Thursday, March 24, 2011

EBSCO's New OPAC Product

EBSCO IndustriesImage via Wikipedia
Took part in a very interesting presentation as a member of EBSCO's K-12 Advisory Committee. EBSCO has been developing and selling a new product called OPAC. Basically, it uses MARC records from libraries' online catalogs and make them available for search through the EBSCOhost interface. Most of the things the patron can see and do in the regular catalog interface are retained including, most importantly, real-time availability data. Is the item in or out?
Because the interface is a familiar to students who've used EBSCO to search for articles, they won't have to learn a new way of looking at and limiting results.
There are a lot of enhancements beyond just the search and results interfaces though. The library records can be enhanced by Novelist information, there can be dirct links to such portals as Google Books, Good Reads, LibraryThing, and so forth. The records are also enhanced with cover images, links to tables oc contents, and more meta-information.
I was very impressed with what they have been able to do and eagerly await further developments, including pricing.
In the meantime try EBSCO's Integrated Search on the Library's home page (or use the link below) to get a little taste of what might await you in the not too distant future of information access.

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