Everybody who is anybody in the library blogosphere has posted this tidbit sometime in the past week. Those of you who know me to differ at any cost may be stunned by this, but I’m going to go ahead and post it, too. [I got it from The Shifted Librarian, who got it from Caveat Lector who got it from Dilettante’s Ball . . . .] This is someone talking about how they got a usability expert in to review their library Web site and OPAC:
“I’ll skip over the part about our website (we’re able to fix that pretty easily) and write about what they recommended for the catalog. The first screen they gave us was a redesigned search form. An interesting dialogue came out of that:
Usability Expert: Ok, so this is the search form…
Librarian(s): So… is this the simple search form or the advanced search?
Usability Expert: This is the search form.”
Imagine that–a single, simple search form. Just like Google. Or, for that matter, the very cool RedLightGreen, which is a single-search box that will find books, tell you what libraries have them, and then (this is the best part) generate citations for you in your prefered format. No more need to consult me, your walking talking MLA Handbook/Chicago Manual of Style.
Sadly, we don’t immediately have the ability to make all library OPACs this easy or this cool. But it’s something to think about. It would certainly be an improvement over the Dominican/ILLINET catalog, although it, in turn, is not so bad as some. Got a favorite bad OPAC? Leave a comment and let us know.