Posted in Americas, Libraries, OPAC, Open Source, Public Libraries, Tagging, Technology, USA, Web 2.0 at 9:02 pm by colombianflowers

At the same lecture that I attended earlier this week I learned about the Cook Memorial Library in Tamworth, NH. This small public library has done away with their old static website and have replaced it with a WPopac. A WPopac is something created by Casey Bisson by tweaking WordPress to become an OPAC (Online Public Access Catalog). We got to see the insides of this library’s website and it looks exactly like the insides of this very blog you are reading.

The fascinating concept here is what can be created for free with the Opensource tools that are already available to us. Currently the Cook Memorial Library’s site provides you with just one search box that gives you relevant returns from all of their site, not just the OPAC. The fact that the search box cover the entire site means that if you search for local poet Marnie Cobbs, you will find out not only that the library carries her book titled “The Quiet Rage”, but also that she will be appearing at the library on May 8th. This set up also allows content on the web to be accessible through Google searches and the like.

Like any blog, the site allows collaboration by anyone who wants to contribute their two cents towards what is happening with the library. In relation to this, we heard the story of a man who is home-bound and therefore could not access the library, but now with this interactive site, he is able to participate by posting comments and starting discussions. In this sense the library is no longer just serving their immediate neighbors, but virtually anyone using the web.

You can learn more about this project and how it came about at maisonbisson. Bisson is also behind the Beyond Brown Paper project which is also based on WordPress.

11.14.07 - The Plymouth State University Lamson Library’s OPAC runs on WPopac, now known as Scriblio. You can access the site here.

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