OPAC Blog Posts – A List

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.

21 Responses to OPAC Blog Posts – A List

  1. Mack says:

    Wow, this is great. I was just about to try to compile such a list. I thought I had been keeping up with the subject but found new stuff. Thanks.

  2. Jennifer says:

    If you had any that I missed, please feel free to let me know. I’m sure there are some I’ve missed.

  3. […] From Life as I Know It: Thoughts from an MLS Student … comes OPAC Blog Posts – A list. I had planned to put together such a list myself but was daunted by the amount of blogging that has taken place on the state of the OPAC. Go down her list and you will come away with a good overview of how the OPAC is perceived, problems with the current versions of the OPAC, and what should be done to improve/save the OPAC. Explore posts in the same categories: Uncategorized […]

  4. Wow, what a fabulous list!

  5. Mack says:


    I went to blyberg.net to read the links you gave and found this one. It is a chronological commentary on various blog entries from June 1 – June 15


  6. Jennifer says:

    Mack, thanks for bringing the omission of this post fom blyberg.net to my attention. This was actually the post that got me started on this whole project, so I’m a bit embarrassed that I left it out!! I have now added the link.

  7. Mack Lundy says:

    Jennifer, thanks for including the Techview blog in your list. I confess, though, it makes me a bit self-conscious since I’m mostly a regurgitator. I do have another suggestion for your list. Eric Lease Morgan has written down his idea for the next generation catalog. See http://dewey.library.nd.edu/morgan/ngc/
    I think it is important to include since it helps focus the discussion on what the catalog could be and not on the shortcomings of the present generation.

  8. Jennifer says:

    Mack, I think you regurgitate with panache! And, your thoughts add some interesting insights about others’ post. Thanks for the suggestion about Eric Lease Morgan’s documents. I downloaded them yesterday, but have yet to thoroughly read thru them. I agree that they are an extremely important part of this discussion. I’m thinking about putting together another post with article and document links – especially as I continue my research.

  9. […] 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. […]

  10. […] Another one I forgot to post about some time ago. There’s a compiled list of posts about OPAC’s over at Life as I Know It. If you doing research on next-gen or just want to see people’s opinions then it might be worthwhile to peruse. […]

  11. […] This description of using the OPAC brings to mind the “Our OPAC Sucks” discussion. Or am I perhaps reading too much into this? Doesn’t this wording suggest that the OPAC is a chore to use? […]

  12. […] Life as I Know It » Blog Archive » OPAC Blog Posts – A List is very comprehensive for anyone needing an overview or a more in-depth look at the discussion. […]

  13. Hi! I was also doing a search for the very same paper and came across your lists! Thanks! Great minds think alike!

  14. […] The “My OPAC sucks” movement took off in a big way, after Karen Schneider’s two articles here and here, at ALATechsource. […]

  15. […] har skruet en lang liste sammen over blog indlæg om OPACs i den engelsksprogede blogosfære. Her er masser af læsestof for biblioteksfolk med tid til overs. (Er der forresten nogen derude, […]

  16. […] Thoughts: My OPAC Online Catalogue Sucks… Life as I Know It has a very useful list of various blog postings on the issue of OPACs. And I think Jennifer is on to […]

  17. Joey Daphne says:


    A spanish translation about this topic might be found in here


  18. heikki says:

    Opac Online is a new OPAC solution aiming to address all of the “it sucks” sentiments and provide the user with high-performance smart search technology that retrieves relevant results and provides “did you mean”, fuzzy search and other goodies. We welcome your opinions on this open-source product, a demo of which you can see at http://www.niza.nl/library.php. Please mail us your opinions to heikki@opaconline.com. Thank you very much.

  19. […] Looking at ways our OPACs suck […]

  20. […] Jennifer Macaulay – OPAC Blog Posts – A list […]

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