Deepening the Conversation

thinking about questions of authority, technology, learning, and 2.0 in academic libraries

Usability wishlist


Thinking like a user, not a librarian:

  • I wish that library catalogs would link together fiction series. This is part of a larger wish for better fiction subject headings, but I want this more.
  • Closely followed by: public libraries (as least PL systems!) buy entire series instead of random titles within series
  • Publishers publish order of series in each book in the series
  • Stepping away from fiction, I don’t understand why publishers do not automatically and without exception list out chapters in edited volumes on the web pages where they advertise and sell those titles.
  • A less imperative wish, but those chapters in edited volumes? list the abstracts on your webpages too! You’ve got ’em, why are you hiding them? Just makes me think you don’t have any faith in the material, and I can look elsewhere for my information needs
  • All those sites in constant beta? Beta means you want feedback for improvement, right? so where are all the impossible to miss feedback buttons? (If you aren’t looking for feedback, don’t call it beta. just call it under-supported)

That’s all for now. But this will probably become a continuing series. Because I always have “why don’t they just…?!?” responses to things.

What do you wish for?


4 thoughts on “Usability wishlist

  1. I wish:

    That OPACS could work like Amazon. Hell, Amazon does it, why can’t we?

    That publishers would restrain themselves from allowing authors to write books in 20+ volume series, because BOY does it piss me off when authors die before they’re done

    That publishers wouldn’t call something a ‘trilogy’ if they know damned well George RR Martin or the chick who wrote the Rhapsody series are going to go well over 3 books. Seriously. This pisses me off to no end when I get 3 books home and find out, surprise! There’s 2 more to the series. Grr.

    That some of my favorite authors (I’m looking at you, Dean Koontz) would figure out how to mix things up a little so I don’t feel like I’m reading the same book every time they put a new work out. Really. I cringe every time I see you taking copycat shortcuts, dude. Your real readers can tell when you’re just recycling stuff. Lee Child has done a pretty good job with his series featuring jack Reacher – other authors could take a lesson.

    That series that purport to have smoking hot romance and tension in them actually got to the sexy parts once in awhile. (I’m lookin at you, Lilith Saintcrow). Five books of tension is not tension at that point, it’s annoying. (Am I the only one who thinks this?)

    That publishing houses that publish trashy romance would put a big, fat shiny sticker on the ones for the Amish and other easily offended folks. Nothing worse than settling in for a trashy romance novel evening and finding out that the biggest thrill is getting to see some lady’s stockinged ankle. Bah!

  2. Well, our OPAC does link series together, though you have to know where to look in the full catalog record to find the link. As Christopher Harris has said, one of the biggest problems with OPACs is that they are designed to link users to MARC records, rather than information a patron might actually want about a book.

    As a public library book purchaser, I often wish that fewer people wrote series books. It’s sometimes hard to keep up with series and extremely difficult to figure out whether to start collecting a series, and sometimes hard to get missing volumes and. . . well, yeah, that’s the librarian side. The user side of me is with you all the way.

  3. Laura — are you saying that your public library catalogs books with the series information?? Not just that it is possible, but that when a book is cataloged, it is somehow connected to the books that came before it in a way that I (as user) could click on something and move (in order) through the available titles in the series???

    because this series fiction reader would be so over the moon for that!

  4. I used to be a cataloguer for a vendor and we did catalogue series info. Series can get really complicated though since publishers are silly and change names and such or you think there’s only one author but then there’s several. Or sometimes they number and sometimes they don’t. I’m remembering now how much I hated series…and publishers.
    And, just because we put the info in the bib record, doesn’t mean the libraries who bought them have catalogues that really used those fields or were functional.
    Anyway, there are some libraries out there that at least have some series linking – if not your exact wish.

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