February 8th, 2006

searchtools.com

NCSU Adds Faceted Navigation to Library Catalog

The North Carolina State University Library has announced that its OPAC (Online Public Access Catalog) is now powered by Endeca. Traditionally, these catalogs were either homegrown or based on DBMS systems, neither of which were able to provide much context or relevance ranking. </p>

Searching for a very general topic such as civil war (distressingly common) brings up both a list of 9,179 results and two sets of facets: the Library of Congress Subject Headings, and such options as Subject Topic, genre, format, location, region, era, language and author. Each of these has a preview count, so a searcher knows that choosing "History: America" will limit the results to 2,726, while there are only 49 works in Spanish, 5 in the Textiles Library, and 23 written by Stephen Crane. The power of this approach is in exposing the options rather than hiding them behind a form, and this is an excellent implementation of it.

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(link found via pixelcharmer)

Note also: Libraries and Faceted Metadata, a presentation by Avi Rappoport of SearchTools about the likely value of using the faceted metadata approach for library catalogs. From Internet Librarian 2004.