Imperial catalogue reload underway

We are currently reloading the Imperial College London catalogue to reflect local catalogue changes. Consequently, c. half of the Imperial catalogue will be unavailable on Copac this week. It should begin to reappear next Monday but the full reload is likely to take a couple of weeks. Apologies for the short-term loss of availability of this material.

Copac Beta can search your library too

One of the new features we are trailing in the new Copac Beta is the searching of your local institutions library catalogue alongside Copac. To do this we need to know which Institution you are from and whether or not your Institutional library catalogue can be searched with the Z39.50 protocol.

To identify where you are from, we are using information given to us during the login process. When you login, your Institution gives us various pieces of information about you, including something called a scoped affiliation. For someone logging in from, say, the University of Manchester, the scoped affiliation might be something like “student@manchester.ac.uk”

Once we know where you are from, we search a database of Institutional Z39.50 servers to see if your Institution’s library is searchable. If it is we can present the extra options on the search forms, and indeed, fire off any queries to your library catalogue.

Our database of Z39.50 servers is created from records harvested from the IESR. So, if you’d like your Institution’s catalogue available through Copac, make sure it is included in the IESR by talking to the nice people there.

Many thanks to everyone who tried the Beta interface early on and discovered that this feature mostly wasn’t working. You enabled us to identify some bugs and get the service working.

new Copac trial interfaces

We are beginning a major redevelopment of the Copac National, Academic, and Specialist library catalogue service. The first stage of this work will introduce a login version of Copac with a range of new personalised facilities. Alongside this we will retain an open-access version of Copac.

Building on the recent Copac Beta trial, we have two new Copac Beta trial interfaces.

Personalised Copac, as seen in the beta trial, now has a new addition in the form of ‘my local library’ search, which allows members of some universities to search their own library catalogue alongside Copac, giving a single result set. This requires you to login to Copac.

The new standard Copac is a streamlined service which allows you to search and export records without logging in to the personalised Copac. It also includes a new journal table-of-contents display (where available).

Both these interfaces can be accessed at http://beta.copac.ac.uk/, and the trial will be running until 26th July.

There is a very short feedback questionnaire for each interface. We would appreciate it if you could fill in the questionnaire, or just email the Copac helpdesk (copac@mimas.ac.uk) with any comments you may have.

New Copac trial interfaces

We are beginning a major redevelopment of the Copac National, Academic, and Specialist library catalogue service. The first stage of this work will introduce a login version of Copac with a range of new personalised facilities. Alongside this we will retain an open-access version of Copac.

Building on the recent Copac Beta trial, we have two new Copac Beta trial interfaces.

Personalised Copac, as seen in the beta trial, now has a new addition in the form of ‘my local library’ search, which allows members of some universities to search their own library catalogue alongside Copac, giving a single result set. This requires you to login to Copac.

The new standard Copac is a streamlined service which allows you to search and export records without logging in to the personalised Copac. It also includes a new journal table-of-contents display (where available).

Both these interfaces can be accessed at http://beta.copac.ac.uk/, and the trial will be running until 26th July.

There is a very short feedback questionnaire for each interface. We would appreciate it if you could fill in the questionnaire, or just email the Copac helpdesk (copac@mimas.ac.uk) with any comments you may have.

Notes on (Re)Modelling the Library Domain (JISC Workshop).

A couple of weeks ago, I attended JISC’s Modelling the Library Domain Workshop. I was asked to facilitate some sessions at the workshop, which was an interesting but slightly (let’s say) ‘hectic’ experience. Despite this, I found the day very positive. We were dealing with potentially contentious issues, but I noted real consensus around some key points. The ‘death of the OPAC’ was declared and no blood was shed as a result. Instead I largely heard murmured assent. As a community, we might have finally faced a critical juncture, and there were certainly lessons to be learned in terms of considering the future of services such as Copac, which as a web search service, in the Library Domain Model would count as national JISC service ‘Channel.’

In the morning, we were asked to interrogate what has been characterised as the three ‘realms’ of the Library Domain: Corporation, Channels, and Clients. (For more explanation of this model, see the TILE project report on the Library Domain Model). My groups were responsible for picking apart the ‘Channel’ realm definition:

The Channel: a means of delivering knowledge assets to Clients, not necessarily restricted to the holdings or the client base of any particular Corporation, Channels within this model range from local OPACs to national JISC services and ‘webscale’ services such as Amazon and Google Scholar. Operators of channel services will typically require corporate processes (e.g. a library managing its collection, an online book store managing its stock). However, there may be an increasing tendency towards separation, channels relying on the corporate services of others and vice versa (e.g. a library exposing its records to channels such as Google or Liblime, a bookshop outsourcing some of its channel services to the Amazon marketplace).

In subsequent discussion, we came up with the following key points:

  • This definition of ‘channel’ was too library-centric. We need to working on ‘decentring’ our perspective in this regard.
  • We will see an increasing uncoupling of channels from content. We won’t be pointing users to content/data but rather data/content will be pushed to users via a plethora of alternative channels
  • Users will increasingly expect this type of content delivery. Some of these channels we can predict (VLEs, Google, etc) and others we cannot. We need to learn to live with that uncertainty (for now, at least).
  • There will be an increasing number of ‘mashed’ channels – a recombining of data from different channels into new bespoke/2.0 interfaces.
  • The lines between the realms are already blurring, with users becoming corporations and channels….etc., etc.
  • We need more fundamental rethinking of the OPAC as the primary delivery channel for library data. It is simply one channel, serving specific use-cases and business process within the library domain.
  • Control. This was a big one. In this environment libraries increasingly devolve control of the channels via which their ‘clients’ use to access the data. What are the risks and opportunities to be explored around this decreasing level of control? What related business cases already exist, and what new business models need to evolve?
  • How are our current ‘traditional’ channels actually being used? How many times are librarians re-inventing the wheel when it comes to creating the channels of e-resource or subject specialist resource pages? We need to understand this in broad scale.
  • Do we understand the ways in which the channels libraries currently control and create might add value in expected and unexpected ways? There was a general sense that we know very little in this regard.

There’s a lot more to say about the day’s proceedings, but the above points give a pretty good glimpse into the general tenor of the day. I’m now interested to see what use JISC intends to make of these outputs. The ‘what next?’ question now hangs rather heavily.