Whether it is called the OPAC system, the online catalogue or LINC, the Library Integrated Catalogue is a core resource of the library. In the course of a day, I use it several times, for reference queries, to find out if we need to buy certain materials, or even for my own personal interests.
The interface has undergone some new changes recently. Some changes I find extremely helpful, and helps me cut down on time needed to sift through results; others, I find not as helpful, although I can see their uses.
The first noticeable change is in the size of the font. Pragmatically, I realise that an increased font size is clearer and easier to read; aesthetically, I find that the increase in size makes the layout look a little clunky.
However, font size is just a small side issue; the major change is in the results page, especially when using the keyword search. I was very impressed by the amount of detail laid out for my search results. Previously, I only had a title and author to go on when deciding whether a book was relevant; if that information was not sufficient, I went through the laborious task of clicking on every promising record to see where the book was located, and if it was available. Moreover, instead of a piffling 12 books per page, the results page now shows a generous 50 results. For someone who prefers scrolling to clicking through to a new page, this is one of the more desirable improvements.
The book covers give a nice graphical touch, and some of the books now have links to summaries and reviews. The relevancy bar (ranging up to 5 bars) is interesting.
I certainly look forward to more changes and improvements in the future, as we upgrade the catalogue to better suit the needs of our increasingly web-savvy students and staff.