July 23, 2008

Bibliocommons Goes Live!

Filed under: Uncategorized — tsladmin @ 7:56 am

I blogged about Beth Jefferson’s Bibliocommons project last year, impressed with her goal of creating a library catalog interface from scratch that is focused on users and integrates community and social pieces around the content, rather than tacking them on here and there. I also showed some screenshots of the beta version in a presentation I did at Computers in Libraries this past spring in an attempt to highlight how things like reviews, tagging, and community could actually work in a library catalog if they weren’t an afterthought.
So it’s with great excitement that I read in Library Journal that the first installation of Bibliocommons is now live as the OPAC for the Oakville, Ontario, library in Canada. There is much to explore here, and I need to get in and see if anything has changed since the beta, but my favorite part is still the catalog home page that shows actual users on it.

OPL Bibliocommons catalog home page

As I noted in my CiL talk, it’s refreshing just to see a catalog I could log in to with a username instead of a barcode – what a novel idea! Don’t even get me started on the fact that the interface includes terms like “connect,” “network,” and “trusted sources.” So much good stuff here, though – ratings, tags, lists, users, comments, recommendations, faceted browsing, contextual help, natural language (not jargon), user-based age ratings, “share with a friend” links, similar titles, a shelf browser with cover images, and the ability to get rewards for adding content to the catalog. I love that I didn’t have to dig deeply into the catalog to start finding user-generated content, as I often have to do in other OPACs when I need an example.

OPL Bibliocommons detailed record

There’s even a contest right now to help them gather feedback from users (with an awesome twist on the prize), not that they need this based on the beta, where users contributed far more content than anticipated.

OPL contest for feedback about the new Bibliocommons interface

There are more screenshots available here, but I can’t encourage you strongly enough to just go play with this catalog on your own to see just how different it is from yours. Even better, this interface can run over any vendor’s system, so adoption isn’t limited and libraries don’t have to start over from scratch.
I will definitely continue following Bibliocommons closely, and I hope Beth will be able to give a few more talks or write more articles about the project to keep us update to date on usage of this great new product. Congratulations to Beth and her team for getting a solid product with lots of potential out the door, and kudos to the Oakville Public Library folks for implementing it. This is definitely one to watch, and I know I’ll be posting more about it in the future.


  1. Jenny,
    Thanks for the update. I will be eager to see some in-depth compare/contrast pieces on this vs. Aquabrowser, for example.

    Comment by Nathan — July 24, 2008 @ 10:09 am

  2. […] Bibliocommons Goes Live! – Homegrown public catalog […]

    Pingback by Friday Link Round Up « ellie <3 libraries — July 25, 2008 @ 8:16 am

  3. […] Es gibt eine neue OPAC-Software! Wechsle zu den Kommentaren (abgelegt in der Kategorie Dinge, über die sich nur Eingeweihte entzücken können.) […]

    Pingback by Es gibt eine neue OPAC-Software! « Nur mein Standpunkt — July 25, 2008 @ 5:22 pm

  4. So, this was interesting…we’ve been looking at options and so was very interested in this information and decided to take a quick test drive –
    I tried looking up “Harry Otter” on the bibliocommons search. It found nothing. Same for title (as they don’t use browse).
    I then went to their old catalog (link is on the bottom right of the new catalog) – did the same search and succeeded if I moved to a regular title (browse) search.
    AquaBrowser did a bit better as it included a link to the word “Potter” as well as “Hogwarts.” However, many people would click onto “Potter” and find a variety of items about potters before finding a Harry Potter book. I still wouldn’t call it a great success as it focuses on the individual word and expects user skill to either retype the original query or find the best word to get the most hits.
    The thing is, there are sites that can succeed with the above search – both Barnes & Nobles and Amazon.com quickly jumped to “Harry Potter” despite our searches for “Harry Otter” and “Harry Poter.”
    So, why can’t the Library catalogs handle this? Or are there some out there?

    Comment by Elena — July 28, 2008 @ 11:52 am

  5. […] die zij online plaatste omdat BiblioCommons toe nog in de testfase verkeerde. En nu lees ik bij Jenny dat Bibliocommons live is gegaan. In Canada, bij de Oakville Ontario […]

    Pingback by Bibliocommons live als catalogus voor de Oakville - Ontario bibliotheek in Canada | Moqub's bibliotheek van dingen — August 2, 2008 @ 1:59 pm

  6. […] Recent public urls tagged “cil” → Bibliocommons Goes Live! […]

    Pingback by Recent URLs tagged Cil - Urlrecorder — September 5, 2008 @ 12:00 am

  7. […] BiblioCommons Goes Live, un post sul blog The Shifted Librarian in cui si indicano le principali novità e alcuni screenshot. The Shifted Librarian si era occupato già in passato del progetto di Beth Jefferson […]

    Pingback by Biblioteche, social opac e soci: BiblioCommons « Cultural Heritage E-Libraries and Archives — September 25, 2008 @ 3:49 am

  8. […] The Shifted Library-n* csíptem a hírt, miszerint a Bibliocommons, amely gyakorlatilag a könyvtári gyűjteményekre […]

    Pingback by Bibliocommon at élet és könyvtár — October 7, 2008 @ 4:40 am

  9. Pleased to say that Edmonton Public Library is live on Bibliocommons. We serve 800,000 citizens, 1.8 million items, 500,000 titles, 10 million+ annual circulation. We are the first Sirsi Symphony library on Bibliocommons and we and most of our customers are loving it!
    Spelling assistance is certainly part of the current Bibliocommons, e.g.
    Keyword search results for…
    Harry Otter
    Did you mean harry potter (189 results)?
    Keyword search results for…
    Harry poter
    Did you mean harry potter (189 results)?
    Keyword search results for…
    margret attwood
    Did you mean margaret atwood (151 results)?

    Comment by peter schoenberg — September 23, 2009 @ 8:43 pm

  10. […] [lire] [lire] […]

    Pingback by BiblioCommons « pintiniblog — January 13, 2010 @ 7:24 am

  11. […] to Jenny Levine at The Shifted Librarian and Norman Oder at Library Journal, the companies first installation was at the Oakville, Ontario […]

    Pingback by Oceanside, CA Installation for BiblioCommons Officialy Launched a Few Weeks Ago; Coming Soon to Boston Public Library « ResourceShelf — July 11, 2010 @ 8:35 pm

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