Librarians find themselves today in a lively period of the evolution of user interfaces to online information. The average college or university library user is confronted with a variety of interfaces in one trip to the reference room: from the straight text, terminal‐based interface of the online catalog to a variety of flashy interfaces to CD‐ROM databases. Most of the newer interfaces incorporate graphics, color, and mouse‐supported searching to make initiation for the novice user easier and searching more productive. As a result of exposure to these new interfaces, users come to expect this degree of ease of use and attractiveness. In their minds, there is no conceptual difference—and perhaps there should not be—between the CD‐ROM version of PsycLit and the online catalog. OPACs that provide less functionality are not living up to either the potential of the available technology or the expectations of their users.
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