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Patrons’ Frustrations

Oct - 31 - 2007
Nicole C. Engard

I just had a short chat with a friend about the catalog at her local library. They used to have a terrible system that didn’t seem to work at all and now they’ve put Aquabrowser on top of it:

[09:47] Friend: *sigh*
[09:47] Friend: catalogs are so finicky!
[09:47] Nicole: yep
[09:47] Nicole: what’s the matter now?
[09:47] Friend: sheesh
[09:48] Friend: i just want a listing of the books on CD that the Indepence library has on hand
[09:48] Friend: so i can pick on out and run in and get it at noon when they open
[09:48] Friend: i dont have time to browse there
[09:48] Friend: and browsing the books on CD is so…not fun
[09:50] Friend: and they have these “overdrive audio books” but i dont knwo what the heck that means
[09:50] Nicole: :(
[09:50] Friend: yeah
[09:50] Friend: silly libraries
[09:51] Friend: i even called someone at the central library to ask if they knew how to get the results i wanted…he didnt know
[09:51] Friend: but he tried
[09:52] Nicole: see there are all these fields that catalogers enter data into that the catalogs don’t even read
[09:52] Friend: then what’s the point?
[09:52] Nicole: it’s a real pain to me too – cause why do i bother putting that info in there?
[09:52] Friend: heh
[09:52] Friend: yeah
[09:52] Friend: and i found out that it’s not possible to search by format or branch with the aqua browser
[09:52] Friend: …at least not the way they have it set up
[09:53] Friend: you have to search for something and THEN refine it by those sort of things
[09:53] Friend: there must be a way to have it both ways
[09:55] Nicole: i’m sure there is … the data is there … it’s just a matter of people writing the right damn code
[09:56] Friend: it’s true
[09:56] Friend: i wish i could query the catalog directly
[09:56] Friend: seriously
[09:56] Friend: are catalogs built on relational database systems?
[09:58] Friend: i know koha’s built on mysql
[09:58] Friend: so that would be simple
[09:58] Friend: maybe i can do some SQL injection into this FLoP catalog….
[09:59] Friend: i guess not…
[10:00] Nicole: probably not – i’m pretty sure that it’s secure
[10:01] Friend: well the only way i can even limit results to branch and material type is by using the “advanced” settings of the old system
[10:01] Friend: the one with the piss poor search
[10:01] Friend: so single letters dont give me results
[10:01] Friend: like…i KNOW they have DaVinci Code on CD but searching Title won’t bring it up

Why do we put our patrons through this?? I don’t know – and I don’t have the time this morning to get into it – but I really thought I should share with you all.

4 Responses so far.

  1. Jeff says:

    Often, the top question is: I want to find everything you have on DVD or CD. Polaris has a way to search everything by using an asterisk and searching by format. Before they did that, you had to type videorecording into every video search and sound recording into every audio search.

    Better to show your newest stuff online as it becomes available. It would probably speed up her time if she could subscribe to new audiobooks by email. My library does this. http://cglibrary.org

    Many libraries aren’t supporting overdrive as much. We need a marketing plan on how to use it. I am planning one for my library.

  2. Iris says:

    I remember the horror when I first learned that commercial ILSs are actually *not* based on relational databases… I’ve known it for years now, but I still can’t wrap my head around how that works.

  3. Derik Badman says:

    Oh my…. that is a poor implementation of aquabrowser… half the screen is banners, and the first search I did “spanish civil war” didn’t offer subjects in the sidebar for “Spain” or “Civil War”, eh???

  4. Nicole says:

    Well – they had a poor implementation of their standard catalog, so why should this be any different?


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