North Carolina State University’s Library Catalog

July 28, 2006

Information from my preliminary examination of North Carolina State University’s Library Catalog (web catalog is powered by Endeca’s ProFind Content Management System):

  • Initial Search page: Keyword search options to “search for words” or “search begins with . . .” The “search for words” search can be limited via a drop-down box to Anywhere, in Title, in Author, in Subject Headings, or ISBN/ISSN. The “search begins with . . .” search can be limited to Title begins with, Journal Title begins with, Author (last name first), Subject begins with, Series begins with, Call number, or Gov Doc number.
  • On the home page, there is a Hint box with links to Search other Catalogs and Search Help.
  • There is a link to Search the Collection link which takes the user to a different search page where one can search the catalog, find articles, find Journal titles, find Reserves, find Databases, Browse Subjects, links to Special Collections, links to other collections, and links to Reference tools. While most of these services are outside of the library catalog, they all appear to the user as one system.
  • The catalog has tabbed options for searching: Search, Advanced Search and Browse.
  • The Advanced Search page has several more search options. Users can search by “Words Anywhere,” “Words in Title,” “Words in Author,” “Words in Subject Headings,” and ISBN/ISSN. There are optional search limits available: Library (Online Resources, D.H. Hill LIbrary, Design Library, Natural Resources LIbrary, Textiles Library, Veterinary Medical LIbrary, Satellite Shelving Facility, Special Collections (D.H. Hill), Learning Resources Library, and African American Cultural Center Reading Room), Language, Format (audio recordings, books, CD-ROMs, e-books, electronic resources, filmstrips, journals and serials, electronic journals, kits, manuscripts, maps, microforms, newspapers, scopes, software, theses & dissertations (NCSU), videos and DVDs, and slides), date range of publication and include document type (gov docs, reference materials, all others). The document types are all checked, so I assume that by unchecking they would be removed from the results pool?? Are there only three types of documents? I find this a bit confusing. There is also the ability to do Boolean searching on this page. Hints are available telling patrons to use quotes for exact phrases and that boolean operators are ignored in keyword searches.
  • Browse tab: Patron can browse titles by subject – broken down by call number area. There is also the ability to browse all new titles received within the last week.
  • There is a “get answers now” link which takes one to a page about getting help from reference librarians on every page.
  • In the top navigation image, there is a link to log into one’s library account. This image appears on every page.
  • Note, I found it very difficult to figure out how to return to the library catalog’s home page. There is no obvious way. The “Search the Collection” link is on every page – however, this does not return on the catalog home page. I eventually discovered the link the catalog home page in a drop down menu with the “Most Used” resouces.

Arkansas State University – Beebe’s Library Catalog

July 28, 2006

Information from preliminary examination of Arkansas State University – Beebe’s Library Catalog (ILS is Library.Solution 2.0 from The Library Corporation (TLC) – additional use of Aquabrowser):

  • Library catalog home page has several options: Search (refine searching to obtain more precise results), Browse (expands searching by viewing results alphabetically/numerically), Combination (search titles, authors, subjects and/or notes simultaneously), Patron Review, Online Help and Aquabrowser library search.
  • Main search page: There is a search box with several options. One can find information from certain fields (Any fields (default option), Titles, Authors, Subjects, Notes, Publisher, and Series) that begin with, contain (default option), closely match the words, stem from or sound like the item being searched for. Results default to 20 per page. The user can change from preset numbers in a drop down menu. Searches can be limited to locations: All branches, Abington Library (ASU – Beebe’s library), and ASU Searcy library. Users have the option to limit search to available items only.
  • Browse search page: Users can search for a keyword and browse the results by Title (default option), Authors, Subjects, Notes, Publisher, Series, Local Call, Dewey, GPO, ISBN, ISSN, LC Call, LCCN or LCCN 2000+. The ability to return a specific number of results, limit to select locations and limit the search to available items only is also available (available on every page).
  • Combination Search: (name itself is quite confusing). This appears to be the place for boolean searching. There are three search boxes which can be combined with AND, OR or NOT in one of three indexes: Title, Author or Subject Note. Each of the three search boxes is labeled term 1, term 2 or term 3. Under the search boxes are the options to group terms like (term 1 * term 2) * term 3 or term 1 * (term 2 * term 3). Again, there is the ability to return a specific number of results, limit to select locations and limit the search to available items only.
  • Patron Review page contains a place for the user to log into the system. It appears that this is only in order to request items (not to check circulation record, etc.).
  • Online Help – There are fairly extensive help pages.
  • There is top navigation menu with several options: Home, Help, Search, Browse, Combination, Reading Programs, Set Limits, Logon and Patron Review. Search, Browse, and Combination link to the same search pages that are offered from the home page. The Logon and Patron Review icons technically go to two separate links, but appear to be the same page. The Home icon takes the users to a different page than the initial catalog home page (This is a bit confusing since the page has some different options).
  • The Set Limits icon links to a limit page where a user can choose several additional limits: date range, language, format (book, serial, kit, projected, printed music, manuscript music, sound (music), sound (non-music), printed map, manuscript map, computer file, 2-D graphic, mixed material, artifact, manuscript, archive, and any non-print), and collection (Arkansas Reference, Audio Books, Audio Visual, Circulating, Computer Media, Electronic Equipment, Electronic Collection, Instructor Reserves, Inter-lib Loan 3 wks, Inter-lib Loan 4 wks, on order, Reference, Reserve Collection, Serials, Special Collection, Special Status and Technical Services).
  • From the second catalog home page, there is an option to do a Visual search. This option presents the user with 15 images (a baseball, a basketball, a sailboat, a car, a god, an elephant, a football, hockey players, a plane, a train, a farm, a cow, the Grand Canyon and a pig. Clicking on one of these images will present the user with a list of items about that item.
  • Aquabrowser link - On this page, there is one simple, search box. Searches can be limited by location: All, ASU Beebe and/or ASU Searcy. There is a link to help using Aquabrowser. Note that there is no link back to the library home page or the regular catalog.

UMass Dartmouth Library Catalog

July 28, 2006

Information from preliminary examination of UMass Dartmouth’s library Catalog (ILS is Voyager from Endeavor Information Systems:

  • Tabbed search options: Basic Keyword (default option), Title/Author/Subject/Call No., Course Reserves, UMD Journal Locator (not ILS product), New Titles.
  • Navigation under logo at top of screen with several options: Search, Headings, Titles, Patrons, Login, History, eResources, UMD Library, and Help. Headings, Titles and History links are not active. eResources link leads outside of the library catalog.
  • Basic Keyword search: Three basic search boxes with and, or and not options. These searches can be completed in Keyword Anywhere, Title, Subject or Author indexes. Results default to 50 per page – this can be changed to other present numbers: 10, 20, etc. There is a link to a movie to help patrons locate books in the library. There are alos links to a Virtual Catalog site and to the library’s interlibrary loan department.
  • Title/Author/Subject/Call No. search tab: There is a search box labeled Find This. Results can be limited to several indexes: Keyword Anywhere AND with Relevance, Keyword Anywhere OR with Relevance, Title Keyword AND, Subject Keyword AND, Journal Title Keyword AND, Keyword Relevance Search, Author Browse, Left Anchored Title, Call Number Browse, Subject Browse, Date Seach (left anchored), and Name Title Browse. (Upon first glance, these options seem very confusing. I’m not exactly sure what they mean. Hopefully, what these searches do will become clear when I actually start to do searches). There is also a quick limit option to limit material to after 1990, after 2000, videorecording, serials in English, and Main Library.
  • Course Reserve tab allows users to search for reserve material by instructor, department, course number or section number. On this page, there is a link to the library’s ereserve system and a link to the UMass journal locator (both are non ILS systems).
  • New Titles tab: Patron can select location, but UMass Dartmouth library is the only location offered. There is the ability to choose the period for new books: last week, last 2 weeks, last 3 weeks, and last 4 weeks. The results can be sorted by call number, author or title. There is also a search box for patrons to search for something in the new titles (this is optional).
  • Patron/Login links on navigation menu: There are two links which allow patrons to log into the library catalog. Each link (patron and login) seem to take patrons to the same place. This seems a bit confusing.

The Final Three Catalogs

July 27, 2006

For my next cataloging assignment, I have narrowed down the catalogs that I will examine. As noted previously, I think that analyzing three catalogs from different vendors will be the most productive route. So the three systems that I will compare are:

  1. North Carolina State University’s library catalog – Powered by Endeca’s ProFind
  2. Arkansas State University’s library catalog – Library.Solution ILS by The Library Corporation – Uses Aquabrowser
  3. UMASS Dartmouth’s library catalog – Endeavor’s Voyager system

Apathy & Annoyance Sets In

July 26, 2006

I am incredibly uninterested in school at the moment and trying very hard to motivate myself to finish my work. My class ends next week with a final exam for which there is no information. What do we need to study? What format will the exam be in? Do we need to memorize AACR2? Of course, this is after the last assignment is due (Monday, the 31st). At this point, there are way more answers than questions. There has been so little direction from the professor that is extremely hard to keep interested in the topic and even harder to care. Without any graded material, it is impossible to know where I stand and impossible to feel as if I can adequately prepare for the last assignment or for the final.

The good news is that I generally find myself in this type of mood every semester – right before the end. Final exams, papers, etc. are pretty stressful – and I constantly have to remind myself that the big picture will be worth it in the end. Ultimately, I will be a happy camper after August 4th with a few weeks to relax before the start of the next semester. I will have to take some time off from work to truly enjoy it – but wait, taking days off from work in August which is right before school starts is not an easy task. And, since the person who works for me recently resigned, I may actually be working many, many hours. ARGH!!!


The Initial Ten Catalogs

July 25, 2006

The Ten Catalogs for Assignment #3

  1. Ann Arbor District Library Catalog
  2. Arkansas State University – Beebe – Abington Library Catalog- Aquabrowser.
  3. Detroit Area Library Network Library Catalog- SirsiDynix
  4. Georgia Library PINES – Beta version of an open source integrated library system named Evergreen developed by the Georgia Public Library System.
  5. HELIN Library Catalog- Library consortium in Rhode Island. An Innovative Interfaces OPAC.
  6. North Carolina State University Libraries- Powered by Endeca. The system leverages the advanced search and navigation features of Endeca ProFind platform.
  7. Plymouth State University – Lamson Library’s Catalog – WordPress OPAC – under development.
  8. UMASS Dartmouth Library Catalog- Endeavor’s Voyager platform.
  9. University College Dublin Library Catalogue- A system on the Talis platform.
  10. University of Notre Dame Library Catalog- Ex libris’s Aleph

I tried to choose a variety of different library catalogs as part of my initial 10 choices. Although not required as part of the instructions, it seems to me that in order to analyze different features and search methodologies, the catalogs needs to be from different vendors. Personally, I think this is more important than the size of the collection.  Now, I have to start work on the assignment. I am without a doubt reading to have a couple of weeks off from school. More will follow . . .


The Third Assignment

July 24, 2006

The professor released the third (and final) assignment for my summer class today. The purpose of the assignment “is for students to develop a greater understanding of catalog construction as well as an appreciation of the consequences of catalog design decisions on catalog usability” (from syllabus). We are to identify 10 OPACs via the web – catalogs should represent holdings of relatively large collections (I’m not sure what exactly is meant by a relatively large collection). The 10 should vary in terms of presentation and feature set. After we review the 10, we need to narrow our selection to 3. We need to become familiar with the 3 catalogs and their features. We need to develop a comparative analysis of the chosen catalogs – addressing both general and specific features (testing catalogs with simple searches). Examinations should include search features, hitlist displays and presentation of individual records. The resulting written report should be no more than 10 pages which outline the strengths and weaknesses of the catalogs – commenting specifically on how successful the catalogs were in responding to users’ needs. Include comments on features that enhance or impact (positively or negatively) the user experience. We should also comment on potential improvements that would improve our experience.

Much like the other three assignments, this one is worth 25% of the final overall grade. The worst part is that we haven’t yet received our grades from the first or second assignment. It is so difficult to have any sense of how the class is going. I’m not sure where I stand. I am especially nervous about the paper that was due last week. There was so little direction – no firm guidelines. And at this point, the final exam is less than 2 weeks away. I think I might be panicking!!!!!!!!!


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