Denver '08 Proposal: Next Gen OPACs

Do others think that next-gen OPACs are interesting enough to merit their own session? Should it be incorporated into the Round Robin format, or should we propose a seperate session?

We could focus on reviews of projects which incorporate Web2.0 technologies and mashups into the OPAC environment, with a specific focus on art information and visual resources. I think that this would be of particular interest to our profession after some spectacular presentations at the New Voices panel.

Please comment on this idea, as well as what format would be most conducive.


  1. Next Gen OPACS are very interesting. Hennepin County Public Library combines commenting and tagging withing their catalog. There is another PL that does blogging within the catalog (not Ann Arhor). The U of MN is working on a new catalog as well. U of Rochester includes books, articles, blogs, faceted browsing, list of msot popular titles. Those are ones I know about off hand… but this would be best as a panel or something where experts at the institutions (if possible) discuss their OPAC.

  2. Ex Libris also has Primo which can work with any ILS. Primo allows users to tag, rate, & review. Quickly looking it over, it looks like it also does federated searching too.

    However, I do not know anyone currently using it.

  3. If you are intreasted in Next Gen Opacs there is an article you might want to look at in Library Journal’s Feb 15 2007 issue, pg. 27 called Dawn of a New Era by Roy Tennet. It discuss the Georgia consortium PINES that began using a Next Gen ILS in Sept. of 06. It seems to focus on the development of the ILS from scratch using open source material, but it references several other issues and articles including “Evergreen: Your Homegrown ILS” LJ 12/60 p. 38-41, and the winter netConnect supplement from LJ.

    hope this helps

  4. To answer your question…Yes, I think so. Especially when they encompass so many areas that we are interested in: artists’ books, access to images, e-journals, and is an instance of application of Web 2.0(tagging etc.) to library catalogs. I think the catalog is one of the most important items of output that librarians have created. Changes in OPACs indicate general shifts in finding information in general. While it’s not a really sexy issue, it still is an important one.
    The issue demands at least some kind of coverage. I don’t know if having a presentation would be the best format. It seems like this needs to be discussed by the entire ArLiS community, or at least a large number of us. We need the older people who remember the radicalness of MARC and have practical experience as well as those of us with shiny new ideas of what should be.

  5. Okay, I think it is a great topic–one that will be even more pertinent in a year. What I’d like to see explored is how these tools can be utilized in tandem with image collections. And I recommend bringing people in from outside ARLIS. Look around and see if there’s anyone in Colorado using this yet, this is much more a public library tool at this point. And also, check in with anyone from NC State (Karen Dewitt ususally attends ARLIS) and see what web 2.0 tools they are using with their opac.

  6. I’m interested in working on this proposal. Since I work in an image collection, I am definitely interested in that aspect as well. Anyone else who’d like to work on this proposal with me?

    I’m also curious about the innovations the Mellon grant recipients in NY have in mind:

    “The Frick Art Reference Library and the libraries of the Brooklyn Museum and The Museum of Modern Art have received a grant of $669,000 from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to bring their respective online catalogs together in an integrated library system. In addition to providing economic benefits, this collaborative effort will broaden access to the renowned research collections of each library and will provide a platform for future collaborative efforts in collections development and information delivery services.”

    read the full press release (pdf)

  7. I’m interested in working on this proposal too. Fitch is just beginning to work with DAMs (Resourca) and images will play a big role.

    FYI, LibX is a very cool extension for Firefox which conveniently brings the OPAC to the user. Currently, 47 Academic & Pub libs offer LibX editions to users. For more info (including screenshots), go to

  8. I agree, this is an important topic worthy of its own panel discussion. Of particular interest is how this relates to digital and electronic resource access and discovery – images specifically. There are so many interesting technical concerns in achieving a successful next-gen OPAC (proper mapping of metadata comes to mind) and it is important for librarians to have an understanding of the development side. So I second Sarah Falls suggestion to bring in people outside ARLIS. I personally felt that I benefited most from the VRA conference sessions on image management systems when individuals involved in the development of such systems were reporting.

    May want to check NGC4Lib — Next Generation Catalogs for Libraries

  9. Pingback: [ArLiSNAP]
  10. Thanks for the heads up Sarah.

    Interestingly, the speakers are the co-creators of LibX (which a certain someone mentioned on comment #8)

    Is anybody thinking about going to the VLACRL seminar this month on the 21st? (the price is definitely right – $35 :-) )

  11. Looking at the proposal guidelines, I think a panel discussion would be most fitting for this topic. If you or someone you know is interested in speaking on this topic, please contact Bryan Loar or Megan Macken.

    Summary of NextGen Components mentioned above:
    *firefox extensions
    *social bookmark widgets
    –Add This (willliam mitchell college of law catalog)
    –teach students how to make quick bibliographies this way???
    *tagging, rating, reviewing books in catalog
    *thumbnails of book covers (like amazon)
    *lists of most popular titles
    *faceted browsing
    *metadata mapping
    *image resources within catalog
    *current grant projects (NY-MOMA, Brooklyn, Frick)

    We need to make sure these tie into art librarianship, and the art librarian’s role as either implementor or advocate for these tools is discussed as well. Discussing ways to incorporate these tools into bibliographic instruction might be a good link to art librarianship.

  12. LizE Says: May 13th, 2007 at 11:15 am e <q cite>May want to check NGC4Lib — Next Generation Catalogs for Libraries <a href=”” rel=”nofollow”></a></q&gt;
    This list is great if you’re interested in nextgen opacs or the future of libraries in general.
    Also, I tried out the <a href=”” rel=”nofollow”>LibX extension</a> for Firefox and UChicago Libraries. It is an entire toolbar, not just a cute little button or an option for the upper left corner search box. It does function well. You don’t need to go to the library website if you have it. You can search the library catalog, ejournals, databases, cross search, openworldcat, and google scholar from the toolbar with all the advanced search options (title, isbn, etc.). It would be great on a library computer because users wouldn’t have to search for the appropriate search engines. But, I think only library staff or patrons at a library terminal would want it. It’s not worth the browser space it takes up. Honestly, it’s not cool to have a library search box at the top of your screen! :) I thought I was a hardcore searcher until I installed it. That said, I don’t like the yahoo toolbar either, but I do like Firefox’s little search box in the upper left corner. I think it’s that kind of google-inspired simplicity/minimalism that “normal” users want.

    update 6.12.07: I got a new mouse with a right click button, and discovered that libx lets you highlight a word in your browser, then right click to add it to the search of your choice. That’s pretty cool.

  13. I second the suggestion to take a look at the NGC4Lib list. A lot of the discussion there lately has been about potential implementations of FRBR. [See What is FRBR? (2.8mb pdf) for an intro.]

    Also worth looking at:

    The potential to integrate digital resource collections (particularly digital images) into the catalog via services like ContentDM.

    The free catalog enhancements that LibraryThing For Libraries is rolling out (see the Danbury Library catalog, for example).

    The Futurelib wiki.


  14. I fourth or fifth the suggestion to follow NGC4Lib list (though there’s lots and LOTS of mail to it), and I agree that a panel discussion involving all these issues seems like the best format for the 2008 conference.

    Also, this might be too ambitious for 2008, but I think it would be fun to also offer a workshop session in which we could teach good / practical ways folks can actually implement these improvements at their libraries. Maybe as a follow-up in 2009? However, as soon as I write that, I think this is part of the reason things take so long to change in the library world. Why don’t we try to offer both concurrently in 2008? It’s almost a year away as it is!


  15. Karyn, I share your enthusiasm for change; however, I’m not sure if a workshop would be suitable for next-gen OPACs.
    Because such systems and their associated technologies must go through a formal review process (in most cases) that can include system librarians/IT, library directors, & even library boards, implementation of new technologies can become quite cumbersome.
    Thus, because we won’t most likely have all the players participating at the conference, I believe we should stick to having just a panel discussion for next-gen OPACs. In this way, we can plant the seed for change (especially if the audience has takeaways that they can bring back to their institutions).
    That said, I think having a workshop that caters to librarians’ immediate domain of control would be very exiting. Having a hands-on workshop for setting up a departmental blog, wiki, MySpace, Live Journal, Flickr, etc. would be great.
    (I’m still really intrigued by the idea of having ArLiSNAPers set up in various open spaces to do this–like info kiosks)

  16. I really like this idea from Bryan’s comment

    “That said, I think having a workshop that caters to librarians’ immediate domain of control would be very exiting. Having a hands-on workshop for setting up a departmental blog, wiki, MySpace, Live Journal, Flickr, etc. would be great.
    (I’m still really intrigued by the idea of having ArLiSNAPers set up in various open spaces to do this–like info kiosks)”

    and would love to encourage a proposal that, say, had stations set up in the exhibit hall, with ArLiSNAPpers demonstrating. Sort of an interactive poster session perhaps? Also, propose FLICKR and MySpace as sponsors.

    I would love to learn this stuff from you guys, and know I’m not alone. Also history of the various Web 2.0 things would be interesting. Let me know if you want more feedback, or if there’s an area I can help with.

  17. Heidi & all other interested folks…
    I’m submitting a proposal for a kind of “tech kiosk”, where ArLiSNAP members and others would be available to show others how to set up an account and get rolling with these kinds of 2.0 things. It’s something I mentioned wanting to do at the meeting in Atlanta, and I’m glad there’s still interest in it. I think it fulfills a need amongst some of the membership. The catch with this program is that it would absolutely require internet access…which can be cost prohibitive. I like the idea of sponsorship, and I’m willing to try to get some. I know Sarah Falls will already be soliciting sponsors for the mega-session that we were discussing, so I’ll be in touch with her to try not to hit the same people up twice. In any case, I’m hoping this gets the green light, and that we’ll be able to offer a “menu” of how-tos that we can guide folks through!

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