[Web4lib] OPAC hacks

Jon Legree jon at ylpl.lib.ca.us
Thu Jul 21 14:00:49 EDT 2005

We made new search pages for our Horizon system using php to replace the
dropdown boxes of the default page with radio buttons. We also adapted the
amazon search module of our CMS to provide bestseller lists, and created
browse lists of collections which at the time, Horizon didn't support.


Jon Legree
Library Technology Specialist
Yorba Linda Public Library
Yorba Linda, CA 92886
mailto:jon at ylpl.lib.ca.us

-----Original Message-----
From: Andrew Darby [mailto:adarby at ithaca.edu]
Sent: Thursday, July 21, 2005 9:01 AM
To: web4lib at webjunction.org
Subject: [Web4lib] OPAC hacks

I'd also be interested in hearing what sort of "OPAC hacks" people are
doing, not customizing the interface using the tools provided by the
vendor, but either correcting something with, say, javascript, or
extracting the information from the catalog and re-presenting it.

A couple of Voyager fer instances:

A number of libraries have painstakingly corrected issues with the
default searching, for instance, switching the keyword OR to a keyword
AND, removing the initial article from users' title search strings so it
doesn't conk out and provide an unhelpful bit of feedback ("the system
cannot interpret your statement"), etc. (Getty, UCLA, + more)

Here, i've been working on providing some contextual help when a search
fails (rather than the default purple "Your search resulted in no
hits!"), using javascript and the DOM.  (If you're interested, go to
http://traindb.ithaca.edu/ select "local catalog" and then try a failed
search (say, asdf) in keyword and then in journal title.  It's just
proof of concept; the help tips perhaps aren't so helpful, plus it looks
sort of gross.)

Also here, because the DVD browsing in Voyager is so painful, i made a
browsable list of DVDs
(http://www.ithacalibrary.com/collections/dvds.php).  This is based on a
monthly "report" from Voyager, that is then ported over to a MySQL
database; the U of Rochester has a much nicer implementation
(http://www.library.rochester.edu/index.cfm?page=videos), that does
it automatically each night, I gather.

Then, there is the National Library of Sweden's catalog
(http://websok.libris.kb.se/websearch/form?lang=eng), which apparently
runs on Voyager, but some parallel universe Voyager where they care what
the public interface looks like.  (Presumably, the National Library did
this themselves.)

So what else is going on out there?

Andrew Darby
Web Services Librarian
Ithaca College Library

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