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Local touch and global reach: The next generation of network-level information discovery and delivery services in a digital landscape

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Purpose ‐ Technology changes swiftly and the traditional library online public access catalog (OPAC) is in danger of becoming irrelevant as more users rely on network-level search engines such as Google and Google Scholar to search for information resources. This paper seeks to explore the next-generation discovery and delivery solutions that are designed to adapt to changing user expectations in the Web 2.0 environment. It aims to examine the current trends in which libraries are partnering with vendors to promote their value-added services to library users, and are making their collections more visible in a global digital landscape. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The paper begins with an overview of current library catalogs and then introduces some emerging products focusing on discovery and delivery that affect the value of libraries as they present their collections and provide services to a new generation of library users. Case studies are presented to illustrate trendy features of next-generation catalogs as well as the challenges that the new tools bring to libraries as they work toward providing users with richer discovery experiences and greater delivery of content beyond local collections. Findings ‐ The paper identifies major problems with libraries' existing OPACs as well as challenges of implanting new discovery tools to meet the demands of today's network users. Practical implications ‐ The paper suggests that libraries must become more responsive and adaptable to remain sustainable, relevant, and competitive in the new environment. Originality/value ‐ The paper presents an up-to-date account of the state of next-generation library catalogs used in American libraries.
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Keywords: Academic libraries; Internet; Online catalogues; Search engines; Technology led strategy

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 2, 2009

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