Prism Blog

Leicestershire Libraries Live with Talis Prism 3

As my colleague, Imraz has reported in his most recent update, more libraries are starting to use Talis Prism 3 as either the main search interface or in parallel to the existing interface.  A few, like Haringey have taken the plunge in a big way, and simply replaced  the ‘old’ Prism 2.1 interface with the much more attractive Prism 3 look.

Towards the end of last week I was particularly struck by the latest library to launch their new interface, Leicestershire.  Apart from the clean look and feel to the design, attractive book jacket images, and the single search box (all of which are becoming standard on the newer  OPACs), I particularly liked the use of the additional information that has been included on the landing page.  Firstly, there is Leicestershire Prismthe tag cloud which directs users to a “Quick links section”.  These links give a highly visual way for users to explore some recommendations, and even a link to Library Thing, via a Book Suggestor. The second area that I thought was interesting was the provision of local library news via a panel on the front page of the catalogue.  This uses an RSS feed to give users a highly visible way of accessing the excellent Leicestershire Libraries Blog.

These additions to the interface are made possible using Juice extensions (for more information about Juice, please see here), and really enhance the look of the catalogue interface, and more importantly, provide users of the library services with the type of value added information that they expect from a website. It will be interesting to see what comments Leicestershire Libraries get from their users about Talis Prism 3.

Planning, planning and more planning

As we are starting to see more customers prepare to launch their new, enhanced library catalogue we are helping our customers to plan for their implementation via a series of events, being held at both the Talis offices and regionally.  As Richard has mentioned, we held our first one for academic libraries last month, and we are preparing to welcome some of our public libraries next week.  One of the key messages that our early customers have told us,  is that the planning that goes into the look and feel of the new catalogue is vital, not only in terms of imagining (or re-imagining) how your your users will see your web presence, but aslo how they will use it.

At these days we talk about how to use both design and functionality in order to make your OPAC a ‘shop window’ and something that users will want to keep returning to time after time. Unless you start to plan for this well in advanced, the danger is that your institutions web presence won’t be able to ‘show off’ your functionality to the greatest impact.  I’m interested to see if the public libraries have a different set of requirements to our academic customers, and how that will manifest itself.  One thing that we have seen so far is that there is a diverse requirements as to either a very ‘corporate’ look and feel or something that is very ‘library’.

So, if you haven’t already  arranged to come to one of these days, please do so, the details are here – and we look forward to hearing about your plans.