On July 20, 2007, the University of Rochester released their “eXtensible Catalog Survey Report.” This survey was designed to help Rochester determine what systems survey respondents currently use, what programming ability and experience with open source software respondents had, and what metadata standards are in use. The survey was targeted too large and medium sized academic and public libraries. Because of the targeted nature of this survey there were only 66 respondents. When I read through the report, I didn’t see anything that completely surprised me, but it was still a good read to see what other libraries are thinking.
The report included a list of the top issues with currently used OPACs. The top three were difficulty of customization (42 instances), Inadequacy of search functions (31), and opacity of results and lack of grouping or faceting (27). While facets were only third in the voting, the responses to the other questions show that this is a vary high priority for many libraries. I was a little surprised that the Lack of Web 2.0 functionality only received 9 instances. One of the interesting things to come out was that yes, in fact, a system like SC 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.” In this vein, 81% respondents believe “that they would be able to dedicate enough resources to download, install, and support XC” and 92% said that would consider implementing XC if commercial support was available while 67% would consider doing it even without support. (FWIW: With companies like LibLime, Equinox, Indexdata, and CARe Affiliates, is seems extremely likely commercial support will be available).
As I said, I didn’t find anything in the survey shocking, but it is still good to see what others are thinking about projects such as XC and it is a good read. The full text of the survey is also available for those interested in knowing what questions were asked.