Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Responses from Open Forum Questions

At last Thursday's open forum, we asked you to answer the following questions:
  • What will the library search experience be like in five years?
  • What are the first things you'd change?
We collected 27 cards from you. Here is a ranked list of your responses to our first question. In five years, we hope that our search experiences will include:

  1. Ability to search large numbers of databases at once– 17
  2. Improved online browsing (facets, related results) – 11
  3. User-enriched records (tags, reviews, comments) – 9
  4. Customization, different views of the same database (including the ability to create lists and store records) – 9
  5. Intuitive searching – 8
  6. Spell correction and suggestions for alternate search terms – 7
  7. Visual-based searching – 6
  8. Focus on user-centered design – 6
  9. Integration into users online work environment – 6
  10. Fast searching – 2
  11. Removal of library lingo – 2
  12. Full-text everything / full-text searching – 2
  13. Relevancy Ranking – 2
  14. All formats in a single record – 1
What are the first things you'd change?

Most of you didn't indicate what should be changed first. Those that did mainly suggested that the inclusion of spell checking, faceted browsing, and enriched records should be priorities.

Is there anything missing from this list? Is the ranked list an accurate depiction of your change priorities?


Nancy McClements said...

One thing that's missing is the ability to output to mobile devices or whatever other tools exist in the next 5 years. I'm glad to see that our responses repeat some that I heard at ALA Midwinter at a session called "Ideas for Making Your Catalog the Best It Can Be." Here are some of the comments that came out of the small group brainstorming sessions. It's nice to know that we are already doing some of these things:
Add widgets
Extend/enrich your catalog with LibraryThing or other tagging
More use of RSS feeds, especially for new books
Alerts for overdues
Alerts for saved search strategy
Make use of mobile technology (send record to cell phone http://opac.sfsu.edu/)
Pay vendors for images (http://iii.lib.csufresno.edu/ - Encore )
Outreach through library instruction
Get more data out of your systems—see what you can learn from search logs
Ongoing usability testing
Share usability findings with others using the same ILS
Use the Crazyegg survey tool http://crazyegg.com/ to see where your users are clicking
Use the LibX toolbar
Put in Meebo “ask a librarian” widgets when patrons get error pages or when patrons retrieve too many hits
Throw out your OPAC

Sue D. said...

I was recently talking with a very strong library user in the history field. I'd like to try and present what I think some of his main points were. He said that the ability to 'tag' or comment on records in our catalog was pretty worthless to him. He has learned that over time, you cannot depend on your comments/tags to still be there later on --- in any online system that you don't control. He would never trust them. Ditto for annotating within an online book.

He is also far more book than article oriented. One of his largest frustrations with MadCat is that, to him, it has very poor 'fuzzy match' ability. So when he hears or reads about a book that he wants to find, he often does not have the title/author info exactly correct. He finds it FAR easier to use Amazon, pinpoint the right book because it has such flexible matching ability. Then once armed with the correct info, he can search MadCat to see if we have it. He considers Amazon to be far better than BookinPrint for this purpose. Amazon's sort of results by what it thinks you want is fairly accurate for his purposes, while MadCat's default sort order is less helpful and again overwhelming in the display.

So the ability to match when words are out of order, not quite right, or perhaps misspelled is one of the most important enhancements we could make within MadCat for him. And cleaning up our results display would be very helpful.

He also finds our MadCat search interface has far too many options and is overwhelming or frustrating to use in comparison to Amazon or Google. And their default relevancy ranking of easy-to-read citations was also very helpful.

Effigy said...

here's a link to a blog with some new library sites:


Anonymous said...

Who knows where to download XRumer 5.0 Palladium?
Help, please. All recommend this program to effectively advertise on the Internet, this is the best program!