[Web4lib] RE: library automation vendors

K.G. Schneider kgs at bluehighways.com
Wed Jul 20 10:57:03 EDT 2005

> But why would pulling that information from a big database in Ohio instead
> of from a small database in Anaheim keep them from finding that out?  Or
> alternatively pulling the author and title information from OCLC and the
> on
> shelf information from a local system and combining them for the user?
> Your
> existing library system probably works that way now, pulling the
> bibliographic information from one (or several) dataset(s) and the
> circulation information from another and combining them on the fly.

Consortial systems work that way. It was startling for me to move from an
area where the expectation was a union catalog that showed "your" holdings
(what you could get your hands on in that facility) plus whatever you could
get your hands on easily (in other words, the system, which could be dozens
of libraries), to a far more balkanized and feudal area where the catalog
(and the realistic immediate availability) was just items in that city or
town. Not to mention that in consortial systems, "nearby" is often more
available than in-house, because a checked-out item in your own library not
due back for two weeks is not as available as a item on the shelf that can
be in your hands in a day. 

Regarding what users want, user expectations are often driven by local
realities. I had a (non-librarian) boss once when I was a special library
director who said that people needed to be conditioned to use libraries. I
felt that was insightful then, and it applies today. 

Re pulling the content from a database in Ohio, I think Jim's questions in
this area are pointed and important. It would be interesting to study user
experience/satisfaction and system response time with Open Worldcat. 

Karen G. Schneider
kgs at bluehighways.com

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