[Web4lib] How to label the OPAC

Jim Campbell campbell at virginia.edu
Tue Jul 26 09:20:11 EDT 2005

And I'd add another question.

If your catalog allows you to set up separate search pages for various
formats, why would you not want to be able to send people right to those
rather than making them go to a catalog entry point and then move on to find
videos or sound recordings, check the reserve materials for their class,

The typical online catalog is not one tool, it's a collection of tools and
should be integrated with your other finding tools.

And to sort of try to answer Ross's questions, at a given time for a given
user in a given library one of those catalog tools may be very important.
For many scientific researchers and for more and more researchers in other
areas, searching for articles is the most important thing 99% of the time.
So metasearch for articles is probably at least as important as the catalog
in most academic and special libraries. In other specialized libraries
searching for images or corporate information or legal decisions may be the
single most important thing. It all depends on the library and its users,

- Jim Campbell
Campbell at Virginia.edu

> -----Original Message-----
> From: web4lib-bounces at webjunction.org 
> [mailto:web4lib-bounces at webjunction.org] On Behalf Of Ross Singer
> Sent: Tuesday, July 26, 2005 8:51 AM
> To: web4lib at webjunction.org
> Subject: Re: [Web4lib] How to label the OPAC
> You know, in all this, I still have yet to see anybody 
> definitively state:
> A) why the "catalog" is so important
> B) what exactly seperates the catalog from the other 
> electronic resources
> -Ross.
> bernhard Eversberg wrote:
> > K.G. Schneider wrote:
> >
> >>
> >> Bingo. Many users will only encounter us through the 
> Web--that has to 
> >> be the primary assumption going in. And how many potential 
> users do 
> >> we lose--reasonably intelligent people who are making 
> every effort to 
> >> apply what they know to our websites--because they look, 
> they apply 
> >> knowledge, then they conclude we don't offer what we need? They 
> >> aren't "dumb,"
> >> and it's
> >> not dumbing anything down to design the system around their task 
> >> knowledge.
> >
> > Well, wouldn't that argument hold for *every* Web service, not just 
> > for ours? What, then, is the core "task knowledge" we can safely 
> > assume every user to possess? This gets us nowhere, I'm afraid.
> > I'm amazed that one should even *consider*  avoiding a term like 
> > "catalog" which is at the very core of library services and without 
> > which no library can function. Are we telling users, "You 
> dont't have 
> > to learn *anything* here, its all easy as pie", or what? 
> They'll find 
> > out soon enough it isn't true. I'm not saying we should be proud of 
> > catalogs, but they are nothing to be ashamed of either.
> >
> > On one of our earlier designs, we had
> >    "Catalog (Find and borrow books)"
> > (and the parenth in smaller script). There were no complaints with 
> > this or our present design saying just "Catalogue":
> >    http://www.biblio.tu-bs.de/english/
> > or in German, "Der Katalog". Just adding the article, "The 
> Catalog", 
> > and placing this link prominently  might emphasize that this is 
> > something not to be ignored if in fact it doesn't ring a bell for 
> > someone.
> >
> > Bernhard Eversberg
> > Universitätsbibliothek Braunschweig
> >
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