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Online Catalogs: What Users and Librarians Want

In 2008, OCLC conducted focus groups, administered a pop-up survey on (OCLC’s freely available end user interface on the Web) and conducted a Web-based survey of librarians worldwide.

The Online Catalogs report presents findings from these research efforts. The findings indicate, among other things, that although library catalogs are often thought of as discovery tools, the catalog’s delivery-related information is just as important to end users.

In addition, the report presents findings on:

  • The metadata elements that are most important to end users in determining if an item will meet his or her needs
  • The enhancements end users would like to see made in online library catalogs to assist them in consistently identifying appropriate materials
  • The enhancements librarians would recommend for online library catalogs to better assist them in their work

Use the links on the right to download the complete report, download a synopsis of the report or view the on-line executive summary. If you register to download the report, you'll receive e-mail notification of other reports and notes as they are published.

Download the report
(PDF, 1.3MB)

Download the report in Simplified Chinese (PDF, 4.4MB)

View the executive summary:

Downloads the synopsis:
English (PDF, 183kb)
Spanish (PDF, 201kb)
French (PDF, 216kb)

Web Session

Online catalogs: designing with users in mind

The webinar, “Online Catalogs: Designing with Users in Mind”, recorded Aug. 13, 2009, featured Karen Calhoun and Christie Heitkamp of OCLC reporting on their online catalog research findings, discussing user and usability studies and describing resulting changes made to WorldCat, and WorldCat Local. During the event, the presenters chatted virtually with participants and the chat dialog is available along with the event recording and polling results.