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Journal cover: Library Hi Tech

Library Hi Tech

ISSN: 0737-8831

Online from: 1983

Subject Area: Library and Information Studies

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“Discovering” what's changed: a revisit of the OPACs of 260 academic libraries

Document Information:
Title:“Discovering” what's changed: a revisit of the OPACs of 260 academic libraries
Author(s):Melissa A. Hofmann, (Moore Library, Rider University, Lawrenceville, New Jersey, USA), Sharon Q. Yang, (Moore Library, Rider University, Lawrenceville, New Jersey, USA)
Citation:Melissa A. Hofmann, Sharon Q. Yang, (2012) "“Discovering” what's changed: a revisit of the OPACs of 260 academic libraries", Library Hi Tech, Vol. 30 Iss: 2, pp.253 - 274
Keywords:Academic libraries, Canada, Discovery tools, Next generation catalog, Online catalogues, OPACs, United States of America
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/07378831211239942 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Purpose – This paper aims to determine the current usage of next generation online public access catalogs (OPACs) and discovery tools in academic libraries in the USA and Canada.

Design/methodology/approach – Using the same random sample of 260 colleges and universities in the USA and Canada from their original study, the authors revisited each institution's library web page to ascertain whether the OPAC interface(s) offered were the same or different than in their initial data collection. Data was collected and analyzed in October and November 2011.

Findings – Discovery tool use has practically doubled in the last two years, from 16 percent to 29 percent. A total of 96 percent of academic libraries using discovery tools still provide access to their legacy catalog. The percentage of institutions using ILS OPACs with faceted navigation has increased from 2 percent to 4 percent. Combining the use of discovery tools and faceted OPACs, at least 33 percent of academic libraries are now using a faceted interface. Discovery tools that aim to be the “single point of entry for all library resources” are the most recently popular.

Research limitations/implications – About 16 percent of the institutions (n=43) in the sample either did not have web sites or did not provide access to their online catalogs. Thus, some data might be underreported.

Practical implications – The findings identify trends that may inform academic libraries in the quest to providing next generation interfaces to their varied resources.

Originality/value – This study gives a timely update of next generation catalog (NGC) and discovery tool usage in academic libraries in the USA and Canada.

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