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Using Search Engine Technology to Improve Library Catalogs

Advances in Librarianship

ISBN: 978-1-84950-978-7, eISBN: 978-1-84950-979-4

ISSN: 0065-2830

Publication date: 24 November 2010


This chapter outlines how search engine technology can be used in online public access catalogs (OPACs) to help improve users’ experiences, to identify users’ intentions, and to indicate how it can be applied in the library context, along with how sophisticated ranking criteria can be applied to the online library catalog. A review of the literature and the current OPAC developments forms the basis of recommendations on how to improve OPACs. Findings were that the major shortcomings of current OPACs are that they are not sufficiently user-centered and that their results presentations lack sophistication. Furthermore, these shortcomings are not addressed in current 2.0 developments. It is argued that OPAC development should be made search-centered before additional features are applied. Although the recommendations on ranking functionality and the use of user intentions are only conceptual and not yet applied to a library catalogue, practitioners will find recommendations for developing better OPACs in this chapter. In short, readers will find a systematic view on how the search engines’ strengths can be applied to improving libraries’ online catalogs.


Lewandowski, D. (2010), "Using Search Engine Technology to Improve Library Catalogs", Woodsworth, A. (Ed.) Advances in Librarianship (Advances in Librarianship, Vol. 32), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 35-54.



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