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e
X
tensible
C
atalog

Survey Report

July 13, 2007






















By Nancy Fried Foster and Ryan Randall

River Campus Libraries

University of Rochester

Rochester, NY 15627
-
0055


Contact: nancy.foster@rochester.edu




eXtensible Catalog Survey Report


1
/
13


Introduction

As part of Phase 1

of the eXtensible Catalog (XC) project,
we conducted a survey

of prospective
library users

to gauge interest in the XC syst
em and readiness to implement
it.
We conducted the
survey in the
winter and
spring of 2007.

We wanted to find

out what systems surve
y respondents currently use for various purposes,
from their integrated library systems to course and content management systems, institutional
repositories, and so on. The purpose of this information was to help us architect the XC system
to integrate wel
l with the best possible range of other systems.

We also asked about programming ability and experience in implementing open
-
source software
in order to design an implementable, usable system.

And we asked about metadata standards, in
order
anticipate and
allow for a wide variety of metadata
-
related practices and needs.

The survey was sent first to a representative of each library included in the XC Partner Meeting.
The results helped us plan for the meeting and make sure that the survey worked in the way w
e
planned.

After the XC Partner Meeting, we invited an additional group of libraries to participate
in the survey. We included academic and public libraries of medium to large size, as well as
special collections and libraries outside of the US.

We adminis
tered the survey using SurveyMonkey (
www.surveymonkey.com
). Our response rate
was about one in four.

In this report, we present the findings from our survey, which we have used in developing an
architecture and project plan for XC Phase 2.


eXtensible Catalog Survey Report


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Current Systems

OPAC Currently Used

Of the 66 respondents who ident
ified their system
, 21
use some version o
f Voyager

and 18

use
an Innovative Interfaces pr
o
duct. Another 11 respondents

report

that they use Aleph and
nine
that

they use Sirsi. Other named systems are Hori
zon, Evergreen, and
GEAC Advance. Two
respondents

use a locally developed system.

With few exceptions, respondents are

not happy with their OPACs
.
Fifty
-
one respondents

do
not love their OPACs, some expressing frustration or even outrigh
t hostility. Four r
espondents
do love their OPACs and six

are neutral.

Top Issues with Currently Used OPACs

The top issues expressed in these complaints are…



Difficulty of customization (42 instances)



Inadequacy of search functions (31 instances)



Opacity of results and lack
of grouping or faceting (27 instances)



Limitations of the user interface (16 instances)



Lack of Web 2.0 functionality (9 instances)



Backend problems (8 instances)



Lack of integration with databases or other systems (8 instances)

There are also
multiple

com
plaints about…



Lack of access to data (7 instances)



Difficulty finding journals and the articles in them (6 instances)



Lack of updates (7 instances)



Lack of an API (application programming interface) (6 instances)



Usability problems (6 instances)

“Dream” S
ystem

When asked which commercial catalog product they would buy if money were no object,
respondents clearly favored Endeca (17 instances).

Other popular choices were III Encore and
Millennium (7 instances) and Aquabrowser (6 instances).

Fewer respondents

chose Evergreen (4
instances), Google (3 instances), and Primo (3 instances).

Products that were chosen least were
Aleph (2 instances), Talis’
s

new product

(2 instances), WorldC
at (2 instances), Sirsi (1 instance),
and Amazon (1 instance).

Amazon’s progra
mming was even more popular in the respondents’

eXtensible Catalog Survey Report


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comments than in their selections, perhaps
because

it is not commercially available (3
comments).

W
hen asked whether they would be likely to try an alternative, open
-
source user interface that
promised to sol
ve most of their OPAC problems and that would work alongside their existing
ILS, the response was overwhelmingly positive.

Sixty responses were positive and four were
negative.

Positive responses included some who are developing or already implementing
alt
ernative interfaces. Interestingly, the most positive responses come from institutions that have
ample but not generous in
-
house design and development programs. In other words, XC is
likely to hold most appeal to the wide range of “average” libraries, as
opposed to those special
few libraries that already have the resources to tweak their existing products.

The respondents’ biggest concern was with the new interface’s ease of use, installation, and
maintenance, a concern commonly voiced by respondents wit
h limited IT resources (6
instances).

Other reservations were over the acquisitions branch of the libra
ry being willing to
use an open
-
source product subsequent to their testing it (3 instances) and reservations over
support issues or the ability to back o
ut changes if
they were unhappy with the open
-
source
product (3 instances).

One such respondent clearly stated that that the presence of paid support
staff and an active user commun
ity would be a deciding factor.


eXtensible Catalog Survey Report


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Features

and Usability

When asked to evalu
ate a range of new OPAC features, the two most popular features were
:



A
bility to work alongside the respondents’ existing library servers to provid
e new
features to end users



F
aceted

search interface

Other popular features were
:



I
ntegrated user interface t
hat searches across digital and non
-
digi
tal resources
simultaneously



Google
-
like search box wi
th no need to select an index



“Did you mean…” spelling correctio
n


Many respondents were also interested in seeing
:



F
lexible ways to view search results, includin
g relevance,

popularity, or availability



S
earch system that produces better results f
or simple keyword searches

The full list of features, along with the number of “votes” each feature received, follows.

New OPAC Feature

Response
Total

Works alongside you
r existing library servers (catalog, metsearch, OpenURL
link resolver, authentication server, repository, course management system) to
provide new features to end users

578

Faceted search interface

545

Integrated user interface that searches across digit
al and non
-
digital resources
(books, articles, digital repositories, DVDs and more) at the same time

497

Google
-
like search box with no need to select an index

472

“Did you mean…” spelling correction

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整e.

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-
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New OPAC Feature

Response
Total

Browseable lists of content (for example, eJournals, Databases, new books,
and so on)

248

Display of the most relevant fields for different media on results screens

194

Advanced search options made
easier to use

177

User
-
defined email notifications

161

User
-
defined communities with custom views

111

Authoring and collaborative environment for the creation and use of scholarly
content

81

Personal showcase pages for institutional/faculty
-
created con
tent

79

When asked whether they regularly conduct
usability testing

in their library,
more than half
(
56
%
)

of respondents answered yes.

When asked whether they had done user research aside from usability testing, the most common
response was that they had

done focus groups for various reasons (8
instances
). The next most
commonly performed forms of user research were search log analysis (4
instances
) and
participation in LibQual (3
instances
).

Other types of research were user behavior, needs,
expectations
, and satisfaction, orientation surveys of users’ previous library experience,
interviews of faculty cyber
-
infrastructure needs, exit surveys, and space use surveys.

One
respondent additionally uses metrics to measure use of their web pages and has recentl
y
implemented the American Customer Satisfaction Index for its website.


eXtensible Catalog Survey Report


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Metadata

Current and Planned Metadata Schemas

Respondents were asked what metadata schema
s

they currently use or plan to use in the near
future for their
general non
-
digital collectio
ns
.

MARC21 was clearly the most popular (58
instances
).

The next most popular were MARCXML (19
instances
), Dublin Core (19
instances
),
and EAD (
18
instances
).

The two most popular metadata schemas for respondents’
specialized non
-
digital collections

are E
AD
(
46
instances
) and MARC21 (45
instances
). Dublin Core (21
instances
), MARCXML
(17
instances
), VRA Core (10
instances
) and MODS (9
instances
) were the other c
ommonly
used metadata schemas.

Fo
r their
institutional repositories
, respondents use Dublin Core

most commonly (42
instances
).

The second tier of schemas u
sed for institutional repositories

includes MODS (22
instances
),
METS
(20
instances
), and EAD (19
instances
).

Other commonly used schemas are
MARCXML (15
instances
), PREMIS (15
instances
), MARC21 (
12 responses
), and VRA Core
(10
instances
).

For their
other digital collections
, respondents favor Dublin Core (39
instances
) as their
metadata schema.

Other popular schemas are EAD (33
instances
), MODS (29
instances
),
MARC21 (25
instances
), and METS (23
i
nstances
).

Respondents use or plan to use

a variety of
other metadata schema
s
.

The most common is
MARCXML (14
instances
), c
losely followed by Dublin Core
, EAD,
METS,

and

PREMIS (12
instances

each
), and MODS (11
instances
).

Many responding libraries indicat
ed that they expect to increase their use of non
-
MARC 21
metadata within the next three years.

They plan to

move away from home
-
grown schemas
toward using accepted, robust

standards such as METS, MODS, MADS, PREMIS, EAD, VRA
Core, and

Dublin Core.


Several

responding libraries mentioned that they

plan to

move toward
using a wider variety of metadata schemas in the near future, and will focus on

using

XML
-
based
schemas to facilitate interopoerability and metadata harvesting.

Individual respondents also
menti
oned an interest in the potential use of

RDF, MPEG21
-
DIDL, EAC (Encoded Archival
Context), and PatREST (for social metadata).


Respondents favored using METS for storing digital objects (23
instances
)
.

When asked what metadata schemas they use for purpose
s besides resource discovery, such as
preservation and rights management
, many respondents report that they use PREMIS (18
instances
)
, followed by

METS (7
instances
).


When asked if they re
use any other
descriptive metadata from other sources
, respondents
most commonly report using MARC21 (7
instances
).

Other sources are ONIX (4
instances
), DC
and

and MODS (3
instances

apiece).


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Only a few

libraries
provided information

regarding changes to their use of

descriptive
metadata

from other sources over the next 2
4 months.

Those that did respond mentioned
obtaining more descriptive MARC metadata from vendors, such as YBP and Serials Solutions,
and

from publishers and aggregators for the resources contained within their products.

Syndetic
Solutions, as a source for
enriched descriptive metadata, was also mentioned.

Several libraries
expressed an interest in using ONIX data from publishers as a source for descriptive metadata,
and

commented that they expect to be ingesting metadata in multiple formats in the near futu
re.

One
respondent

comment
ed

that "Re
-
use of existing metadata and transformation of

metadata
from one format to another will become commonplace and routine."

The clear majority of respondents use
OCLC’s Connexion

client or browser (44
instances
).

Implemen
tation

Respondents were asked
about

their
experience with open
-
source software
.

All of those who
answered had installed open
-
source software in their library (62
instances
; 6 skipped this
question
).

Those who have experience with open
-
source software tent
to install it frequently
,
with many having installed software within the last year (18
instances
).

Of these 18
, three

respon
dents had done so
the

day
of the survey
and three

with
in the previous week.

Another five

respondents had installed open
-
source softw
are in their libraries

during 2006, and
three

had
done so in 2004 or 2005.

Commonly installed open
-
source software includes DSpace, Drupal,
Luc
ene, various wikis, and dotProject.

The
installation of the open
-
source software

was most commonly done either by

the library’s
IT department (12
instances
) or the library staff (9
instances
).

Occasionally the installation was
performed by

software programmers or developers (6 instances)

or by
the university’s IT
department (5
instances
)
.

The technological infrastruc
ture of the libraries was generally
under control of the libraries

themselves (50
instances
). It was under control of a central ITS department in o
nly a few cases
(7
instances
).

The respondents whose IT is centralized outside of the library were asked what

issues

might
arise with regards to implementing and working with an open
-
source library
-
centric application
like XC.

Common issues were staff availability, server access, and dev
elopment issues, each cited
by two

respondents.

Other issues were security, e
xpertise, central support for specific
applications, storage space, and coordinating the installation of securi
ty patches across
departments.

When asked what
internal obstacles

to downloading, installing, and using a product like XC
they could anticipate a
t their institution, the most common concerns were personnel availability
for installation and maintenance (7 instances) and lack of resources to customize the product (6
instances).

Time (5 instances) and expertise/training (4) were the next most common c
oncerns.

After that came access/authorization, performance load/need for dedicated servers, resistance
to something new, and security (3 instances each).

Platform and dependencies issues were also
co
mmon (3 instances)
.

Compatibility issues and lack of admi
nistrative understanding of the
reinstallation’s priority were other common

concerns (2 instances each).


eXtensible Catalog Survey Report


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A

majority of respondents said that they would want to
build additional applications

on XC’s
platform beyond the supplied user interface (54
instances
)
.

Nine

responde
nts skipped this
question, and five

directly said they would not

build

additional applications.

The additional applications that respondents are most commonly interested in building on the
XC platform are c
ourse management integration

and fe
derated searching (3
instances

apiece
).

Integration with existing library resources or campus authentication systems were also common
potential applications (2
instances
), with respondents considering integration with existing home
grown e
-
reserves, Open U
RL, and ERMS systems, with Sakai and other systems, with ILL, e
-
journals, and image databases, and with campus authentication and related customization based
on the identity of user population.

Customization in other ways was also a common interest,
with r
espondents desiring to make custom end
-
user interfaces to non
-
MARC databases,
personalized collections and interfaces, customized ILL, e
-
journals, databases/Open URL, and
image databases.

Specialized subject portals were also considered a potential develop
ment, such
as pulling together digital sources or giving different faces or catalogs for different media types.

Respondents were also interested in collaboration tools, widgets, request/delivery services for
remote storage, syndication of content in other
discovery environments, linking with CMS,
linking with their own digital repository ERM module, web
-
based app
lication
s for searching,
instruction, and researching, creating new mash
-
ups as needed, leveraging content of objects in
addition to their descript
ion, data mining, statistical reporting, and an OAI data provider.

Also,
one respondent would

give XC the ability to search three

catalogs at three diff
erent
locations

as
if they were a single catalog
.

This respondent hoped that this would be a built
-
in fe
ature because
they were certain that programming this feature themselves would take a long time d
ue to their
limited resources.

Libraries report their
highest level of programming proficiency

in XML, CSS, PHP, PERL,
Java, Javascript, and XSLT. The have the

largest

number of programmers

in CSS, XML,
PHP, PERL and Javascript, with strength in XSLT, Java, and C++.

M
ost respondents (81%)
believe that they will be able to dedicate
enough resources

to
download, install, and su
pport XC. In addition,
about half (53
%) would have the resources to
customize the interface or build new user features and
about a third
(35%) would even consider
increasing their programming staff
to

do this
.


eXtensible Catalog Survey Report


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Technical Requirements

When asked whether their library department had any
platfo
rm preferences
, the most common
responses were Solaris (24
instances
) and Linux (20
instances
).

The next

most common were
RedHat ES

and Wi
ndows (11
instances

each)
.


As for
hardware
, the most popular was Sun (16
instances
), followed by Dell (13
instances
).

The
next level of popularity included HP/Compaq (5
instances
), Apple
and IBM RS6000 (3
instances

each
).


For
databases
, respondents favored MySQL (27
instances
) or Oracle (26
instances
).

These were
distantly followed by Postgres (6
instances
), MS SQL Serv
er (4
instances
), and Sybase (1
incident).


Other common preferences include JAVA (10
instances
), Tomcat (6
instances
), Apache
and

PERL (5
instances

each
)

and PHP, Spring
,
and
Ruby on Rails (3
instances

each
)
.

The two most commonly used
database servers

ar
e MySQL (96%) and Oracle (79
%).

These
were followed by Microsof
t SQL (50%) and PostgreSQL (31
%).

DB2 and Sybase each we
re
used by
9% of respondants
.

The majority of respondents would not need to display a u
ser interface in a language

other
than English

(67
%).

Of those who needed non
-
English language support, the top need was for
Spanish (12
instances
).

CJK (Chinese, Japanese, and Korean) was the second most needed
selectio
n.

These languages were sepa
rately indicated as well, with four respondents needing
Ch
inese, three

needing Korean, and
two

needing Japanese.

Other common language requests
include Arabic (5
instances
), French (4
instances
), Hebrew (2
instances
), and “All Including
Non
-
Roman” (2
instances
).

Respondents indicated that French was mandatory for

Canadian
Government institutions, which by law must provide services in both English and French.

Single
responders additionally needed Cyrillic, Danish, German, Italian, Tag
alog, and Vietnamese.

When asked which
repository or eprint systems

t
hey use, the
respondents cite DS
pace most
commonly (46
%).

Other popu
lar systems were ContentDM (34
%), Sakai

(21%), Fedora and
Greenstone (19
%

each
).

When asked what if they need their existing
institutional repository

to do anything that it does
not already do, the lis
t of new features included support for long
-
term archiving, an interface
that is easy to customize and will not require revisiting with each upgrade of the software, the
ability to offer different levels of access to materials in a manner that is easy to s
et up and
maintain, accept and deliver a variety of interactive materials such as websites, web page capture
and archiving, management interface, security access, control provisioning, statistics for
search/indexing/reports/usage, streaming content from re
pository, versioning
(editing/changing records after submission), integration with all other applications, and
integration with UMI for theses and dissertations.

Many respondents also desired various
improvements, such as the search interface, ingest workf
lows, access layer, federated sear
ching,
and the user interface.


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The most commonly used
authentication system

is LDAP (83
%).

The second most common
wer
e Ezproxy (70
%) and VPN (60%)
.

After those, Shibboleth (38
%) and

CAS (10
%) were most
common. Fifty
-
six pe
rcent

of respondents said that a single authentication system was not used
across their catalog, interlibrary loan, and IR systems.

Of those 44 percent

who did use a single
system, 65 percent

said that it is the sam
e system that the campus uses.

Metalib (E
xLibris) is the most commonly used
metasearch software
, with about half (54
%
)

of res
ponders using it.

WebFeat (22
%) and Serials Solutions Central Searc
h (19
%) are the
next most commonly u
sed software, with MetaFind (5
%) and

LibraryFind (3
%) far behind.

Of
those respondents who use an
open URL resolver
, the ma
jority use SFX (Ex Libris)
(62
%).

The next most commonly used are Article
Linker (Serials Solutions) (26
%)

and
WebBridge (III) (6
%).

Repondents were asked what types of
add
-
ons

to their library catalog
they currently
provided.

Of these, the most commonly reported were electronic re
sources management
software (73
%) and serials solutions and like products
(58
%).

Other popular add
-
ons were
offsite s
torage management software (23%), cover images (21
%), sched
uli
ng or calendaring
software (13
%), and user interface add
-
ons like Grok
ker, Primo, or Aquabrowser (10
%).

Others specified in the comments section were electronic re
serves and tables of contents.

Respondents were asked if they routinely send copies of the
ir bibliographic and holdings data
to a
regional database or consortium
, and if so, to briefly name the ste
ps in the technical
process.

Nine

respondents did not send their data elsewhere, and 28 did.

Of those 2
8, 15 sent
their data to OCLC, five to INNREAC
H, and two

to CDL.

The data
were

sent in a variety of
ways, including hourly batch exports, exposing EAD finding aids and digital content via
OAI
-
PMH, flagging the records to send using a local a
pplication that writes record ID
s to
Oracle tables, processes

that extract the MARC records using a combination of local
programs (to update the Oracle tables) and Voyager programs (to extract the MARC
records), transferring by FTP, and running PERL scripts and sending that to WRLC.

Time
intervals included real
-
time
, hourly, nightly, weekly, and when new items are entered into the
home library’s catalog
.

When asked what
digital library products

they used besides their ILS, respondents largely
reported using course
management systems.

WebCT (34%) and Blackboard (37
%)
were the
mos
t common of these.

Drupal and Sakai (16
%

each
) were als
o commonly mentioned.

Respondents were asked what
personalization

features they have currently implemented in
their library websites. The ability to notify patrons when new material matchin
g a patron’s
interests (saved searches) is cataloged was the single

most common feature, with four
instances.

Of these, three notify patrons by email and one

by RSS alerts.

Personalization and
circulation information were other common features.

Additional
features included tagging,
reviews, rating, and commenting on items, as well as having personalized e
-
reserves
.

When asked how they are using
RSS feeds

in their library websites, the largest group of
respondents said they were using it for news feeds or ev
ents (12
instances
).

Second most
common was the use of RSS to inform patrons of new items being added to the catalog (9

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instances
).

Other uses include publicizing library hours, publicizing when open
-
access
research papers have been deposited into an insti
tutional repository, feeding course reserves
into Sakai, using OpenSearch interfaces, for subject guides, an
d for a database of databases.

Respondents were asked how they are making applications that focus on
cell phone or PDA

users.

Many make the library
catalog accessible, with 3 respondents using III’s “AirPac” and
two

reporting that their library’s ILS makes a stripped down version of the online catalog and
stripped down webpage with library hours or other useful information.

Other uses include
RSS feed
s for searches, renewal of books, and using SMS to get ca
talog records to cell
phones.

Two

respondents also mention that their health science libraries make resources
available for cell/PDA users, including using PubMed for handhelds, WISER for first
respo
nders in hazardous materials
instances
, and AIDSinfo for PDA tools.

One respondent
additionally mentions using iPod for distributing course reserves material, and one
respondent ment
ions
Cocoon
.


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13


Participation


Respondents were asked questions about their
potential participation in XC.



Only a small percentage of respondents (9%)

currently have a contract in place for an
alternative interface to their library resources

and just under

half (
4
5%
)

feel that they will be
under pressure to sign a contract for s
uch an alternative interface within the next 24 months.



Most (92%) would still consider implementing
XC if its support were done by con
tract with
a commercial vender and a
bout two thirds

(67%)

would consider implementing XC if no
support were available.

All respondents

would be willing to implement some change in data
load or metadata workflows in order to gain improved search

capabilities for their users.


Respondents were asked whether they have any concerns that if they installed and ran XC
they might
lose out on anything they currently get form their OPAC vendor because of
contractual obligations.

Most said no (28 respondents).

Five

said they were not sure,
four

said yes,
three

gave conditional answers,
three

said that the loses would be minimal becaus
e
of their high dissatisfaction with their OPAC, and
one

said that they would abide by their
contract.

Concerns were raised over whether or not the vendor could claim that XC interfered
with system functionality, as well as the significant change from havi
ng an even minimally
supported product with defined expectations for problem resolution, upgrades,
enhancements, bug fixes, etc. to an unsupported product.

Respondents also considered the
loss of “24x7” tech support, a defined enhancement request pr
ocess,
and error reporting.