Monday, 28 September 2009
Improvements in library online catalogs
The Chronicle of Higher Education has an interesting article entitled "After Losing Users in Catalogs, Libraries Find Better Search Software" that details recent changes and advances in online library catalogs. The problem has been that traditional online library catalogs don't tend to order search results by ranked relevance and can befuddle users with clunky interfaces. According to the article, this is changing because of two technology trends. First, a growing number of university libraries are paying serious money for sophisticated software that makes exploring their collections much easier. Second, several universities like Virginia, Villanova University and the University of Rochester are producing free open-source programs that tackle the same problems with no licensing fees. With an open-source system, a library can set its own relevance rankings and adjust them based on what users want.