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!

8 thoughts on “Quick OPAC Survey”

  1. Just a quick “thank you” to everyone who’s responded so far!
    I’ll be keeping the survey open for another couple of weeks and then I’ll post the final results.
    There’s already some really useful and interesting trends in the responses, especially when it comes to the perceived importance of features compared to how many of you actually have those features (or are planning to implement them soon).

  2. Once again, many thanks to everyone who has responded to far — in just over 24 hours there have been 179 responses!
    To be honest, if I’d known just how many of you would be happy to fill it in, I’d have probably added a few more questions 😉
    Ideally I’d like to get a few more responses from UK Public Libraries.
    Although I didn’t ask where you were from or what kind of library you work for (and I’m kicking myself for not asking the latter), I’ve been able to get a rough idea of where people are from via the web server logs.
    The majority of respondents have been from the UK and the USA, with a few from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Sweden, and China.
    Already there are some interesting differences between the perceived importance of various features, with user generated content being rated much lower than the other features.
    Both US and UK respondents are agreed about what the 3 most important features are:

    1. getting the OPAC to the user (e.g. via portals and search engines)
    2. “did you mean” suggestions
    3. enriched content

    That’s the order in which UK respondents have ranked importance, but the US respondents rank those three in the opposite order:

    1. enriched content
    2. “did you mean” suggestions
    3. getting the OPAC to the user (e.g. via portals and search engines)

    If we can get a few more responses from UK public libraries, then it will be interesting to see if the UK list stays the same.
    Many of you took the time to include comments in your responses and it’s been fascinating to read them all. Almost most of the comments have been positive, quite a few of you are concerned that these features will dilute the core purpose of the OPAC.
    This might be good old “British Reserve”, but US respondents were more likely to have experienced “OPAC envy” — 82% US vs 74% UK.
    OPAC training for users is also common, with 68% of respondents saying that they offer this service. I must admit I strongly agree with Roy Tennant when he said: “I wish I had known that the solution for needing to teach our users how to search our catalog was to create a system that didn’t need to be taught”.
    I’d love to post more of the initial findings, but I’ll hang on until the survey closes in mid-April!

  3. For the third time — many thanks to everyone who has responded. There are now 365 responses, one for every day of the year!
    There’s so much useful data coming out this that I’m planning to post an overview of the results on the blog in mid-April (before LiS), and then I’ll release a full informal report with all the raw data, graphs, and comments.

  4. Could you add the 8 blog post’s links to the top of the original survey page – it would help a lot to see them all at one place. Thanks!

  5. I want to separate them because I believe that libraries by themselves
    will never get the critical mass to make patron tagging work, and that
    most of the value does not emerge until you have that critical mass.
    In my opinion, adding user-tagging to the OPAC *without* starting with
    a large body of tags from elsewhere is likely to trivialize tagging
    and to lead to failure and a loss of interest.

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