Request for examples for "Thinking Outside the OPAC" presentation

Mark Jordan mjordan at
Thu Sep 26 01:32:27 EDT 2002


Please excuse the cross-postings.

I'm giving a presentation at the Netspeed 2003 Conference in Calgary,
Alberta (Oct. 24-26 / The session is
called "Pathways to Information", and my half of it (an ILS vendor is
presenting the other half) will be subtitled "Thinking Outside the OPAC".

The session will look at OPACs from the perspective of vendors and
libraries. I'm not starting with the assumption that these two
perspectives are necessarily opposed (I actually see them as symbiotic),
but the conference organizers have asked that I present on how libraries
provide routes to information for their users through means other than the

The obvious examples of types of content that I know many libraries have
elected not to use their OPACs for are ejournal lists, local collections
(digitized content or just metadata), and database-driven "knowledgebases"
such as FAQ collections, etc. Many libraries also avoid using their ILS
vendor's interlibrary loans module, room/materials booking module, proxy
servers, or electronic reserves module for various reasons.

What I would like to ask list members is, whether they can supply some not
so obvious examples of how they are "circumventing" their OPAC/ILS in
order to provide access to resources and services, and why. I'm not asking
for ILS vendor or product bashing, (we want to be civil), just for
examples of how your library turned down the option of using the OPAC but
decided against it. For example, are any libraries maintaining lists of
ebooks available to their users outside the OPAC? Why do many libraries
draw lists of newly added items or government pubications, for example,
from their catalogues and reformat these as webpages? There is a trend in
commercial (and now open source) ILSs to make them the Swiss Army knife of
the library, perhaps to gain back some of the presence they had in pre-WWW
times; on the other hand, there is also an increasing proliferation of
non-OPAC points of access to library materials (one list of examples is at, another at So many choices...

If you are willing to give me an example to help flush out my
presentation, I'd gladly give your library full credit; on the other hand,
if you wish to remain anonymous, I'm OK with that too (but I plan to use
screen snapshots in the presentation, but these can be altered if you want
your library to remain anonymous). The presentation will be available
through the Netspeed site and I don't mind posting the URL to this list
after the Conference for those of you who are interested.


Mark Jordan
Acting Coordinator of Library Systems
W.A.C. Bennett Library, Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, British Columbia, V5A 1S6, Canada
Phone (604) 291 5753 / Fax (604) 291 3023
mjordan at /

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