At 2:25 PM -0400 6/6/06, Teresa Victoriana Sierra wrote:
>Maybe you ought to sit with a reference librarian and ask why and
>how the catalog and OPAC are used.

Are you a reference librarian who can please explain why and how
today's catalog and OPAC are used, so we can think about how
libraries of tomorrow can be designed to best accomplish these

My point is not that library catalogs are not useful things today-
obviously they are. My point is that many of their functions are best
accomplished in tomorrow's library without using a catalog per se.

By catalog, I mean a local institutional indexed storage system
containing detailed metadata records about items in a library.

Let's consider one function of todays catalog- inventory control.

A lot is known about inventory control systems- they're used in
industry for everything from autoparts to supermarkets. It seems to
me that a well designed inventory control system for tomorrows
library would probably involve RFID tags- that way the library
Inventory control system (LICS) could know where the books are in
stead of only where they should be.

Let's consider another function of a library catalog- resource
discovery for users.

Does anyone here really believe that in TEN years Google and/or
competitors (maybe even mine) won't be able to hook into an inventory
control system and deliver full-text, faceted, clustered, instantly
relevant, translated search results out the wazoo from all the
content in your library? If today's catalogs did an acceptable job of
search we might be able to start a discussion.

We need good global metadata catalog/registries. Which of today's
catalog functions will require a local institutional catalog tomorrow?

Eric Hellman, Director                            OCLC Openly
Informatics Division
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tel 1-973-509-7800 fax 1-734-468-6216              Bloomfield, NJ 07003      1 Click Access To Everything