Operation Dump the OPAC

If you follow me on Twitter (@daveyp), you’ll probably know already that we’re about to take the plunge and retire our OPAC in favour of using Summon. There are a few drivers behind this, including:

  • the OPAC’s search facility is crude by modern standards and it’s difficult to refine a search
  • it looks like the OPAC can’t display RDA records correctly, but Summon can
  • we’re planning to replace the ILS/LMS within the next couple of years and, chances are, whatever we get to replace it won’t have an OPAC
  • getting rid of the OPAC means one less thing we have to show students how to use

This isn’t going to be a trivial project, as we need to integrate the missing circulation functionality (holds, renewals, etc) into Summon and our version of Horizon has no web services, but it’s definitely “doable”.
As I’ve blogged about previously, the Summon interface can be easily tweaked if you’re familiar with jQuery, so there’s a lot of potential for integrating the circulation functionality in a way that will appear seamless to the end users.
As the project progresses, I’ll blog and post snippets of code that might be useful for other libraries. In the meantime, you can see some screenshots of the work-in-progress on Flickr:

3 thoughts on “Operation Dump the OPAC”

  1. This is great. I look forward to your progress with interest.
    My only question is about relying on Summon – the ability to insert JavaScript in the custom link field is an unsupported hack. It’s fine for little tweaks, but to have it underpinning core services like placing requests would require some guarantee from SS that they wouldn’t break it.
    Have you talked with them about that, or are you just going to trust them? 🙂

  2. Hey David!
    I’d definitely be happier if Sers Sols could make the JavaScript insertion method an officially unsupported one (i.e. their tech support wouldn’t provide any support for changes we made), but we’re keeping the company in-the-loop with what we’re doing.
    The biggie at the moment is that we’re waiting for Summon 2.0 to be available, as it’s likely that’ll require some changes to the way we’re currently doing stuff.

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