OPAC Survey results – part 1

A few hours earlier than planned, but the informal OPAC Survey has now closed. Many thanks to everyone who responded — all 729 of you! 🙂

Here’s how the responses break down by geographical region:

After a few days, I added a question that allowed respondents to identify what type of library they worked for — 233 people answered:

Discounting regions and library types where there were 5 or less responses, here’s how the responses broke down for the first 3 sections of the survey…

1) OPAC Happiness

On a scale of 1 to 10 (where 1 is extremely unhappy and 10 is extremely happy), how happy are you with your OPAC?

2) Cutting Edge or Yesterday’s News?

One criticism of OPACs is that they rarely have cutting edge features (or perhaps even basic features) that our users expect from modern web sites. On a scale of 1 to 10, how well do you think your OPAC meets the needs and expectations of your users?

If “2007” represents a cutting edge OPAC with all the features both you and your users would expect, how far in the past do you feel your current OPAC is?

Have you ever suffered from “OPAC envy” when looking at someone else’s OPAC?

3) Child’s play?

On a scale of 1 to 10 (where 10 is extremely easy), how easy do you find your OPAC is to use?

On a scale of 1 to 10 (where 10 is extremely easy), how easy do you think one of your average users finds your OPAC is to use?

On a scale of 1 to 10 (where 10 is extremely important), how important do you think it is that an OPAC is easy and intuitive to use?

Do you run any face-to-face training or induction/introduction courses on “how to use” the OPAC with your users?

…more results to come tomorrow morning!

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6 comments
  1. I’ve just done back through the responses prior to the addition of the “what type of library” question and, where the respondent answered the library type in their comments, I’ve added that. The total breakdown is now:

    148 – academic
    75 – public
    10 – school/k12
    25 – other
    1 – none

    259 – total

  2. Matt Hamilton said:

    I don’t think asking library folks about their OPAC is very helpful and certainly not unbiased. I’d like to suggest that this amount of energy be spent on asking USERS these questions….

  3. Hi Matt

    Agreed, however the purpose of the survey was specifically to find out what library folk felt about the about their OPACs.

    In particular, I wanted evidence to back up a statement I’m going to make in a presentation at the UK Library & Information Show on Wednesday that most Librarians do indeed think that their “OPAC sucks” (which isn’t necessarily a widely held view in the UK).

    I’m sure I’m not insulting anyone if I say libraries have traditionally assumed that they know best what the user wants. Perhaps that did used to be the case, but these days it’s usually our users who are more tech savvy that we are — they’re in as good a position to teach us new things, as we are to teach them 🙂

    At the end of the day, the “P” in OPAC does stand for “public”, and I’m firmly of the opinion that we should be looking at more ways of empowering our users via the services we provide.

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