Wednesday, March 14, 2012

SOPAC..Why aren't more libraries using this?!?

So, I was reading an article for homework discussing ways to improve user services. Very interesting article in the sense of its title, Why All Librarians should hack...a least a little (sure that is supposed to be at but I will type it as I see it). It mostly discusses exploring programs and changing how they operate and such, however, I came across something that intrigued me. Last semester I wrote a paper on social tagging in library catalogs. Found it to be extremely interesting. It is a great way to have your patrons participate with the library but also I felt like it made the searching process within the catalog easier for the patron. Well SOPAC was mentioned within the article that I read and I just had to explore.

SOPAC stands for Social Online Public Access Catalog. This OPAC allows patrons to tag, rate and review items within the collection! That happened to be part of my main discussion within my paper. For example, lets say a student uses a book for his/her class paper. It was definitely a great resource and she feels that it should be looked at by her classmates or future students within the class. She can then go into the catalog and tag this class onto the book. Current classmates or future students can search tags by class and find the book. It is currently how our patrons explore. We all do it, search Google by key terms, not library terms. 

Slowly libraries are integrating to different catalogs. I am in love with USF's library catalog in which its a one stop shop. I can type in Journal Articles in the search engine and it brings me to them without having to search the database. Why not take it that extra step and make it a more interactive experience for library users? There are some libraries who participate in a SOPAC and I congratulate them! This is just me personally feeling that a more interactive catalog makes it easier for patrons but also get them more involved with the library no matter public, academic, special etc. I only keep this short because I literally just discovered it but you can look at information from the website

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