Monday, April 09, 2007

On Line Catalog Enhancements

The Waterloo Public Library WebOPACs (library jargon for On Line Catalog) have recently undergone significant hardware and software upgrades. The City of Waterloo recently provided the library with about a dozen surplus computers that are much faster than the old WebOPACs. As library MIS staff swapped out the old hardware for new, we also greatly expanded the resources available.

Traditionally, WebOPACs have only allowed access to materials in the library collection. Access to other Internet resources was limited to avoid having the machines tied up by other uses when a patron wished to lookup a book title. All of the catalog functionality remains, but users may now use the WebOPAC to access other selected online resources.

Examples include our EbscoHost (search and retrieval of full-text periodicals), Reference USA (phone numbers and addresses), Heritage Quest (genealogy), as well as our online newspapers. The WebOPACs also include links to other local and selected major libraries.

Other enhancements are on the way. We expect to add access to printing in the near future and will enable a link to our Virtual Reference service.

c 2007 Waterloo Public Library

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