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New OCLC Report on OPACs

OCLC releases new report, Online Catalogs: What Users and Librarians Want
“In 2008, OCLC conducted focus groups, administered a pop-up survey on WorldCat.org—OCLC’s freely available end user interface on the Web—and conducted a Web-based survey of librarians worldwide.
The Online Catalogs report presents findings from these research efforts in order to understand:
– The metadata elements that are most important to end users in determining if an item will meet his or her needs
– The enhancements end users would like to see made in online library catalogs to assist them in consistently identifying appropriate materials
– The enhancements librarians would recommend for online library catalogs to better assist them in their work
The findings indicate, among other things, that although library catalogs are often thought of as discovery tools, the catalog’s delivery-related information is just as important to end users.”
“This new report summarizes the findings of research conducted by OCLC on what constitutes quality in library online catalogs from both end users’ and librarians’ points of view.
Key findings:
– The end user’s experience of the delivery of wanted items is as important, if not more important, than his or her discovery experience.
– End users rely on and expect enhanced content including summaries/abstracts and tables of contents.
– An advanced search option (supporting fielded searching) and facets help end users refine searches, navigate, browse and manage large result sets.
– Important differences exist between the catalog data quality priorities of end users and those who work in libraries.
– Librarians and library staff, like end users, approach catalogs and catalog data purposefully.
– End users generally want to find and obtain needed information; librarians and library staff generally have work responsibilities to carry out. The work roles of librarians and staff influence their data quality preferences.
– Librarians’ choice of data quality enhancements reflects their understanding of the importance of accurate, structured data in the catalog.”
View report here (68 page PDF).
I haven’t had the chance to read this report slowly yet but wanted to get the word out since OCLC reports are always heavily discussed in libraryland. I think on quick review that the data supporting the definition of a gap between librarian and end user enhancement requests is interesting. It’s also useful to see the differences in requests from types of libraries.
Stephen

Posted on: April 21, 2009, 4:50 pm Category: Uncategorized

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