The poor, sad OPAC is certainly suffering from a massive identity crisis currently. OPACs have taken quite a bit of heat and have many in the library world chanting the mantra “OPACs sucks” repeatedly. Personally, I think the discussion has been wonderful – and is the first step in what will probably be a long and drawn out process to overhaul our library systems. Today, Peter Bromberg joined in the recent discussions about how maybe it isn’t just the OPACs that we have problems with in a post comically titled Get your head out of your OPAC. In the post, he writes: “How does the quality of the OPAC ultimately affect the total quality of customer experience and customer satisfaction?” Important question. My thoughts – our users are not judging our services based upon our OPACs – not at all. I seriously doubt most patrons waste their time thinking about our OPACs. They reside in the background; people use them when they need to find physical items on the shelf – and they probably have no clue about what a better designed system could actually do. Fixing the OPAC will not make people use the library and its services. Libraries should be focusing on how to improve the overall experience. Improving the OPAC might be one way to help achieve this – but it will only be one part of a much larger initiative.
The Plight Of The OPAC