It’s always come as a surprise to me just how much we (as librarians) rely on the OPAC. It may be different at other establishments but I know here we use it for many of our enquiries (if you ignore the silly number of enquiries we get about room bookings!) and also for staff tasks such as checking reading lists, checking stock levels before weeding, etc etc.
You’d think with so much of our work relying on the tool, that tool must be amazing. Sadly not. To coin a phrase used by Davey P at Huddersfield University, our OPAC sucks and his survey results show we’re definitely not alone.
Fortunately things are looking up here. We are currently in the massively time consuming process of looking for another library management system. One of the stages is to examine what us, and more importantly our users need from an OPAC. I’m going to be involved in the OPAC project and I’m really looking forward to it. I’m hopeful we can gain feedback from users and potentially integrate features like book covers, ratings, similar item suggestions, and spelling suggestions (boo.