What Social Cataloging Means for the OPAC

Social Cataloging websites, particularly LibraryThing for libraries, could be a great way for libraries to add functionality to their catalogs. One of the best enhancements is the recommendations feature. Library catalogs work pretty well for people who have a specific title in mind, but a lot of people got to the library to simply find a good book. This might be easy for people with time and a small enough library to physically browse, but sites like Amazon are increasing the expectations of patrons for immediacy and convenience in online browsing.

As libraries increase their electronic resources, the catalog needs to develop in step. Catalogs can no longer work only in the two dimensions of query and retrieval; they must extend into the third dimension of social integration. Social cataloging increases the ways in which a patron might find useful material. It allows patrons to contribute to, and take away parts of the library, in the forms of reviews and widgets respectively.

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