Creating a specialized music search interface in a traditional OPAC environment

Bob Thomas (Western Washington University, Bellingham, Washington, USA)

OCLC Systems & Services: International digital library perspectives

ISSN: 1065-075X

Publication date: 22 August 2011



Undergraduate music majors often search for resources in a limited number of formats. This developed a specialized search interface which might better support the needs of undergraduate music majors. The aim of this paper is to improve music resource discovery now, without spending any additional funds.


A literature search was conducted to inform the design process. The web search capabilities of the library's existing catalog system were then used to develop a specialized music search interface. Finally, user testing was conducted to obtain qualitative feedback on the effectiveness of the new interface compared with the general‐purpose library catalog interface.


This project confirmed that an effective specialized music search interface could be created at no additional cost and with minimal effort, and that coupling a keyword search with pre‐search format limiting was an effective strategy.


The paper provides a low‐cost approach to improving music searching using tools that already exist in most ILSs.



Thomas, B. (2011), "Creating a specialized music search interface in a traditional OPAC environment", OCLC Systems & Services: International digital library perspectives, Vol. 27 No. 3, pp. 248-256.

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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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