July 23, 2008

Bibliocommons Goes Live!

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.

Be Socia­ble, Share!


  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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