Friday, November 16, 2007

Bill Jordan

The next presentation is from Bill Jordan, from the University of Washington. He started out by giving a background of UW.. they have 9 IT people, for instance.

Why they got started? Lots of brainstorming about the future of the catalog etc., then Betsy Wilson went to the senior leadership of OCLC. The UW team then went to Dublin and spent three days locked in a room with OCLC hashing things out (yikes -- ed).

the notion of "perpetual beta" was brought up -- unsurprisingly some staff were not so comfortable with this.

BJ says he expected to get "flooded" with comments -- but they actually weren't. There were just 60 questions via questionpoint over the term of the pilot. Reactions were mixed. People who had already figured out the catalog were unhappy they had to figure out something else. The loudest and unhappiest comments came from the faculty and staff of the library school!*

UW did do usability in May -- 10 questions and OCLC sent staff up from Mountain View to help run the tests.

Some of the results: ILL requests have gone up *dramatically* -- loans up 40%.

Problems: some issues around the amount of the record that gets displayed. The record is stripped, even on the advanced view. A lot of the contents notes are gone, eg. (The catalogers are threatening to edit the records via the comment feature!) For some collections it doesn't work at all -- e.g. for special collections and music, no good.

BJ thinks the solution is just to show the whole record, like they do in firstsearch.

Problem between records not matching -- ie. the master record in OCLC & the record in summit. Now, they think they have this worked out & there is ~98% match rate.

Problem w/ confusing display -- i.e. the book review link is confusingly labeled vs the actual record. The internet resource icon appears when they get supplementary material online -- i.e. table of contents -- and users HATE that.

Problem with button placing -- usability testing is key.

The biggest outstanding issue is their FRBR display -- which "is terrible". They've taken the most widely held manifestation of the work as the main record -- then attached all the manifestations to that record. So you have to go to the most widely held record to find online versions, new versions, etc -- understandably users don't make this connection.
People don't actually want to know we have the 1968 version in storage.. they want the 2000 edition, which might be less widely held. Catalogers think that making a real work record might help.

* my alma mater -- psa.

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