OPAC Home > What Is a Next-Gen OPAC?

Next-gen OPAC descriptions vary. However, certain themes are consistent throughout the literature. These include the following:

  • Relevancy ranking
  • Federated searching (metasearching)
  • Faceted navigation
  • Spell checking
  • Increase interoperability

Relevance Ranking

  • Users rarely move beyond the first page of results (Eden 2007)
  • Can be measured in various ways
  • One popular way is to weight certain fields
    • Ex. Title field
  • Results can be returned with a graphic, a percentage, or numbering indicating relevance

Federated searching (metasearching)

  • Search multiple sources in one interface
    • Ex. Searching library’s catalog, an online journals database, and/or a local image database through the library’s OPAC
  • Benefit
    • Allows quick, efficient access to multiple sources of information without the patron leaving the OPAC
    • Leverages the knowledge inside our institutions such as digital and digitized grey literature

Faceted navigation

  • Patrons prefer using one to two keywords in their original query and then drill down from there (Breeding October 2007 )
  • Gives the patron the power to further refine their search
  • Once results are returned, patrons can select various result facets
    • Ex. author, format, dates, etc.

Spell checking

  • A fail-safe measure to keep patrons on task and at the OPAC

Increasing interoperability

  • Increasing the ability for OPACs to communicate inside and outside our institutions
  • Especially important for federated searching
  • Ability to place library services outside traditional library channels
  • Benefit
    • Leverages increased knowledge inside and outside our institutions
    • Value-added marketing
    • Pushes library services to where our patrons are on the Web

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