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  • Mechael says:

    One additional problem we face with our current OPAC is the fact that we cannot do reindexing as frequently as we would like. Because of the large (and frequent) MARC record loads we do for e-resources, these titles always appear at the top of the indexes. This is very annoying when you are really trying to find a print book! While I am actually quite good at searching for serials (smaller universe, I know), trying to do a known item search for a monographic title is more difficult. So, when I can’t find something in our OPAC, I do indeed search in Amazon to find the ISBN (usually my first choice) or OCLC WorldCat to see if we own the item and then link into our catalog. Am curious about the “field for author to be searched with title words” that Mary mentions has been added but no one uses. I’ll have to try that out next time. (I’ll also have to try to read the right article for our next discussion group session!)

  • Mary P. says:

    I would like to suggest an additional issue that muddies the waters of searching, particularly title searching. Title indexes (what the computer searches when it looks for a title) are a huge culprit when one tries to find something in a library catalog and cannot. One cannot use authority control for titles. Our title indexes for IUCAT, for example, include variant titles, subtitles, titles in contents notes, series titles, and on and on. That means what a user thinks is a simple search finds too much stuff and there is no good way to put it in an order that is useful. On the IUCAT search screen, we tried to add a field for author to be searched with title words, but no one uses it, despite the fact that it works very well. Since most users search with one key word (in Google, in catalogs, in databasees), we need to figure out how to provide context to the search results to allow the user to find things more quickly. As Jenn says, most people just want some good things, not everything. puts materials in order with the most heavily owned titles appearing first. And it allows the user to limit the search results using facets. The new SIRSI Enterprise system uses a FAST search that looks at 3 letter groupings. For acid rain, for example, it would search aci, cid, dra, etc. Then it uses context to put them together in manageable groups. I believe that authority systems are great for collocating materials by an author or by a subject, but in a large database, there has to be something more that makes the results usable for the average searcher. That means we need to look at ways to provide context in addition, something that authority control does not do well.

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