Next-Generation OPACs Conference Proposal and Call for Speakers

This is what our proposal form looks like. Thank you to all of those who contributed to the proposal discussion. We won’t know if the proposal is accepted until August 2007 or later. If you have suggestions for speakers or a better session title, please let us know by July 15, 2007.

Program Title: Next Generation OPACs
Moderator: Megan Macken
Program type: Program type: session
Workshop: 2 hour
Brief Description of Content: Online Public Access Catalogs (OPACs) are undergoing drastic transformations. OPAC creators are embracing “Web 2.0” technologies that foster decentralized, social interactions. Progressive, Web-based OPACs now encourage patrons to rate, review, tag, and even comment on the catalog’s items. The visual aspects of these innovations–graphics-based interfaces, visually stimulating content, and the like–have exciting implications for both art information professionals and the visual learners they serve. How can art information professionals effectively respond to this rapidly changing, user-centric environment? Moreover, how can proactive art librarians capitalize on these technologies to improve access, delivery, and instruction? Which emerging technologies will benefit art library users most, and how can art librarians lobby both vendors and their own institutions to develop Web 2.0 tools? This session will
expose conference attendees to the latest OPAC technology and explore best practices for instruction and implementation of Web 2.0-compliant OPACs. Further, it will empower them to advocate progressive library tools at their home institutions in order to provide the usability and interactive features of Web 2.0 applications their users expect. Finally, this session will infuse the conference with a high level of energy and excitement by bringing in practicing professionals who are on the cutting edge of library technology.
Description- Speakers: To be determined. We are looking for at least one speaker outside of ARLIS/NA to bring in a fresh perspective on Next Generation OPACs. Additional speakers (3-4) will discuss the implications of the latest OPAC technology for art information retrieval, including visual aspects of OPAC design and user participation in interactive catalogs.
Description – format/structure: Panel Presentation followed by discussion.
Learning outcomes: To inform art librarians of cutting edge developments in library catalog technology, especially those innovations that will benefit users of art and architecture libraries; to foster creative thinking about the use of non-library technology in art libraries; to empower them to lobby vendors for improved services for their users and to make informed contributions to library system and technology selection committees.
Skill Level Expected: Basic
Impact to ARLIS/NA Members: This session will help art librarians maintain awareness and understanding of current technological advancements and changing trends in user services. It will elucidate art library users’ demands for improved Web services. Attendees will be able to anticipate and respond to users’ needs with appropriate information retrieval systems and services at the institutional and local levels.
AV textfield: Digital projector and screen required for presentations, podium and speaker microphone requested, as well as panel respondent microphones. Internet access is desirable, but not absolutely necessary.
Budget: $150 honorarium to bring in a one expert in online public access catalogs (ARLIS/NA non-member) or two local non-ARLIS/NA speakers.
Room Set-up: Theatre
Number of attendees: 50-75
Online Delivery: Yes
Submitted by: Bryan Loar and Megan Macken


  1. You might want to check out John Wenzler’s idea of combining Library Thing with the OPAC we all have in academia. Check out an article at:

    There also was a project done at teh University of California which was pretty cool… they took their map collection and OPAC, so you could search through a world map and click on cities and countries on the map and find the maps and books that were on that region/area etc.. for the life of me I can’t find that article now either.

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