Catalogs in the Future Could Be Fun

CIL 2007

A few of us were sitting on the floor outside of the Potomac room and Tim Spalding came to join us. Very cool. He is very personable and funny. We are camped out so that we can get good spots for his presentation in 15minutes.

We finally succeeded in getting some seats and floor space at the back of the room. Michael Sauers has the ever present power strip. He is a blessing and the most popular guy in the room. Now if the wireless worked, we would be golden.

Roy Tennant
Tim Spalding
Catalogs/OPACs of the Future

[my comments in brackets]

[Tim’s part of the talk is mostly one liners with pearls of wisdom.]

The Fun OPAC – Tim Spalding is up first.

The catalog needs to be fun. They need funability. The library is the most fun you can have with your pants on. [that got some laughs]

The OPAC and the website are not separate. Most libraries hide the link to their OPAC because they are ashamed of it. [He is right! I am!]

People want to be able to link to things in the catalog. The more you link out the more people come to you.

Why are librarians hesitant to link out to other business sites? (like Amazon and the local bookstore) Why not? People know where the bookstore is located. A mall tries to keep you inside. Libraries should stop being malls. A website should not trap you inside.

Dress up the OPAC. Add covers. Someone needs to create an open repository of covers.

Link to Wikipedia. Your patrons are going there anyway.

Get your data out there. There are other people that want to use your data. Librarians do not have the monopoly on fun.

People do not want your content they want their content. The goal is for these to things to be the same. Widgets for blogs are an easy and free way to advertise.

Tim shows some cool tags and tools that Library Thing has built. Tag data will require that libraries cooperate and share data.

Roy Tennant
Catalogs for the Future

Roy wants to do away with the O word. Catalogs as we presently know them and hate them do not have a future. We need to find new ways for people to find information. Discovery should be disaggregated from the ILS.

Users want to find anything they can on a topic. They are often confused about why they can not find articles in a catalog. [indeed. This is a constant problem in instruction. Finding articles requires too many steps.]

[I like that Roy is giving some practical ways that OCLC is trying to help libraries make their catalogs better. He shows a bunch of examples of libraries that have added things to their catalogs and created a different experience for their users.]

Roy exposes the underbelly of his mind. It involves murder, gypsy midgets, and prostitutes.

–Jane, Was she named Strawberry?