OPACS of the Future

Posted in OPAC of the Future on May 4th, 2007


There were quite a few sessions devoted to the updating/improvement of library OPACs, but because we are not directly involved with Havard’s OPAC we only attended a couple. Highlights follow.

  • Library OPACS broken in 3 ways: usability, findability, remixability
  • Bring OPAC/catalog front and center, don’t hide behind a website
  • Allow inbound links and link outwards
  • OLD web site – like a mall, tries to keep users in; NEW web sites link out as much as possible (in the end brings more users back to site)
  • Some universities are already employing RSS feeds to announce new acquisitions
  • Users don’t want OUR content, they want THEIR content
  • Users don’t want just a book listing, they want information that they can work with–share, annotate, mashup
  • The creator of LibraryThing is about to roll out some tools for OPACS


What can HCL do to encourage the develoment of a facile, user-friendly OPAC?

How might we encourage ULC/OIS to do some usability testing of student users and use what they learn to inform new developments?

Resources to Explore

Posted in Resources to Explore on May 4th, 2007



Have you tried any of these resources? If so, tell us what you think of them.

Are there other resources HCL staff should be exploring?

Are there resources that you think would be useful for HCL to employ library-wide?

Staff Education

Posted in Staff Education on May 4th, 2007


  • Web 2.0 technology takes much of the difficulty out of creating online resources allowing staff without traditional web skills to work online
  • Before staff can fully utilize Web 2.0 tools, they need to understand what they are, how they work, and how they might be used
  • Staff education is an important part of building dynamic online resources
  • Training needs to be comprehensive and offered in a way that allows as many staff access to the information as possible
  • Ideal if a program allows individuals to work at their own pace
  • SEE presentation Five Weeks to a Social Library – http://www.sociallibraries.com/course/ online tutorial plan


Would you be interested in learning more about developing web technologies?

Would you participate in the type of tutorial described in the presenation?

Should there be some sort of of ongoing program in HCL to help staff learn about new technologies and how to employ them? If so, how might the program be structured?


Posted in Recommendations on May 4th, 2007

Based on what we learned at our conferences we offer the following recommendations. (We realize that there are many other issues around web and instruction that need to be addressed.)

  • Redesign HCL home page ASAP as beta
  • Create a community toolbar as beta
  • Set up an ethnographic study of users based on MIT study
  • Implement an online tutorial to educate staff about new web technologies
  • Establish a system for ongoing research and devlopment around new instructional tools/web technologies that brings information to stake holders and informs development of HCL web, online resources, and staff education
  • Encourage future revisions/development of the Harvard Libraries OPAC to be informed by usability testing with students