The Catalog Under Scrutiny Part 3
When I started this post, I thought a summary of the state of the library catalog would be a pleasant way to get started in blogging. Hah! NCSU’s new interface and Karen Schneider’s series on Why OPACs Suck had me thinking about the catalog in a new light so I started reading and following links and I found a ground swell of discussion and criticism about the ILS and the OPAC. On the NGC4LIB (Next Generation Catalogs 4 Libraries) listserv alone there have been 533 posting between 6/7/06 and 7/13/06. Having reached part three, I find myself with access to more information that I can synthesize. I feel like the computer in Star Trek when given an unsolvable logic problem by Captain Kirk – sparks, smoke, meltdown.
However, by delaying, I find that someone has done the work for me. I’m referring to Jennifer over at Life as I Know It. In addition to her excellent OPAC Blog Posts – A List, she has added OPAC Resources, which covers most of the documents and other resources that I was going to list.
I do have a couple of additions to her lists:
- Dis-integrated Library Systems and the Future of Searching. A PowerPoint presentation by Andrew Pace. Andrew make the interesting that the RFP hasn’t evolved which is why the ILS hasn’t changed a lot – if you don’t ask, you don’t get. The article version of the ppt is at Dismantling Integrated Library Systems. Andrew thinks the first use of “disintegrated” might have been in this 2003 presentation at Computers in Libraries – Dis-Integrated Technical Services and Electronic Journals.
- David Blades Letter on the LC’s decision concerning series authority records, cooperative cataloging, and errors in cataloging from the Music Library Association Clearinghouse. David says that critics of the catalog “…are arguing for information seeking rather than research, and in this model, any information found implies a successful search.” Also “Information technologies are helpless without information, and worthless if misinformation is input.” It is an excellent commentary from the cataloger side of the issue.
So, you now have several months of reading material a few clicks away and I encourage you to dip in and get a feel for what is happening with the catalog and the OPAC. I know I’ve gained a new perspective from what I’ve read. It is a lot more complicate than I realized.