OPAC Blog Posts – A List

July 5, 2006

The latest assignment for my summer class is a 10-15 page paper about one cataloging related subject that we choose from a list of 15 suggested topics (due on July 17th). Although I haven’t made my final choice about the theme of the paper, many of the suggestions on the professor’s list deal with the automated library catalog and the user’s experience of searching. I’m interested in using some of the recent blog discussions about the OPAC/library catalog/ILS as part of my paper. As such, I’ve started putting together a list of relevant blog posts. This list is a work in progress. I intend to update the list – and start annotating it as part of my research.


  • More on XC from David Lindahl
  • Sudden Thoughts and Second Thoughts – A post by StephenB with a section entitled Gotten any complaints about your OPAC Lately? StephenB points out that when students are asked about how to improve the library, they rarely even mention the catalog – being much more concerned about improving the collections and technology. Posted on July 12, 2006.

Affording the Rock-N-Roll Lifestyle

ALA TechSource



  • 2006: the year of the phoenix OPAC? – In this post, John Blyberg points to several significant developments in OPACs: NCSU’s new online catalog, Casey Bisson’s WordPress OPAC project, Ed Vielmetti’sthird-party library apps with RSS feeds and Dave Pattern’swork with a new patron-oriented presentation layer to the OPAC. Blyberg’s own experiences also lead him to conclude that the public is “hungry” for social additives to the catalog. Blyberg writes that 2006 “is shaping up to be the year a new OPAC vision is created.”
  • ILS Customer Bill of Rights – John Blyberg details “four simple, but fundamental” needs from ILS vendors: 1) Open, read-only, direct access to the database, 2)A full-blown, W3C standards-based API to all read-write functions, 3)The option to run the ILS on hardware of our choice, on servers that we administer and 4) High security standards.
  • Library 2.0 websites: Where to begin? – John suggests five directives to help redesign library web sites: social software, open-source software, single sign-on, open standards and an integrated OPAC.
  • Why bother: the impact of social OPACs – Blyberg makes is clear that he does not “think we are doomed if we choose not to implement social software in our OPAC.” He contends that by adding social software and/or applications we can create a feeling of community within our OPACs. One key point is that “findability is not the goal, but the activity and the experience which is why I say that OPACs have the potential to be fascinating places to visit and browse.”
  • OPACs in the frying pan, Vendors in the fires– A round up of blog posts about OPACs, ILS and vendors for early June 2006.


Confessions of a Science Librarian

The Creative Librarian

  • Yes, OPACs suck. Now What? – In this post, Laura argues that we need to strip our OPACs down in order to get rid of those things that do not work and then add cool, new library 2.0 features. This post is from June 22, 2006.

Crossed Wires


  • Interfaces & Expectations of Users – In this post David Rothman responds to comments from an earlier post. He argues that Amazon has a good interface because people can quickly find what they need – and that this is how OPACs should work. David also expresses some skepticism about the usefulness of “social applications” as library tools – believing they may best serve as tools for outreach.

Disruptive Library Technology Jester


ex libris

Family Man Librarian

  • Library online catalogs and relevancy ranking[updated] – A post in which the Family Man Librarian disagrees with Karen Schneiders’ post How OPACs Suck, Part 1: Relevance Rank (Or the Lack of It). The FML takes issue with Karen’s points that most online catalogs don’t have relevance ranking and that ILS vendors are wholly to blame for this lack of relevance ranking. FML contends that we need to “look at both sides of the issue and especially do not be so quick to lay blame without truly understanding the reality of what vendors provide and what they do.” 

Free Range Librarian

The Goblin in the Library

Hinkle Library Technical Services Blog

  • Googleization – Joe Petrick discusses OPAC in relation to a news article from USA Today (Tuesday, July 11, 2006 by Jim Hopkins entitled Google expansion showcases universities as growth engines). This post is dated July 13, 2006.

Information Takes Over

Information Wants to Be Free

The Krafty Librarian



Librarian 1.5

Librarian in the Middle



Library clips

Library Garden 

Library Laws are meant to be broken

Library Web Chic

  • Where libraries are going – In this post, from February 8, 2006, the author argues that many people buy into the “fundamental mistake librarians make: assuming that the OPAC has to be part of the Integrated Library System (ILS). In my opinion to not treat the OPAC and the content therein as an essential and integral part of the library’s website it is like Amazon separating out the product search from their site’s content.”



Life as I Know It


Lorcan Dempsey’s weblog

Maison Bisson



  • To fopac or not to fopac? – A post by Jason Fowley from March 10, 2006. In this post, Jason ponders whether we should be adding folksonomies to our OPACs (hence, fopac).

One Big Library


The Other Librarian


Participation Literacy

Pegasus Librarian

PLCMC Emerging Technologies

Science Library Pad

Stephen’s Lighthouse

  • Radical Trust – A post from May 22, 2006 by Stephen Abrams which notes that the concept of radical trust with our operations and patrons will be key to the successful evolution of library portals and catalogs.


Swem Review of Technology



  • Online catalogs . . .  – A post from May 29, 2006 in which the author argues that most searches in the online catalog are either author or title searches. The author writes “The online catalog was being used mostly for information retrieval, not information discovery. For me this raises the question of whether the online catalog can compete with externally produced and supported information discovery tools.”

Walt at random

A Wandering Eyre

What I Learned Today

7/6/2006 – I added some additional blog posts to the list and started to annotate the entries.
7/7/2006 – I continued annotating some entries. I changed the formatting of the post to (I hope) make the post easier to read (using bold for blog names and bullets for posts).
7/8/2006 – I added some additional blog posts to the list and continued annotating.
7/9/2006 – I added some additional blog posts and annotations.
7/11/200 – More additions.
7/13/200 – More additions. I also started to alphabetize the list by blog title. This makes it easier for me to find entries. This may take a while to accomplish, since it is tedious work.
7/14/2006 – Finished alphabetizing the list and added some additional posts.