Why They Still Cannot Use Their Library Catalogues

Peter Warren
University of Natal, South Africa

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The paper examines the Urica World Wide Web Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC) from three different perspectives. The heuristic evaluation technique showed up a number of problems at the detail level. For broader concerns this needed to be supplemented by other approaches. The use of user interface design patterns and Laurelís concepts of Computers as Theatre showed up the fact that the design needs to be more object oriented with the tools secondary and the catalogue primary. This problem applies to many library catalogues and not just Urica. One limitation of the current design patterns is they provide little help with aesthetic issues. No one technique for evaluating user interfaces is sufficient as problems range from the micro to the macro level.

Keywords. Online public access catalogues, OPAC, heuristic evaluation, patterns, human computer interaction.