The Web and the OPAC - Creating
(Library) Value in the Age of the
Amazoogles
National Autonomous University of Mexico
9 October 2006
Stuart L. Weibel
Senior Research Scientist, OCLC Research
Visiting Scholar,
University of Washington iSchool
OCLC Research
 Research and
standardization:
• OCLC services
• Membership
• Library evangelism to
the Web community
 Metadata management
 Knowledge organization
 Content management
 Interoperability
 Users and systems
interactions
 ~30 employees
What do we mean by value?
 The Library Business Model
• Make information look free to end users
• Aggregation of public resources for management,
organization, and curation of public content
 The SCOAP (of the) Mission
• Selection
• Collection
• Organization
• Access
• Preservation
 Return on investment
 Return of Patrons
Value Domains
 Societal
• Long term, authoritative curation of the cultural,
technical, and scientific assets of a society
• Different challenges in paper versus electronic
libraries
• Information Neutrality
• Public Trust
 Technical
• Systems for supporting SCOAP activities
• Bookshelves and furniture
• Cataloging (and catalogs)
• Electronic systems
Value Domains
 Societal
• Long term, authoritative curation of the cultural,
technical, and scientific assets of a society
• Different challenges in paper versus electronic
libraries
• Information Neutrality
• Public Trust
 Technical
• Systems for supporting SCOAP activities
• Bookshelves and furniture
• Cataloging (and catalogs)
• Electronic systems
Value Domains (continued)
 Social: So-called Library 2.0 approaches
• Policies and services to promote community engagement
• Recommender Services (reader advisories)
• Ala Nancy Pearl (a real librarian!)?
• People who bought X, also bought Y
(Amazon.com)
• Book Reviews (again, Amazon.com)
• LibraryThing.com
• Tagging – folksonomies: what value?
• Public Bibliography
• What is more important for discovery? A book
review or a MARC record?
• Linking structure among first class objects is a
central feature of the Web
The Nancy Pearl Action Figure
(complete with shushing action!)
Value Domains (continued)
 Social: So-called Library 2.0 approaches
• Policies and services to promote community engagement
• Recommender Services (reader advisories)
• Ala Nancy Pearl (a real librarian!)?
• People who bought X, also bought Y
(Amazon.com)
• Book Reviews (again, Amazon.com)
• LibraryThing.com
• Tagging – folksonomies: what value?
• Public Bibliography
• What is more important for discovery? A book
review or a MARC record?
• Linking structure among first class objects is a
central feature of the Web
Everything 2.0
(Web 2.0, Library 2.0….)
 Bringing people back into the loop through the use of socalled Social Software:
 Andrew McAfee’s SLATES pneumonic:
• Search: Find what you need, enhanced by emergent
description (see tags, below)
• Links: link relationships or link ranking algorithms
• Authoring: Ease of content creation – spare me the
angle brackets, make it bone simple
• Tags: What do my colleagues call this? I bet it works
better than what the IT department calls it
• Extensions: If you thought X was [good | interesting |
important | useful], you might, by extension, find Y so
• Signals: tell me something has changed
Extract (and exploit) value in
structured data
 Holdings are key – who has the item?
 Links to catalogs and virtual reference services
 Enrich the data
• Amazon-like book reviews
• Cover art & table of contents (full text?)
 Controlled vocabularies (esp Medicine, law,
sciences)
 Folksonomies?
 Classification systems
 Authority control
Increase integration across boundaries
 The OPAC is becoming irrelevant for end-users
(but remains a local management tool
 Solution of last resort for users
• OPACs have less functionality than other
alternatives (Amazoogles)
 “Weave libraries into the Web”
• Drive our services into the open Web
• Unplug & Play
• Search engines
• Social software systems
WorldCat in the Open Web
 WorldCat subsets determined by the search engine (not the
complete database)
 On these sites:
 Include either of the following with your search terms:
 Google "find in a library" (include phrasing quote marks)
 Yahoo! site:worldcatlibraries.org (no space after colon)
 English speakers won’t do this… can you imagine speakers
of other languages???
Other WorldCat Partner Sites:
Abebooks (abebooks.com)
Alibris (alibris.com)
Amazon.com (amazon.com)
Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America (abaa.com)
Biblio (biblio.com)
BookPage (bookpage.com)
DirectTextbook (directtextbook.com)
Google Scholar and Google Books (scholar.google.com,
books.google.com)
 Greenwood Publishing Group (greenwood.com)
 HCI Bibliography (hcibib.org)
 Windows Live Academic (academic.live.com)
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Some general principles for technical value
creation in a network environment
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Reduce impediments to search
Increase integration across boundaries
Build Network Effect value
Extract (and exploit) value in structured data
Increase the efficiency of metadata creation
Promote participation
• Book reviews
• Linking
• Recommender systems
Public Bibliography:
 Metadata is expensive
 Cataloging data is important, costly, and ill-suited to public
use (at least for some aspects of public use)
 Mobilizing users to be participants in the creation of
metadata (in the form of book reviews, recommender
services, and linking, either explicit or inferred) is a
potentially rich source of metadata and linking currency
 Amazon is effective at this
 LibraryThing has a strong and growing approach
 Libraries and large cooperative cataloging agencies are thus
far not doing so well.
Book Reviews:
Desirable Characteristics of First Class Objects
 Book Reviews are (should be) stand-alone First Class
Objects:
• Harvestable – findable by search engines on the Web
• Attributable – I want credit…
• Linked appropriately to a persistent catalog such as
World or a national catalog
• Persistently identified (the identifier is stable over time)
• Curated (the content is stable over time)
Link Currency
 Linkages are an important currency on the Web:
• Who links to you
• Who do you link to
 To rise in relevance rankings, library-managed links should be
persistent and of one form:
http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/26160663&referer=brief_results
• http://www.worldcat.org/search?q=083890596X&qt=owc_search
• http://www.worldcat.org/search?q=083890596X
•
•
http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/26160663
 Multiple identifiers are confusing and dilute link currency.
Libraries must compare favorably with related
information experiences that our patrons expect:
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Discovery and recommender services
Web 2.0 social network capabilities
Experiences of comparable commercial service providers
Last-mile delivery capability
Bookstore social experience
• Coffee-shop salons
• People to help us navigate the intricacies of a
complicated knowledge space
 We are offering an experience as well as a service
Stuart L. Weibel
Visit me at:
http://weibel-lines.typepad.com
Contact me at:
[email protected]
Thank you for your
attention
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