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Sunday, June 18, 2006

Library Tech: Why aren't digital card catalogues as easy as amazon.com?

It is a fair question. On amazon.com, you can look up books or other products by partial title, misspelled author name, whatever- and you WILL eventually find what it is you're looking for.

OPACs (Online Public Access Catalogues) are never as easy or effective to use.

A great and funny illustration of this is What if Amazon sucked like our OPAC by David Walker.

To be fair, the interface he uses here to access the amazon.com API is agreed to be obsolete, but it makes the point beautifully. Libraries are going to have to compete with amazon.com and netflix if they want to avoid going the way of the dinosaurs

2 comments:

_ryan said...

The Library staff at the University of Pensylvania is trying to use current web models/technologies. They have set up a del.icio.us-like tagging sytem for the university. This allows users to tag texts on the library's site. It is easy to see what a benefit that could be to the next library user who was doing research on a similar topic.

I've been meaning to write a post on this at my blog ever since I stumbled across it at Corante or Library Stuff. Here are links to the uPenn tag site and to the their library staff blog.

-Just in case their was any doubt about what a complete dork I have become, I just posted a link to a library staff blog.
And I did it because I thought it was interesting.

Andrew said...

To be fair, the interface he uses here to access the amazon.com API is agreed to be obsolete...

...but still in use! The interface looked awfully familiar -- it's the one my county library uses.