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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Institut für Bibliotheks- und Informations­wissen­schaft

Elke Greifeneder (2008)

Help Users Search!

In: 16th BOBCATSSS Symposium 2008 – Providing Access to Information for Everyone, 16th BOBCATSSS Symposium.

Online Public Access Catalogues (OPACs) are not self-explanatory, and help
searching them should be a standard feature. Access to library information
should not be an adventure game. Unfortunately that goal is far away. Many
surveys show user problems. Twenty-five percent of the users already fail at
the operating system level, and another 37 % get a zero results. These users
need help. Helping users search should be the goal and the right software
tools are essential. In the first part of this paper, we describe what
online help systems are. Spelling corrections, faceted-browsing,
recommender-systems, context-sensitive-help or avatars are only a few
examples of the broad field. Based on an analysis of German university
libraries, we show then how they are currently used. The second part of the
paper explains what stands behind the concept of useware-engineering and how
we can apply it to prototype a companyindependent OPAC help system.