• Catalogs


    See nested pages in the left navigation. What's the difference between the catalogs named in the links.

    For visitors interested in the origins of online catalogs, below is an article excerpted from Wikipedia.


    Early online

    The first large-scale online catalogs were developed at Ohio State University in 1975 and the Dallas Public Library in 1978.

    These and other early online catalog systems tended to closely reflect the card catalogs that they were intended to replace. Using a dedicated terminal or telnet client, users could search a handful of pre-coordinate indexes and browse the resulting display in much the same way they had previously navigated the card catalog.

    Throughout the 1980s, the number and sophistication of online catalogs grew. The first commercial systems appeared, and would by the end of the decade largely replace systems built by libraries themselves. Library catalogs began providing improved search mechanisms, including Boolean and keyword searching, as well as ancillary functions, such as the ability to place holds on items that had been checked-out.

    Stagnation and dissatisfaction

    The 1990s saw a relative stagnation in the development of online catalogs. 

    At the same time, organizations outside of libraries began developing more sophisticated information retrieval systems. Web search engines like Google and popular e-commerce websites such as Amazon.com provide simpler to use (yet more powerful) systems that could provide ranked search results using probabilistic queries.

    Prior to the widespread use of the Internet, the online catalog was often the first information retrieval system library users ever encountered. Now accustomed to web search engines, newer generations of library users have grown increasingly dissatisfied with the complex (and often arcane) search mechanisms of older online catalog systems.

    Next-generation catalogs

    Newer generations of library catalog systems, typically called discovery systems , are distinguished from earlier OPACs (online public access catalog) by their use of more sophisticated search technologies, including relevancy ranking and faceted search, as well as features aimed at greater user interaction and participation with the system, including tagging and reviews. These new features rely heavily on existing metadata which may be poor or inconsistent, particularly for older records.

    Newer catalog platforms may be independent of the organization's integrated library system (ILS), instead allowing for the synchronization of data between the two systems. While the original online catalog interfaces were almost exclusively built by ILS vendors, libraries have increasingly sought next-generation catalogs built by enterprise search companies and open-source software projects, often led by libraries themselves.[5][6]

    Union catalogs

    Although library catalogs typically reflect the holdings of a single library, they can also contain the holdings of a group or consortium of libraries. These systems, known as union catalogs, are usually designed to aid the borrowing of books and other materials among the member institutions via interlibrary loan. Examples of this type of catalog include COPAC, SUNCAT, NLA Trove, and WorldCat—the latter catalogs the collections of libraries worldwide.[7]

    Related systems

    There are a number of systems that share much in common with library catalogs, but have traditionally been distinguished from them. Libraries utilize these systems to search for items not traditionally covered by a library catalog.

    Bibliographic databases—such as Medline, ERIC, PsycINFO, and many others—index journal articles and other research data.

    There are also a number of applications aimed at managing documents, photographs, and other digitized or born-digital items such as Digital Commons and DSpace. Particularly in academic libraries, these systems (often known as digital library systems or institutional repository systems) assist with efforts to preserve documents created by faculty and students.