖ context & comment… Karen Markey: (same source) – To regain the online catalog's lofty status and win back its fair-weather fans, let's redesign an online library catalog that embraces: (1) post-Boolean probabilistic searching, to ensure the precision of searches in online library catalogs bearing the full texts of digitized books, journal articles, encyclopedias, conference papers, etc., (2) subject cataloging, to take advantage of the user's ability to recognize what they want or do not want during the course of the search, and (3) qualification cataloging, to enable users to customize retrievals that are in keeping with their level of understanding and expertise in a domain. … and there is a lot of this, perhaps less-helpful, type of comment: The OPAC Sucks -- Recorded by: the anAACRonisms the OPAC sucks, that's all i gotta say you're outta luck if you can't spell "Hemingway" i'm getting bad results don't act like it's my fault the OPAC sucks, a sad calamity like it's stuck in 8 million b.c. the title that i seek is buried very deep the OPAC sucks so bad that it's a crime the law is broken: "save the reader's time" what does it want from me? i'm stumbling blindly the OPAC sucks, people are confused it runs amok, committing its abuse years and years and years ago, computers replaced cards how come finding what i want is still so goddamn hard? the OPAC sucks, that's all i gotta say -- http://www.laughinglibrarian.com/bd_opac.htm Karen Schneider’s 4 approaches to dealing with a currenting “sucking” catalog ditch the vendor OPAC and bolt a separate product on top of the ILS go with an ILS that offers a next-gen OPAC replace the catalog with a ―unified finding aid‖, not part of the ILS wait for your vendor to catch up with state-of-the-art functionality John’s #5: add a ―unified finding aid‖ as an additional tool, supplementing the OPAC, rather than replacing it Marshall Breeding’s view of an “age of less integrated systems” Core ILS supplemented by – OpenURL link resolvers – metasearch / federated search – electronic resource management (ERM) – next generation library interfaces So … we need something new. But from whom? current relationships between libraries and system vendors is seen as ―unhealthy‖ unclear where some vendors are heading is Open Source (OS) the answer? – do we REALLY want to go back to doing it ourselves? Are there non-library vendors that offer possible solutions? Roy Tennant’s Library Software Manifesto (http://techessence.info/manifesto/) Consumer rights – e.g., ―I have a right to complete and accurate documentation‖ & ―I have a right to use what I buy‖ Consumer responsibilities – e.g., ―I have a responsibility to realize I’m not special‖ Shared responsibilities – e.g. ―We share a responsibility to keep the needs of the end-user paramount‖ So, what now? Evolving OPAC models create new, improved next-gen OPACs – often OS – possibly part of ILS; possibly standalone – incorporate such things as faceted searching, spell checking, and social functions such as reviews into the traditional OPAC – possibly find ways to incorporate metadata for some other types of materials but still concentrate on ―our stuff‖ – possibly move away form MARC to XML Evolving OPAC models multi-institution, multi-format, multi-source database and search tool – possibly with hooks to local ILS data – usually MARC – gather everything and put it in one place our stuff, other libraries’ stuff, commercial stuff, and stuff created by non-library users – basically, a union catalog on steroids more stuff, more different stuff, more functionality, Evolving OPAC models syndicated services – linking to additional services or data from within the OPAC rather than directly integrating them – in effect, using other sites’ stuff and making it appear like our stuff Evolving OPAC models metasearch / federated searching – don’t put everything in one place, but combine results at point of searching – usually standalone, but increasingly incorporated into other types of OPACs – keep my stuff technically separate from other stuff, but present it all to the user as a single search Evolving OPAC models new local ―supra-catalog‖ – either supplanting the OPAC or existing beside it – multi-format, multi-source database – put all of OUR stuff in one place, no matter what format – usually move away from MARC to XML – include local OPAC holdings, preferably with hooks back to the local ILS status data & services (call slip, renewals, etc.) – possibly incorporate federated searching as a way of incorporating other libraries’ stuff and commercial stuff Another way of looking at types: Lorcan Dempsey’s “discovery contexts” (from his blog 5-14-2006) local catalog discovery environment shared catalog discovery environment syndicated catalog discovery environment leveraged discovery environment Some specific attempts 1) some commercial ILS vendors working to upgrade regular OPAC to ―next gen‖ the ―traditional‖ approach Karen Schneider’s ―wait for your vendor to get it‖ 2) some OS next-gen ILSs and OPACS Koha (ILS - New Zealand) Evergreen (ILS - George PINES consortium) Scriblio (OPAC - Plymouth State University) Some specific attempts 3) a variety of federated search products, both commercial and OS Search360, MetaLib, etc. 4) new focused syndicatable services Library Thing Some specific attempts 5. some commercial ILS vendors creating supra-catalogs Ex Libris’ ―Primo‖ (XML) III’s ―Encore ― (MARC) 6. creation of commercial, library-targeted supra-catalogs AquaBrowser – developed by MediaLab Solutions (later purchased by Bowker) – also distributed in US by The Library Corp (TLC) Some specific attempts 7. adaptations of commercial, non-library systems to create supra-catalogs Endeca – billed as ―Navigation‖ software – also marketed by TLC – most common use in corporate web sales Some specific attempts 8) local library-developed supra-catalogs eXtensible Catalog (XCat – U. of Rochester) – ―An open-source online system that will unify access to traditional and digital library resources‖ – talking to Evergreen vufind (Villanova University) – open-source, developed to work with Voyager – searches catalog records, locally cached journals, digital library items, institutional repository, and other library collections Some specific attempts 9) WorldCat Local its own category: the union catalog on steroids the local catalog as a subset of the OCLC union catalog – integrated links to local holdings and some local services FRBRized search results integration of A&I and full-text databases user-created lists incorporate social tools: – recommendations, taggings, RSS, forums, community tools, enhanced personal profiles, ―friending‖ a caveat… The statement … ―The OPAC should be more than just a searchable inventory of a library’s local holdings‖ … cuts both ways: – new supra-catalogs and other systems offer new functionality beyond that of current OPACs but … – current OPACs already are ―more‖ than just a search and retrieval system in that they offer a variety of important local services that may not be available in some of the new systems excerpt from ALA session description Paul Soderdahl, Director of Library Information Technology, University of Iowa … three key themes. – ―First, our Primo implementation plan diverged from the standard approach by abandoning the usual pattern of establishing committees and subcommittees so that we could adopt a more streamlined approach and, within the University of Iowa Libraries, embrace the perpetual beta. – ―Second, we have tried to remain unafraid of scale in expanding beyond the local catalog to include digital library collections and in planning for significantly more content. – ―Finally, we have looked for ways to bring the library to wherever the users are by using Primo to embed library resources in the course management system, browser toolbars, gadgets, and more. ― KU Library Systems Strategic Planning Vision Statement (1994 -- incorporated into ILS RFP) 1. The Library will have a complex, sophisticated, and pervasive online system based upon up-to-date hardware, software, and networking. 2. This broader "system" will include traditional core library public access, file management, and transaction processing functions, all maintained and presented to public and staff users in an integrated manner. 3. All system modules and networks will use standard protocols and will be constructed with an "open systems" approach to facilitate their ability to integrate with other local and remote systems and to handle new kinds of content and presentation. KU Library Systems Strategic Planning Vision Statement (1994 -- incorporated into ILS RFP) 1. The Library will have a complex, sophisticated, and pervasive online system based upon up-to-date hardware, software, and networking. 2. This broader "system" will include traditional core library public access, file management, and transaction processing functions, all maintained and presented to public and staff users in an integrated manner. 3. All system modules and networks will use standard protocols and will be constructed with an "open systems" approach to facilitate their ability to integrate with other local and remote systems and to handle new kinds of content and presentation. 4. All local networks will be connected to and accessible from the KU campus ethernet network and through it be connected to and accessible from all regional, national, and international TCP/IP-based networks. 5. The local workstation for both public and staff will be a single intelligent, networked microcomputer capable of using campus local area network resources, other campus hosts, and remote hosts via the Internet. Each workstation will be capable of both simple terminal access to remote hosts and of operating client software for a wide variety of servers and hosts. 6. By virtue of supporting standard protocols and being connected to local and national networks, all library electronic resources will be sharable and useable, to the extent allowed by licensing, by remote users throughout the university, the state, and the world. 4. All local networks will be connected to and accessible from the KU campus ethernet network and through it be connected to and accessible from all regional, national, and international TCP/IP-based networks. 5. The local workstation for both public and staff will be a single intelligent, networked microcomputer capable of using campus local area network resources, other campus hosts, and remote hosts via the Internet. Each workstation will be capable of both simple terminal access to remote hosts and of operating client software for a wide variety of servers and hosts. 6. By virtue of supporting standard protocols and being connected to local and national networks, all library electronic resources will be sharable and useable, to the extent allowed by licensing, by remote users throughout the university, the state, and the world.
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