OPACs in the Clouds

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Computers in Libraries


In today's world of instant everything, everyone has been exposed to some form of Web 2.0 technology, and higher education is not exempt from its long reach. Libraries of all types are incorporating Web 2.0 features to attract users as well as to showcase library services. The Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC) has become more user-friendly with libraries placing interactive interfaces on the traditional catalog. Whether provided by a company or created by their own institution, OPACs that offer social applications are becoming more popular in academic libraries. Due to the increase in usage of social applications and other Web 2.0 technologies, librarians must embrace some new innovations that are beneficial to their users and that promote the library's presence as the center for information retrieval. This article examines the use of OPACs and their impact in libraries. It reviews the OPACs of four academic institutions, namely (1) San Francisco State University, which uses LibraryThing;(2) University of Pennsylvania, which uses PennTags;(3) St. Lawrence University, which uses Encore; and (4) Harvard University, which uses AquaBrowser.

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University Libraries