Developing a 'next generation' systemwide catalog

Lorcan 2 min read

Judith Pearce from the National Library of Australia left an interesting comment about the integration, or not, of full-text book indexes and library catalogs. Here is an excerpt:

Here at the National Library of Australia, just as we are starting to address the challenge of getting nice fully FRBRised, relevance-ranked and clustered search results from a centralised data corpus, we need to start thinking about searching the whole boook. We already have full-text indexes to our own locally hosted content so it makes sense to extend this to externally hosted content. Our Library Labs prototype at does search Google Books at the moment but the results are not at all well-integrated into the rest of the page. And we would need to target multiple external sources to get full coverage. [Judith Pearce comment on Lorcan Dempsey’s weblog: On demand book search again …]

The Library Labs prototype she points to is worth a look, acknowledging that it is a place for trying out things.
I was interested to follow the link from that page to a presentation by her colleagues Alison Dellit and Tony Boston which provides discusses this work in the context of the further development of Libraries Australia.

Our challenge – as a library community – is to make these resources as easy to find and get as the best “long tail” businesses resources are. Finding and getting a library item should be no more complicated than searching and ordering on Amazon, or Ebay.

To do this, we need to make searching Libraries Australia as easy and intuitive as possible – including providing new ways for users to browse material; and we need to make getting resources as easy as possible. This paper reports on efforts to improve the searchability of Libraries Australia. Discussions on improving the getting of Libraries Australia material are outside the scope of this paper, however, we would like to note the recent establishment of the Rethinking Resource Sharing Reference Group, which is looking at this problem. [Relevance ranking of results from MARC-based catalogues: from guidelines to implementation exploiting structured metadata]

The paper discusses potential approaches to a range of issues around ranking, tagging, clustering, recommending, and also considers the benefits of consolidation. Worth a read.
Aside: I was reminded reading it of my suggestion that we want to ‘rank, relate and recommend’ better in our systems. I have changed the order from the original Rank, recommend and relate.
Aside: I need to update my list of entries about the catalog: Talking about the catalog.

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