Chris Keene – next generation, discovery catalogue

December 1, 2009 at 8:56 am | Posted in Middlemash | 2 Comments

Chris talking about discovery layer – sits on top, next generation catalogue is OPAC ‘done right’. Requirements : more human metadata, tagging – potential for users,comments/reviews,links to other services. Permanent links – need to be readablelinks.  Can have one search but also needs to be flexible – eg to have catalogue subsets.  Examples are: Primo, Prism, Blacklight, Scriblio (blogging tool as a catalogue base), Bibliocommons,VuFind.

Aquabrowser – now implemented at Sussex : – some issues eg get taken through to interface of old catalogue, users may need to login twice for My Account. Also two worlds of LMS Catalogue and E-resources Articles can often collide though.



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  1. Very interesting, Chris

    The interface is certainly more enticing than the typical Talis Prism front-end!

    I came across a review of Aquabrowser’s retrieval effectiveness here:

    I can understand that this technology is merely an interface and that the ‘engine’ remains the same as for the old OPAC, but in terms of engaging students in HE in using a library catalogue, even a pretty veneer is better than the great clunking interface confronting our learners today. Incremental improvement if not the perfect fit.

    Any ideas on implementation costs and time requirements to set such a front-end up on a Talis background?

    • hi Jason,

      Thanks for the comments!

      I agree, anything that makes the experience better for users is a plus.

      There seems to be a three bits to what we think of a web catalogue:
      – bib records (easy to move to a third party system… MARC!)
      – holdings – no real standards for getting it from one system to another (Z39.50 could do, but Talis Alto doesn’t support this bit of Z).
      – ‘My Account’ – renewals and reservations. No standards here either.

      The first is easy (marc), Talis Alto can export it nightly, and Aquabrowser can import it. no probs.
      The second (holdings) is done by Aquabrowser via screen scraping of Prism 2, medialab set this up for us.
      The third (my account) can only be done via linking to the prism interface. There’s just no standards in this area.

      However, a while back Aquabrowser was bought by Proquest and merged in to their serialsolutions brand.

      looking at the serialsolutions website it looks like they have (are?) developed a completely new version of aquabrowser, now as SaaS service, which to me looks like a complete rewrite (though I have no more information that what I came across on their website).

      I’ve just started a JISC project to implement an open source catalogue which will hold the records for both sussex and brighton unis (for our joint medical school), and I think both VuFind and Blacklight are worth a look. They do take more effort to set up, but do seem to be trying to include ‘my account’ functionality.

      hope this helps. feel free to ask more questions!

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