IUG 2001 Conference Proceedings

Table of Contents

Session: I5/N6

OPAC Magic: Pushing the Limits

Coordinator/Presenter:
Peter Murray, University of Connecticut School of Law

Presenter:
John McCullough, Innovative Interfaces


This program featured new possibilities for customizing the WebOPAC. Documentation for using these new commands in the WWWOptions file is available on the CSDirect FAQs on Web OPAC Options. [http://csdirect.iii.com, password required]

I. John McCullough began the session by demonstrating some significant new options.

ASSEARCH extends an Advanced Keyword Search that has zero results. Libraries can tailor this command to try one or more of the following alternatives: AND between terms, OR between terms, stripped field limiters (such as t:xxxx), and truncation of the first term. The order in which the operations are processed cannot be changed. Notes explaining the results of each operation appear in the top left corner (except when there is a direct hit). Audience members suggested the notes be enhanced with color or bolding. An alternative error message screen with suggestions for the searcher is in development.

Z39SEARCH adds a button to search results screens providing the option to go to a locally defined broadcast search; for example, a few other library catalogs. The named resources must be in the Login Administration file. An audience member reported that search results do not display clickable 856 links (a probable bug). Another comment noted that this option preserves the local library's Toplogo and Botlog lines; libraries can ask III to set up a separate WWWOptions file for the Z39 searches to eliminate this.

LOC_<location> provides a clickable location in the item status box on full record displays. The link connects to locally designed html screens that might include maps and collection descriptions. The command line supports left and right truncation wildcards so that one html screen can support several similar locations (LOC_mn*=/screens/maininfo.html for mn, mnfol, mnmus, etc. or LOC_*jv=/screens/juveniles.html for mnjv, arcjv, etc.).

CHECKIN_BGCOLOR and CHECKIN_FONTCOLOR provide the option to change background and font colors in the checkin box and line displays. This might be useful to match the colors used by a local library in the Millennium Serials module.

MEDIA may be used to create another column on search results screens (next to the year) that indicates the material type of each item. It will display plain text if not used with the graphics option described below. Material type is pulled from the bib record, not the item record. Libraries may opt to use Bcodes 1 or 2 instead of material type in the MARC record. The column heading is hard coded to be "medium;" that will become locally customizable.

IMAGE_MATTYPEx provides for displaying graphical icons on search results screens to indicate material type. It cannot be used alone, it must be set up to work with the BRIEF, EXTENDED, or MEDIA WWWOptions commands. CSDirect has graphics available for downloading and libraries with netLibrary capability will have a few ebook icons (including netLibrary's corporate logo) already loaded into the screens directory.

The following are a couple of key points from the lively interaction with the audience about these options. If a library does not want an icon for print books, they could create a "blank" graphic that cannot be seen. For libraries with netLibrary collections - the corporate logo icon is not required, but the @ code for netLibrary ebooks is required to enable the option to "Limit search to netLibrary ebooks." At the present time, there is no option to limit searches to ebooks in general.

II. Peter Murray then highlighted a variety of WWWOptions that may have been overlooked in the recent rapid updating period and provided several useful tips. Details have been omitted from this report; check Peter Murray's notes for further explanation and examples. Notes available at: http://www.pandc.org/peter/presentations/opac-magic/

Browse Options - Libraries have the ability to add additional information from the bib and item records to the default results displays by using the BRIEF and EXTENDED options. In response to audience questions, John McCullough reported that III is working on an enhancement to pull the call number from the item record rather than the bib record. Using the INDEX_EXT command, libraries may select some browse screens to default to the extended display (for example, author browse). The DROP_DOWN command controls search box options on results displays; that is, allowing users to select another search type and search again from the results screen. A request to add checkin record information to displays was welcomed and referred to the enhancements process.

Record Displays - BIBLOC and HOLDINGS_POS permit libraries to customize the order in which fields display in the bib record. BIBLOC places the call number at the top of the display; use with caution as this command will remove the location from the checkin display. HOLDINGS_POS controls which fields display above the holdings; it also controls what appears in the top frame if a library uses frames. Another great enhancement idea: add location to the elements that are controlled by HOLDINGS_POS and then eliminate the BIBLOC command.

Systems Management Tips My Millennium highlights

PATRON_NOTICES permits users to determine whether notices should be delivered by mail, telephone or email (assuming that the library has purchased the telephone notification and/or e-mail notices products). Using MODIFY_PFLDS, libraries can determine which fields in the patron record can be updated by the user. It is especially useful to allow users to add or update their own email addresses. The option to make changes appears on the patron record screen.

The WWWOptions command, MY_WEBPAC=x|Y, permits users to save searches (not citations) in their patron record if they login to their patron record and then choose "Search the Catalog." The companion command, PREF_SEARCHES_P42=10, specifies the patron type allowed to save preferred searches (P42 in this example) and the number of searches (10) that may be saved. The saved search will preserve the basic search and run it again, as requested, but it cannot save limits.

Libraries may ask III to turn on an additional feature that provides e-mail alerts to patrons with saved searches when new items are cataloged. The patron must have an e-mail address in the z field of the patron record. III will provide a second configuration file that specifies the elements and text of the boilerplate e-mail message sent with the new citations. At this time, the citations listed in the message are not hotlinked to the matching opac record. Enable this feature by adding |Y to the WWWOptions command for preferred searches; that is, PREF_SEARCHES_P42=10|Y.

Questions from the audience included concerns about server space; the millennium options are not stored on the OPAC server but in a separate MyMillennium preferences file. We were reminded that none of the millennium options appear unless a user logins in through his or her library account. The timeout feature helps allay concerns over users who walk away from a public computer without logging out; the millennium display always shows "logged in as ." at the top of the screen, as well.


Reporter:
LaVonne Jacobsen, San Francisco State University