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Online Catalogs: What Users and Librarians Want – OCLC

A new OCLC report on online catalogues has been released by OCLC:  Online Catalogs: What Users and Librarians Want.  The principal contributors were:
Karen Calhoun, Vice President, WorldCat and Metadata Services; Joanne Cantrell, Marketing Analyst; Peggy Gallagher, Market Analysis Manager; and Janet Hawk, Director, Market Analysis and Sales Programs.

“Selected research findings:

  • The end user’s experience of the delivery of wanted items is as important, if not more important, than his or her discovery experience.
  • End users rely on and expect enhanced content including summaries/abstracts and tables of contents.
  • An advanced search option (supporting fielded searching) and facets help end users refine searches, navigate, browse and manage large result sets.
  • Important differences exist between the catalog data quality priorities of end users and those who work in libraries.
  • Librarians and library staff, like end users, approach catalogs and catalog data purposefully. End users generally want to find and obtain needed information; librarians and library staff generally have work responsibilities to carry out. The work roles of librarians and staff influence their data quality preferences.”

Main page is here and executive summary here.



Worldcat.org

OCLC has released WorldCat.org in beta. It makes OCLC holdings available in a single search box. Read the offical press release. Read more about WorldCat.org from OCLC.

From the WorldCat.org site:

The search box The main attraction of the site is the WorldCat search box, which allows Web users to search the entire WorldCat database with the method most familiar to them: simple keywords. Search results in this public view of WorldCat are generated directly on WorldCat.org, instead of through Google or Yahoo! Search. Just as in Open WorldCat, each linked search result leads to the WorldCat information page for an individual item. There the user can enter geographic information, receive a list of nearby WorldCat libraries that own the item, and link right to a library’s online catalog record to initiate circulation activity or access electronic content directly. WorldCat.org lets users search the complete WorldCat database—not just the smaller data subsets utilized by Open WorldCat partner sites—and find materials within the collections of participating libraries.

Besides the ‘search box’, WorldCat.org offers several other advantages that may be of use in Bib Services.

Add WorldCat to your browser toolbar by using an extension! I’ve added it to my Firefox browser toolbar–it allows you to search WorldCat holdings very easily.

You can use this with other browsers. Talk to Stacy, Marcia or Heather if you’d like to add this feature to your browser.

You can also now create links to items in WorldCat. This feature will be useful when you want to link to something in our catalogue. I’ve just created a link to the sound recording of Greatest misses! by Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellers by using the OCLC number for this recording.

This product is still in its testing phase but it does look promising!


Tagging at work in the OPAC

Some interesting examples of where social tagging is being used in a library context:

University of Pennsylvania PennTags:
Library users can tag their favourite bookmarks and also records from the catalogue. A “Tag Cloud” has been created where the tags with the most items appear larger. A good example is the tag “gender”; there are a number of different resources tagged with the word “Gender” including websites from the WHO, journal indexes and books in the library collection.

Daveyp, Library Systems Manager at the University of Huddersfield, has created a tag cloud of subject terms from the University of Huddersfield catalogue . It’s quite fun so have a look: Daveyp’s Tag Cloud.

While the tagging is interesting how useful is it to catalogue users? Does it have a place within a library context?