A Demonstration of OPAC designs

A brief introduction to this demonstration:

This demonstration includes a brief presentation of a number of online catalogues available on WWW. The focus is on the search, retrieval, and display interfaces of online catalogue and how they may influence cataloguing principles. The catalogues are from Australia, UK, USA, and Canada. The URL addresses are given on the first page of each catalogue so that the user of this demonstration can also have access to the actual catalogues and navigate them to find out the problems as well as advantages/disadvantages of individual catalogues.

The necessary links to use the different search strategies for each catalogue are provided on top of each page. DO NOT USE the hypertext links in the body of pages unless the ==> sign which provides link to the relevant next page.



Identical searches were carried out across the catalogues and the search results were dowloaded (in a separate file) and linked together for the demonstration. The searches were:

AUTHOR search on "Shakespeare" alone

AUTHOR search on "Shakespeare, William"

TITLE search on "Hamlet"

AUTHOR/TITLE search on "Shakespeare, William" and "Hamlet"

KEYWORD search (if applicable) on "Hamlet"

BROWSE search (if applicable) on "Shakespeare"

BROWSE search (if applicable) on "Hamlet'



As you will notice, the trend in many online catalogues is to provide a network of hypertext link between related records. This is done through linking bibliographic data in major fields (i.e., main entry, added entries, uniform titles, series, and subject heading) to relevant records for authors, works, and series. For example, by clicking on the author heading (for example, "Shakespeare, William" ) in a record, other works by the same author would be retrieved. Or, by clicking in the Series title, other works in that series would be retrieved. This approach has important implications for cataloguing principles. Hypertext links can function as collocating device and/or references.

There are considerable differences in catalogues in terms of, not the number of hits, but the relevance of the records retrieved to "Shakespeare" as the author and "Hamlet' as the work. In many cases the search results include works by Shakespeare as well as works about Shakespeare without any arrangement to help the searcher to quickly and easily access to the work or item he/she needs. From the way different works by Shakeapeare or about Shakespeare and different expressions and manifestations of Hamlet are retrieved and displayed it is hard to differentiate between them. The level of bibliographic information is not sufficient. In some cases the searcher is represented with information which is confusing.

In some cases it is extremely difficult to retrieve any edition of Hamlet. Editions of this work are scatered among many works about Hamlet and the searcher is provide with no help.

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