I started Monday morning off with a session entitled, “Resuscitating the Catalog: Next-Generation Strategies for Keeping the Catalog Relevant.”Four panelists discussed OCLC initiatives, and the public and academic library experience with the catalog.Several of the most helpful comments came from Beth Jefferson of Bibliocommons in Ontario.She has studied both public and academic libraries in Ontario, and though she focused on public libraries in her comments, she demonstrated some great features in an online catalog based on user behaviors that could be incorporated into academic libraries.She indicated that in regards to searching, less is more.When information was scarce, casting a wide net was helpful.Now that we search so much more information on a regular basis, it is more helpful to have a focused set of results.A few other features she discussed were:
-putting metadata where patrons expect it-type ahead (if they are typing “cook” for cookbook, show them “use cookery” rather than an error)
-rather than call number searches, a link to “browse the shelf” with book cover images
-more browsability with dvds and audio (their most popular patron searches were “dvd,” “dvds,” “movie,” “films”)
-browsing recent new books, recently returned books, and indicating “available now” rather than “checked in”
David Flaxbart of University of Texas-Austin discussed their implementation of a new ILS.They had a helpful item record display that had item information like call number and location in a separate, colored box right below the title and author information that set it apart from any other information on the page.In talking about any future software implementations, he indicated they were working under the “perpetual beta” model, recognizing that they would always be a little behind the curve, that the current system is just a bridge to the next, and that though no one likes change, no change will be remembered more than a few months after it happens.
The last two sessions I attended were again sponsored by LITA: Social Software Showcase and The Ultimate Debate: Has Library 2.0 Fulfilled its Promise.Both sessions looked at current trends such as cloud computing, mashups and technology tools, focusing on how we can use them best to communicate and engage with our patrons