Empowering users with a new online catalog

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In June 1998 Oakland University's library migrated to a new online catalog. In order to determine user acceptance of the new OPAC, students receiving library instruction were asked to complete an open-ended questionnaire eliciting comments on their likes, dislikes and online catalog preference. From the data collected, a second questionnaire was designed and distributed that focused on specific features of the new catalog identified in the first survey. Results indicated that users overwhelmingly preferred the new OPAC and found it easy to use; however, they experienced some difficulty using special features like truncation. The most popular feature of the new catalog was its remote access capability. Second-generation OPACs possess features––such as electronic reserves capabilities and hypertext links––that are beginning to simplify the search process; but they have not yet developed into the intuitive, comprehensive systems that can empower users to seek information in new ways.



Online catalogs, University libraries, User survey, Voyager, User empowerment


Lombardo, S. V. and Condic, K. S. (2000). Empowering users with a new online catalog. Library Hi Tech 18, 130-141.