At the top of the main library web page we have updated the “Search the Catalog” feature with WorldCat Local. Now, to use the many new features of WCL, you no longer need to go to sbts.worldcat.org, but you can navigate to our web page, type your search terms, and you will be taken directly to WCL to see your search results.
If you’ve had a chance to explore WorldCat Local, we would love to hear what you think. Email us your thoughts at email@example.com.
While perusing your search results in WorldCat Local (WCL), inevitably you will want more information about a particular item. For example, say you run a search on the keywords “church history reformation.” The second result is The Reformation: How a Monk and a Mallet Changed the World. You notice that this title is a book held in the SBTS Library, and you want to know more about this particular item. Clicking the title takes you to the detailed information about this item.
There are so many options on this screen that I’m going to divide covering it into several posts. Let’s just start with what we see above.
The top of the window presents the options that are common to every WCL page: Home, Search, SBTS Library, and account sign-ins. The search box is underneath these options, allowing you to run a new search from the detailed view screen. This option is very helpful if after looking at a few of the search result details you realize you need to change your search. Rather than having to click to go to a search page, you can initiate a new search from here. If you want more options, you can also select Advanced Search from the search box as well as the scope of your search (only our library or all WorldCat libraries).
Beneath the Search Box we find the general information about this book. The cover art (if available) makes it easy to identify what we’re looking at, and the title is in bold across the top of this section, with the author, publication information, and format below.
In the box on the far right, we see a list of subjects related to our search. These subjects are Library of Congress Subject Headings, and clicking one of these links will run a search for all items in our library under that subject heading. Clicking on Similar Items will take us to the bottom of the page to a banner showing us related books. Each item identifies the nature of the similarity above the cover art, here that these books are by the same author.
Above the title and “More like this” box are several links.
A link to return to the list of search results is on the far left. Next is a link to Cite this item. Clicking this link brings up a display allowing you to view various citation formats and copy them. In the screenshot below, we have selected Turabian. Notice also that you can export a citation to either RefWorks or EndNote using the links at the bottom of the display. If you use citation management software, the Cite link is a powerful tool for building a bibliography.
The Print link simply prints the contents of the page you are viewing. The E-mail link allows you to email yourself this reference’s information. The email that is sent is nicely formatted and includes call number, location, and availability information. This is especially helpful if you have a mobile device where you can check your email. Rather than writing down a list of items, you can simply email them to yourself, see which ones are available and where they are located, and go find them.
The “Add to list” link enables you to save this item to a list in your WorldCat account. You need to be signed in to use this feature (if you are not signed in, clicking this link will bring up a display prompting you to do so). The nice thing about WCL’s list functionality is that you can add items to your lists without leaving the detailed view page. All the options you need are presented in a small display window. Adding items to a list is also helpful when you are going to use them in your research and want to create a bibliography. I’ll talk more about lists later, but for now, let me note that you can export entire lists to citation management software with a single click.
If you want to bookmark or share an item, you can do that as well. Clicking on the link brings up a display with ten of the most popular sharing options, as well as a “More” option in case your service isn’t listed and you want to see the full range of services. Finally, Permalink displays a permanent link to the detailed view of the item.
This post is already pretty long and we’ve barely started covering all the options on this page! We’ll look at some other options in the detailed view tomorrow. In the meantime, please try it out for yourself and let us know what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org. We want to hear what you think about our new search engine and interface.
A significant improvement in WCL over our classic OPAC is the way in which search results are delivered. The search results screen resembles the design of online retailers such as Amazon.com, providing an intuitive place to begin sifting through works that relate to your research topic.
The improvements in WCL are more than merely aesthetic; they extend to the usefulness of the results themselves. Our classic OPAC would return results sorted in descending order by publication date and author. While this could be modified to return results by relevancy ranking or other sorting options, it is not the most intuitive way to display search results. Moreover, the relevancy rankings were sometimes suspect. For example, a search for 1 Peter sorted by rank in the classic OPAC returns as the top hit a work from 1641 entitled Two Looks over Lincolne. It’s not immediately evident what, if anything, this work has to do with 1 Peter. The first item that is clearly related to 1 Peter in our search results is ranked third in the list. When you run the same search on WCL, the first ten items are all obviously related to 1 Peter. Nine of them are commentaries on the epistle, and one of them is a monograph focusing on particular themes in 1 Peter. WCL also provides the flexibility to change the sorting method of your search results. You can sort by author, date of publication, or title as well as relevance. On the level of search results, WCL is a vast improvement over the classic OPAC.
The search results screen of WCL also helps you drill down into the search results to find exactly what you need. A search for 1 Peter returns over 3,700 items held at our library. How do you determine which items are useful and which ones are irrelevant? On the left-hand side of the search results are suggestions to further refine your search.
If your research involved determining how 1 Peter was presented in children’s literature, you could click on the link “Juvenile” under Audience to see the 24 items in that category. If you need to find journal articles, under Format you could click “Articles” to see the 304 articles your search found (many of which have full text available, but that’s for another blog entry). These suggestions are helpful when you are beginning with a broad topic and need to narrow it into something manageable. They’re also helpful to get an overview of the literature available. For example, you can quickly see what authors have written the greatest number of works on your subject, which could lead you to a new helpful source of inquiry previously unknown to you.
Two other items on the search results screen deserve mention. The first is the ability to save a search. For certain research projects you might run the same search several times, and WCL allows you to save searches to make it easier to re-run the exact same search multiple times. The second is the ability to create a list of items returned in your search results. I’ll talk about that more in an upcoming post. Note that both of these features require you to have a free WorldCat account so WCL can store your searches and lists for you.
If you haven’t had a chance to use WCL yet, test it out and let us know what you think! For feedback please email us at email@example.com. We trust these improvements will help you be more efficient and productive in your research tasks.« Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 Next »