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Library automation in Spain has undergone considerable growth during the 1990s, with the university library sector in particular making efforts to keep up with automation…
Library automation in Spain has undergone considerable growth during the 1990s, with the university library sector in particular making efforts to keep up with automation trends. Due to the installation of automated management systems in nearly all universities, the creation of university library networks, and the growing accessibility of automated bibliographic information as well as online information such as CDROM, it can be said that university library automation (as opposed to other library sectors) is becoming well established and is developing in a standardised fashion. It is clear that this standardisation aids interlibrary communication, although there is a considerable amount of ground still to be covered. The exchange of bibliographical information required by the Spanish Library System Law (Reglamento del Sistema Español de Bibliotecas) falls well short of what is really needed. The business of cataloguing and classifying library stock continues to take up a lot of time. If shared cataloguing existed, this time could and should be spent on improving user services. The National Library is still not the figurehead of the Spanish system. In conclusion, there is still an appreciable lack of organisation and, on many occasions, projects are started without the necessary planning.
The importance of online public access catalogues (OPACs) has changed in recent years, mainly due to the large number of electronic resources now available. The aim of…
The importance of online public access catalogues (OPACs) has changed in recent years, mainly due to the large number of electronic resources now available. The aim of this study is to learn about and evaluate the use made by researchers of the OPAC of the library network of the Spanish Council for Scientific Research, the largest research institution in Spain.
To this end a questionnaire was drafted with questions pertaining both to the system and to the users themselves. The information gathered was supplemented by data obtained from the transaction logs.
The results have revealed the use made of the OPAC and the characteristics of the searches performed. Users are still confronted by classic problems of information seeking: information overload, errors in subject searching, and the predominant use of the system's simpler options. The results show that the OPAC is broadly used by end‐users not only for obtaining printed material, but also for connecting to the electronic resources subscribed to by the library.
The OPAC should continue to occupy an important position in the library's overall information environment, interacting with other information systems.