Newsflash: library changes catalog interface

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Columbus does a wonderful job - imho - with libraries and parks. And, as I have mentioned before, we are very lucky to live right beside Whetstone Park and the Whetstone Branch of Columbus Metropolitan Libraries.

The Libraries recently introduced an Aquabrowser-based catalog interface, and, hey, it has made the local newspaper, The Columbus Dispatch. It reports a mixed reception:

"Now, instead of getting the information you are looking for, you are inundated with every conceivable piece of information related to your search, regardless of how off the mark it may be," library user Carol Shields said. [The Columbus Dispatch : Updated site leaves some in a 'cloud']

In general, I think it is an improvement over what was there before. The discover graph is sometimes useful, sometimes not. In my limited experience it is more often helpful with topical searches than name searches. The refine by facets feature is also useful.

Aquabrowser describes its operations using three verbs: search, discover, refine. Search and refine work for me, discover seems a less good word for what is involved. Whatever the words though, it seems to me that they do capture the general trend. We see simple search followed by richer expand/refine functionality, which exploits the structure of the data in various ways, and moves closer to a richer 'texture of suggestion'.

"We're accommodating what people are used to seeing -- people who just want to plug in a search term and get their list." [The Columbus Dispatch : Updated site leaves some in a 'cloud']

Related entries:

Dispatch reference via Brian Lavoie.

Comments: 1

Jan 26, 2008
K.G. Schneider

It blows the pants off the old catalog for the two searches I did (hey, I have a degree in library science--doesn't that make it 'scientific'?): the OCLC crowd favorite, Guns, Germs, and Steel (esp. the alternate, 'Steell'), and my latest keyword search, 'local food'.

I wonder what the patron finds bothersome. I skip the word cloud on the left. I love that the suggestion for 'localvore' (yes I know it's a rare neologism, I was just curious) is 'Calvary.' On the old rugged cross of eating in one's food shed?