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Posts by Karen G. Schneider

It's Too Darn Hot: A Curmudgeon's Asides

Submitted by Karen G. Schneider on July 26, 2006 - 10:48pm

This week it's hot as a pistol across the United States, and as I sit in my office without A/C, a feeble fan drying the sweat on my face, I'm grumpy. Grumpy enough to line up a few peeves against the wall and slap them around.

Open-source software
Yes, I know, open source is a saint and you'd let your sister or brother marry it. But I hate the idea that for some librarians if a particular software is open source, hands down, it's the right choice. The right choice is the software that meets the mission. While the principles behind open source are admirable, when an open-source product doesn't meet your library's needs, your first obligation is to your users.
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The Library 2.0 Cafeteria

Submitted by Karen G. Schneider on June 21, 2006 - 11:39am

How OPACs Suck, Part 3: The Big Picture

Submitted by Karen G. Schneider on May 20, 2006 - 9:57am

In my two (Part 1 here, Part 2 here) earlier pieces on this topic, I focused very narrowly on some fairly obvious limitations with online catalogs, limiting my discussion to weaknesses in OPAC searching from the user's point of view.

A tag cloud generated by this post.

There are other issues with online catalogs much bigger and more problematic than search results—problems that can't be addressed by improving relevance ranking or adding spell-check (however valuable those features are to OPACs).


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How OPACs Suck, Part 2: The Checklist of Shame

Submitted by Karen G. Schneider on April 3, 2006 - 2:02pm

Karen G. Schneider head shotIn my first article in this series, I wrassled with the biggest bear in the forest: how most online catalogs lack relevance ranking. That's one big hairy bear, but as some readers pointed out, it's a little forced to pick on relevance ranking, out of the context of all the other important features most online catalogs don't offer—or are features implemented so badly that librarians disable these features rather than further confuse the poor user, who just wants to find a book or DVD, for crying out loud.
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How OPACs Suck, Part 1: Relevance Rank (Or the Lack of It)

Submitted by Karen G. Schneider on March 13, 2006 - 12:28pm

I recently wrote about NCSU adding a search engine to its online catalog. But after talking to librarians who asked me, “So what did they get for doing that?” I realized I need to back-pedal and explain how a search engine makes an online catalog easier to use (or, as Andrew Pace puts it, "Why OPACs Suck").

Cream Rising to the Top
I'll start today with relevance ranking—the building block of search, found in any search engine, from Google to Amazon to Internet Movie Database to little old Librarians' Internet Index. Read More »

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The Revolution Will be Folksonomied

Submitted by Karen G. Schneider on January 16, 2006 - 5:38pm

It was exciting to read Teresa's post about the North Carolina State University (NCSU) Libraries' catalog. This achievement represents a magnificent step forward for integrated library systems, and the NCSU Libraries catalog's rich combination of search and browse, combined with its powerful search engine, stand in silent rebuke to the piteously clunky library systems most libraries pay dearly for because we've never insisted that the catalog could be better than that. Read More »

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January 1, 2007: A Fantasia

Submitted by Karen G. Schneider on January 5, 2006 - 11:29am

Karen Schneider HeadI am seeing some very good summaries about the year behind us—everything from top-ten lists to Roy Tennant's powerful rumination in LJ, "What I Wish I Had Known."

But the date that popped into my head this morning as I huffed on the treadmill, working off the holiday gingerbread while my brain did the thirty-minute free-style, was January 1, 2007. I put myself there and asked, what do I want to look back on for the previous year? While my pudgy legs labored, I vanquished Google, fixed the library catalog, and brought the profession forward thirty years.

2006 in LibraryLand: A Brief History Read More »

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The Katrina Chronicles, Part 1: Overall Tech Assessment

Submitted by Karen G. Schneider on October 17, 2005 - 9:04am

Karen Schneider Head This is the first part in a series of postings about libraries and Katrina. After this post, I'm going to look close up at libraries that were affected by Katrina—either directly, such as the libraries in Mississippi and Louisiana damaged or closed by the storms and flooding, or indirectly, such as the libraries that increased or changed services in response to the sudden "Katrina Diaspora" that swept our country. I have some stories that will confirm your belief in libraries.

But for this post, I'm concentrating on the mile-high view of technology responses to Katrina, and from that perspective, the assessment is often an A for effort, but sometimes a C or lower for outcome. Read More »


Early Pre-Welcome from K.G. Schneider

Submitted by Karen G. Schneider on September 24, 2005 - 4:58pm

Karen Schneider HeadI see we've had a couple of technical problems getting the blog started. This greatly concerns me, because out there in LibraryLand, everything works right the first time, particularly with computers, which are, after all, labor-saving devices.
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