Quick OPAC Survey – update 1

Wow — the OPAC survey has now had over 650 responses! I really can’t say this enough times, but thanks to everyone who has responded so far.
The survey has already been posted on the SirsiDynix Horizon and IPAC mailing lists, but it would be great to get more responses from the users of other systems. If anyone is willing to post a link to the survey in a mailing list for any of the other systems, then please do.
I’m planning to close the survey on Saturday 14th April and will post the main results on (or before) April 17th. Quite a bit of the data will be included in the presentation I’m giving at LiS 2007 on the 18th.
The full results from the survey will be published in an informal report sometime around the middle of May. This report will include:

  • all of the comments from the respondents
  • tables of the data, broken down by multiple criteria
  • lots of pretty graphs(!)
  • conclusions and predictions based on the data

The comments alone currently run to nearly 40 pages and provide a unique insight into our love/hate relationship with the OPAC.
As a taster of things to come, here are some breakdowns taken from the responses to date…
Countries represented
There have been responses from virtually every corner of the globe and the current breakdown is as follows (based on IP address of respondent):

  • Australia — 21
  • Canada — 41
  • Germany — 2
  • Greece — 2
  • Hong Kong — 2
  • Ireland — 3
  • New Zealand — 8
  • Sweden — 4
  • UK — 155
  • USA — 408

China, Denmark, Italy, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Peru, and Spain have all had 1 respondent each.
I’ve yet to do a full breakdown of results by all countries, but here are some of the facts for the countries where there have been at least 10 responses:

  • Canadians are the least happy with their OPACs (4.37 out of 10) whilst the UK is the happiest (5.81 out of 10)
  • The UK respondents generally think the OPAC features listed in the survey are less important than the rest of the world does
  • Australians suffer the most from “OPAC envy” with 86% saying they’d experienced it (or perhaps Aussies are the most honest people in the world?)
  • Respondents from the UK were the least likely to experience envy with just 72% admitting to it
  • Australians are the most likely to offer OPAC training to their users (81%) and Canadians the least likely (61%)

Library type
As mentioned before, I’ve kicked myself for not asking respondents to say what type of library they are from. However, I added the question to the survey a couple of days ago and nearly 160 respondents have replied since then. The breakdown is:

  • academic — 92
  • public — 45
  • other — 14
  • school/K12 — 6

It would be great to get some more responses to bump those figures up, but here’s how academic and public libraries compare so far:

  • publics rate the “people who borrowed this” feature more highly (7.6 out of 10 compared to 6.2 for academics)
  • publics rate enriched content (book covers, etc) slightly more highly (8.9 out of 10 compared to 8.5 for academics)
  • academics rate facetted browsing more highly (8.1 out of 10 compared to 7.3 for publics)
  • publics rate user supplied comments much more highly (7.3 out of 10 compared to 5.9 for academics)
  • publics rate user supplied ratings much more highly (7.1 out of 10 compared to 5.3 for academics)
  • academics are much more likely to offer OPAC training to their users (74% compared to 53% of publics)

…apart from the above, the responses from public libraries and academic ones have been very similar.
OPAC features
I’ve got some really exciting data here that I’m going to hold off from posting it all until the survey closes (I’m such a tease!).
If you take the Crossing the Chasm adoption curve and apply the boundary values from the more well known Technology Adoption LifeCycle (E.M. Rogers)…

  • Innovators — 2.5%
  • Early Adopters — 13.5%
  • Early Majority — 34%
  • Late Majority — 34%
  • Laggards — 16%

…then the current state of play of the 10 OPAC features in the survey (calculated from the number of respondents who said that they had already implemented the feature) is:

  • OPACs that make personalised suggestions (like Amazon does)
  • “people who borrowed this” suggestions

Early Adopters:

  • user supplied tagging
  • facetted browsing
  • user supplied comments
  • user supplied ratings
  • “did you mean” spelling suggestions
  • RSS feeds
  • embedding the OPAC into other places

Early Majority:

  • enriched content (book covers, etc)

…in other words, only enriched content has jumped “the chasm” into mainstream acceptance.
If we assume that everyone who said that they were planning to implement a feature soon actually does so before the end of 2007, then 3 of the 7 features currently in the Early Adopters group will also have jumped the chasm to reach Early Majority (and mainstream acceptance?) by the start of 2008 — can you guess which 3 they are?
Also, if we continue with that assumption, the 2 features currently in the Innovators group will have moved into the Early Adopters group.
So, if you are craving these “more cowbell” features, it would appear that all of them are taking little baby steps towards an OPAC near you. How long each of them will take to arrive is the next big question and I’ll be offering some informed speculation based on the data once the survey has closed!

Quick OPAC Survey

I’m giving a short presentation about OPACs at the Library and Information Show in April and I’d be really grateful to any librarians reading this blog post who would be happy to respond to a quick survey about the subject:
I’m planning to include results from this quick survey in my presentation and I’ll post the full results here on the blog.
Many, many thanks in advance to anyone who responds!

Revish and reviews

Just spotted that Revish are gearing up for launching at the end of March 🙂
On the blog, Dan mentions that the site will provide APIs for getting at the data and I can’t wait to see if we can do anything with that data in our OPAC.
I quietly flicked on the ability to add reviews and comment to our OPAC last week, but we’ve yet to have our first student generated comment. This has slightly surprised me (i.e. made my right eyebrow rise by about 3mm) as we’ve already had several hundred book ratings added in the last few weeks. However, adding a rating doesn’t require you to login but adding a comment does (at the request of our Librarians).
If we don’t get any bites soon, I’ll probably tweak the code to allow anonymous comments. These will need to be fully moderated, as it seems these days that any HTML <form> on a public web page will attract spam 🙁
However, it does raise some interesting questions:

  • Is having to login to post comments too much of a barrier?
  • Are public library users (e.g. those at AADL) more likely to post comments/reviews than students at an academic library?
  • What motivates someone to write a review/comment?
  • Have I finally managed to code an OPAC tweak that no-one will use?
  • Did I leave the iron on?

UK Library 2.0 Un-Conference anyone?

All the talk about unconferences over at Library 2.0 Ning got me wondering how many people would come to one based in the UK?
If you’ve not come across the term before, an unconference tends to have a general theme (e.g. Library 2.0) but the actual agenda for the event is decided on the day by whoever turns up. In fact, the people who do turn up are the “right” people for that particular event. There may be a small number of pre-planned sessions (e.g. someone talking about how they’ve used a blog in their library), but the idea is very much that you decide what you’d like to learn about and then one (or more) of the delegates volunteers to talk about it.
All attendees are expected to participate in some way — either by giving a short presentation or talk (vaguely relevant to the theme), or by asking questions during the sessions. Once the agenda for the day has been agreed, there will typically be multiple sessions running at the same time and a “two feet” rule applies — if the session you’re in isn’t of interest or isn’t what you thought it would be, you just leave and join one of the other sessions.
As you can imagine, the emphasis is very much on networking, discussion, spontaneity, serendipity, and the sharing of experiences. In fact, in some ways, an unconference emulates the networking that goes outside of the sessions at a formal conference.
So, if there was such a unconference in the UK, would you consider going?

Hey, whatcha lookin’ at?

Just for the heck of it, I’ve started logging details of the full bib pages displayed in the OPAC to get a feel for what are the most looked at books. Once we’ve got enough data, it’ll be interesting to cross reference that with the actual number of physical copies we own for each title and whether or not a copy was checked out shortly after it was looked at.
In the meantime, here’s another “wall of books” to feast your eyes on…
top 50 most looked at books on the OPAC in the last 7 days
(I don’t have 7 days of data yet, but not to worry!)
Heh – glad to see the following funky book made it into the initial top 50 🙂

What a day!

I’m finally back home, 15 hours after setting off at an unmentionable hour to travel down to the CILIP event in London today. I’m a creature of habit, and my habit is to wake up gradually at about 6:45am in the morning — getting up at 5am just doesn’t feel right 😀
I’m too knackered to write very much, but a big thank you to everyone involved for giving me the chance to show off some of our OPAC tweaks, and thanks to everyone who chatted to me or took one of my moo cards!
It was also great to finally meet Tim Hodson (Information Takes Over) in the flesh. Isn’t it weird meeting someone you’ve never seen before but whose blog you read on a regular basis? It might just be me, but UK library bloggers rarely seem to include a photograph of themselves. If I was to include a picture of myself, I’d choose this picture (which isn’t of me, but I like to pretend it might be because his name is “Davey” too)…

I thoroughly enjoyed all of the speakers today, but (am I allowed to pick a favourite?) I really really enjoyed Antony Brewerton‘s session — I can’t remember the last time I’ve laughed so much during a presentation!
I’ve uploaded the final version of my presentation to https://library.hud.ac.uk/cilip/ and there’s also a few photographs on Flickr (unfortunately I left my rucksack at the front of the room after my session, so I couldn’t take any photographs in the afternoon). If you’ve ever wanted to see what a sunrise over Huddersfield gasworks looks like, then you won’t be disappointed!!!

Horizon — the five stages of grief

Well, I finally passed through the “denial” stage yesterday evening (which was partly why I didn’t post the information I knew until the formal announcement), slipped in “anger” overnight (good job I can never remember my nightmares!), which I guess puts me firmly into the “bargaining” stage today…

I wonder if I rang up SirsiDynix and promised to be a nicer person or told them how much I love them, they might reconsider?

Unfortunately, this means I’ll either be in the “depression” or “acceptance” stage during my presentation at the CILIP: “Re-imagining the Library” Executive Briefing tomorrow.
I guess either is better than still being in the “anger” stage — 15 minutes of me on the stage shaking my fists at the heavens screaming “Why God? Why?!? Horizon 8.0 looked so beautiful with its funky Aqua style buttons! Take me instead!!! Wait a minute… Statue of Liberty? …that was our planet! You maniacs! You blew it up! Damn you! Damn you all to hell!” might well go down as a memorable presentation, but not in a “good” way.
Anyway, if nothing else, the upcoming European Conference in May is going to be extremely interesting — if you haven’t done so already, get your space booked now!

RIP: Horizon

The initial announcement has now gone out to SirsiDynix customers — the all singing, all dancing Horizon 8.0 will not receive a general release.
Instead SirsiDynix will concentrate their efforts on developing another new system (codenamed “Rome”) which will be built on the Unicorn architecture.


Oh boy…
Don’t you just hate it when someone tells you that something major is about to happen, but you really don’t want to repeat it because it might not be true and you’d just be spreading unfounded gossip. But, then again, it’s so absolutely huuuuuuge that you can’t find a hat big enough to keep it under? Anyway, something may (or may not) be about to happen that could rock your world.
Let’s sit back, fasten our seatbelts, and see what happens in the next 48 hours in LibraryLand…

If you build it, will they come? (part 2)

I hate being reminded of how quickly time flies!
Nearly a year ago, I added a post about how five of our OPAC tweaks were being used:
1) “did you mean?” spell checker suggestions for failed searches (more info)
2) serendipity keyword suggestions for failed searches (more info)
3) “people who borrowed this also borrowed…” suggestions (more info)
4) books with similar subject headings (more info)
5) other editions of books (more info)
I left the logging running, so we now have 11 months worth of data to show usage — by “usage” I mean when a user actually clicked on one of the links displayed by the tweak.
Click any of the graphs to view the full sized version.
Usage by month

Being an academic site, usage of all library services varies by month — usage drops heavily during summer, and dips during Christmas and Easter.
You can easily see that “did you mean” and “people who borrowed this” are the most heavily used.
The “people who borrowed this” and the “similar subjects” tweaks are both ones that promote serendipity when browsing items — you’re viewing one book but are being given links to other relevant items.
Although the “serendipity keyword suggestions” is the least used feature (partly because it only appears under certain circumstances), it’s getting enough usage to justify the couple of hours coding it took.
Here’s a breakdown of the average number of daily clicks, along with the peak number of clicks each tweak has received in a single day…

Usage by day

It’ll be interesting to see if Tuesday is also the busiest day for other library services.
Usage by tweak

There’s almost a doubling in usage going on here from the “serendipity keywords” to the “did you mean”. I said it last time and I’ll say it again now — if you don’t have a spell checker on your OPAC, then you need to hire a web developer and add one a.s.a.p.!
Usage per hour

That odd little bump in usage around 5pm has smoothed out now.
Even with the least used tweaks, there’s more than enough usage to justify the development time, so I’m extremely happy with the graphs.
Assuming I don’t get run over by a bus, call back next year to find out if the usage has increased!