[Web4lib] Does anyone need a federated OPAC search?

B.G. Sloan bgsloan2 at yahoo.com
Wed Mar 24 12:30:37 EDT 2010

30+ years ago I was involved in a project in Illinois that pioneered the concept of patron-initiated circulation/ILL. Granted, it wasn't seperate OPACs...it was centralized software where each library had its own individual bib/patron/circ/etc files. A patron could search his/her local bib file and initiate a request to have the item shipped to the patron's campus address. If the item wasn't available locally you could search for it at other libraries and initiate a remote circ transaction for the item and have it shipped to you.
It was a pretty popular service, eventually generating half a million interlibrary circ transactions annually, and who knows how many remote requests *within* a given library. I'd be remiss not to mention, however, that this service was not universally popular among librarians used to traditional ILL. Many libraries initially decided to block remote circulation capabilities for their patrons, forcing them to go to the library and the ILL office to request their books.
On the outside chance that anyone wants a little background on this old project, see:
“High Tech/Low Profile: Automation and the ‘Invisible Patron’,” Library Journal 111: LC4-LC6 (November 1, 1986).
“Resource Sharing Among Academic Libraries,” Journal of Academic Librarianship 12:26-29 (March 1986).
“Testing Common Assumptions about Resource Sharing,” Information Technology and Libraries 17:18-29 (March 1998).

--- On Wed, 3/24/10, David Kane <dkane at wit.ie> wrote:

From: David Kane <dkane at wit.ie>
Subject: Re: [Web4lib] Does anyone need a federated OPAC search?
To: "B.G. Sloan" <bgsloan2 at yahoo.com>
Cc: web4lib at webjunction.org
Date: Wednesday, March 24, 2010, 11:39 AM

These things depend on NCIP protocol, which was a nightmare.  Probably improved now though as they have rewritten the standard.

I am mostly interested in patrons experience.  This is where an ILL consortial system succeeds or fails, in my experience and it is what LTFL can do well.  So, I really would like to see something happen here - from the user interface down, rather than the other way around.

My 2Cents.


On 24 March 2010 15:04, B.G. Sloan <bgsloan2 at yahoo.com> wrote:

Check out the FufILLment Project. Sounds like they are trying to do something sorta similar via open source:

Bernie Sloan

--- On Tue, 3/23/10, Tim Spalding <tim at librarything.com> wrote:

From: Tim Spalding <tim at librarything.com>
Subject: [Web4lib] Does anyone need a federated OPAC search?
To: web4lib at webjunction.org
Date: Tuesday, March 23, 2010, 11:25 AM

Are there any libraries out there who could benefit from a search that
combined two or more OPACs onto one page of results?

I'm looking for people who want it, but aren't actually in the market
for a gazillion-dollar "federated search" solution. I'm thinking there
must be some libraries with reciprocal lending agreements with other
libraries, but no easy unified catalog. I'd particularly like to find
someone with a bunch of different catalogs from different vendors.

This would be free for the life of the test and, if we make a sellable
product, for at least a year after.


Check out my library at http://www.librarything.com/profile/timspalding

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David Kane
Systems Librarian
Waterford Institute of Technology
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