Web OPAC stands for Web Online Public Access Catalog. It is an online system that provides users with access to the library’s catalogue and allows them to search for resources, such as books, journals, DVDs, and other materials, from any internet-connected device. Web OPACs have replaced traditional card catalogs and offer a more user-friendly and efficient way to locate and access library materials.
With a Web OPAC, users can perform keyword searches, browse by author, title, subject, or other search criteria, and view detailed information about each item, including availability, location, and call number. Some WebOPAC systems also provide additional features such as book covers, summaries, and user reviews to help users make informed decisions about the resources they choose.
Web OPACs often offer advanced search capabilities, allowing users to refine their search results using filters such as format, language, publication date, or genre. Users can also place holds on items, renew loans, and manage their library accounts online. Many WebOPACs integrate with other library services, such as interlibrary loan and document delivery, to further expand users’ access to resources beyond their local collection.
Web OPACs are typically accessible through the library’s website, providing a convenient and centralized platform for users to explore and utilize library resources. They play a crucial role in promoting self-service and empowering users to independently navigate the library’s collection, enhancing the overall user experience and facilitating efficient access to information.
According to Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science defined as: “An Online Public Access public catalogue (OPAC) that uses a graphical user interface (GUI) accessible via the World Wide Web, as opposed to a text-based interface accessible via telnet.”
Features of WEB OPAC
The features of Web OPACs include:
- Web OPACs are accessible through the Internet, allowing users to search the library catalog remotely from any location with an Internet connection.
- Users can perform searches independently using various search criteria such as author, keyword, title, or year. This enables users to locate specific resources based on their preferred search terms.
- Web OPACs display comprehensive bibliographic information for each item, including details found on reprints. Users can view essential details such as author names, publication information, subject headings, and more.
- Web OPACs retain features from traditional OPACs, such as storing bibliographic and sometimes full-text databases, providing direct access to the library’s catalog through terminals or PCs, presenting search results in a user-friendly format, and offering reference assistance.
- Web OPACs utilize hypertext links to enhance navigation within bibliographic records. These links enable users to easily move between related items, access additional information, or explore related resources.
- When available, Web OPACs may include the capability to link to full-text versions of resources. This feature allows users to directly access the complete content of books, articles, or other materials when they are accessible digitally.
These features collectively contribute to the functionality and usability of Web OPACs, enabling users to search, discover, and access resources efficiently and conveniently.
Advantages of WEB OPAC:
The advantages of Web OPACs include:
- Web OPACs are accessible worldwide and available at any time. Users can search the library catalog and access resources remotely, eliminating the need for a physical presence in the library.
- Users can instantly check the status of books, such as whether they are available for borrowing or currently on loan. Additionally, the Web OPAC provides information on the status of acquisition orders, allowing users to track the progress of requested materials.
- Web OPACs enable users to request reprints of articles or other materials directly through email. This feature streamlines the process of obtaining copies of specific documents and facilitates efficient resource sharing.
- Web OPACs offer users the freedom to conduct searches without time or space limitations. Users can search for documents not only within their own library but also across networked libraries. This broadens access to a vast range of resources beyond the physical constraints of a single library.
These advantages of Web OPACs contribute to enhanced user experience, increased efficiency in accessing library resources, and improved convenience in conducting searches and obtaining materials. The global accessibility and real-time information provided by Web OPACs empower users with greater control and flexibility in utilizing library services.