The future of the OPAC

Gave a small talk today about the future of the OPAC at Gentofte Bibliotekerne. The talk was mainly about my ideas for future library services.

Primo, Arena and EasyOPAC all did presentations of their products too. However, they really didn’t provide any perspectives on the future of the OPAC, but rather tried to pitch their existing products the best they could – as such, they all gave presentations of their upcoming search engines (ARENA in offline slide mode).

Overall, it seemed that the audience was quite confused about what the differences between products were and especially how to choose between them. Also, the open source concept was a bit vague – especially when it came to the question about what you get with Summa and how much you have to do yourself to get up and running.

In addition, it was really striking to see how alike all the presented search engines were both in terms of page structure and layout, and in terms of content and addons. Clearly, people really have been stealing from each other along the way – mostly from Summa, of course – but I was still amazed to see how little difference there actually were between products.
On the positive side, though, I interpret this as a big pat on the shoulder to Summa: it shows that we have been making the right interface decisions.

Afterwards, I was told that the audience they had enjoyed my little talk and that it had been uplifting to hear things from a different perspective – a helicopter perspective, as one person labelled it.

I had also brought our Summa sweets along. Unfortunately, they had all melted on the train and were inseparable from the napkins in which they were wrapped. (Note to self: do not wrap Summa sweets in napkins). Luckily I could show them the sweets photo Jens took yesterday.

Download my presentation. (5 MB pdf). Its also over at SlideShare.

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