Archive for the ‘opac’ Category

vuFind for UVM?

July 26, 2007

Last Thursday, Andrew Nagy introduced vuFind on the code4lib listserv. The more I look at vuFind the more I find to like; the display is attractive, easy to use, and fairly intuitive. There are great extras such as a “book bag” like feature; also, on item records you are given the option to cite the resource (and provided with the citation in two formats, MLA and APA), you can link to related items in a an easy and intuitive manner, and I find the tabbed layout for displaying item description, holdings, comments, review, and staff view, really attractive. Although still in beta, vuFind provides much of what I discussed in my talk on innovative interfaces (and since the announcement came out on Thursday I was able to talk briefly about it during my presentation). The really exciting part, to me, is that this is a tool I could see my library adopting. I think so many of the technical barriers are down that the logistics of getting it working with our existing system could be fairly simple. (I haven’t tried installing it myself, but I was impressed by Antonio’s experience. ) So all that really remains is swaying library opinion. ;-)

I’ve already started talking about vuFind here, and I will be revisiting my innovative interfaces presentation at a UVM library form, where I will get a chance to talk about it some more. What is interesting to me is some of the responses I have already gotten, particularly the interest in having vuFind as an additional (not replacement) option. I understand people, particularly those who have to deal with irate patrons who want to know why an interface has changed, would hesitate to adopt something new. But having an additional interface option for patrons already confused by the current set of options doesn’t really make any sense. Also, I firmly believe that if you pay enough attention to the design and functionality of your new interface, these complaints will be at a minimum. The whole point of the new interface is to provide users with something that is intuitive to use. We won’t have to “train” them on a new system, the interface will do most of that work for us. I think vuFind does this admirably well, Roy Tennant is right vuFind “rocks the house.”

Innovative Interfaces: making the most of the data we have

July 23, 2007

On Friday I presented at VLA‘s (Vermont Library Association) College and Special Libraries meeting. I had contacted Meredith before putting together the final version of my presentation, and I think we managed to complement each other rather than repeat each other. I ended up speaking quite a bit about library OPACs and the need for change in both the interface and the back-end technology. I did not talk much about what I see as a need for a change in cataloging practices, because I feel like I’m on shaky ground with that topic, although I did talk about LCSH (Library of Congress Subject Headings) and how they could be made more useful by being able to use them as both pre and post-coordinated topics, which could allow users to “walk” back up the path of a pre-coordinated heading to steadily broaden their results. I also discussed at the end of the presentation, how libraries need to embrace a culture of change in order to stay relevant in today’s information society.

All-in-all I think the presentation was well received, and sparked some interesting discussions. I’ve posted my slides here. If you want to learn more, here are a few places you could get started: