Manifest This

Trips and conferences are often a time when you can catch up on that article that has been languishing in your TBR (to be read) pile for weeks. For my plane flight to San Jose, I chose to take along Jessamyn’s OPAC Manifesto.

Anyone interested in what our OPACs do and do not do for us should read this well thought out list. I do not think we are asking too much when we ask that our OPACs check our spelling, innately know if we are searching for an author, title, or keyword, or that they would be able to generate customizable RSS feeds.

OPACs and libraries interact in a strange dichotomy of make-do and demand more. Many, I would hazard a most here, librarians are willing to make do with OPACs that fail to utilize existing technologies and are built by companies who seem to be under the impression that they operate in a vacuum. Sadly, the vacuum is created by librarians who do not demand more of the companies to which we pay large amounts of money for a product that fails us.

Then there are the rest of us, the demand mores. These individuals are increasingly frustrated by the limitations of our OPACs. Some of us to not have any power to wield with our arguments and demands, save the strength of our own voices. Others have power to be heard, but are drowned out by the voices of the make-dos.

Is there an answer? I say yes. I say we demand, as a profession, more from the companies who build our OPACs. I say we demand that they utilize existing technologies and strive to create them so we are not always three steps behind the crowd. I say we refuse to keep silent just because so many others are.

The OPAC Manifesto is a good place to start.

–Jane, “the revolution starts now”