Data Visualization and the OPAC

A chat with Ryan Eby, also an Edward Tufte fan, elicited this line about another reason we continue to struggle with the design of our catalogs:

data isn’t usable by itself
if it was then the OPAC would just be marc displays

And yesterday I was speaking with Corey Seeman about how to measure and use “popularity” information about catalog items. It got me thinking about Flickr’s interestingness metric, which seems to combine the number of times a photo has been “favorited,” viewed, and commented. In a related fashion, I’ve been looking at ways to track the terms people use to find catalog items and use those to help improve search results. A basic form of this is in the OPAC prototype I demonstrated yesterday.

And all of this has me looking forward to Aaron Krowne’s Quality Metrics presentation at code4lib.

library, libraries, opac 2.0, library catalog, popularity, search ranking, data visualization, ryan eby, corey seeman, metrics, search rank, opac, library 2.0

3 thoughts on “Data Visualization and the OPAC

  1. Wow, Casey… Thanks for saving me the airfare to San Antonio – the flickr presentation was AWESOME. I know the answer to this, but just need to ask anyway… this new OPAC’s interface is fully customizable and brandable, yes? Just as important as meeting their navigation and functionality expectations is to orient users with a consistent interface. *gracefully exits soapbox*

  2. Lichen, thank you for asking the question. Why, of course the display is customizable and brandable, and you’ll be able to draw from a huge supply of knowledge and experience when doing it. I’ll have a lot more to say about that in a later post, as I hope to make the whole thing public very soon.

    Also, congratulations on your blog launch. We are all agents of change…one blog at a time.

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