Daniel Boone Regional Library revamps library catalog

Friday, January 22, 2010 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 8:43 a.m. CST, Friday, January 22, 2010

COLUMBIA — Library patrons will soon be able to add their own reviews, tags and ratings to books and other items and to share the item on Facebook or Twitter.

The Daniel Boone Regional Library will be the second library system in the U.S. to use new software called "Bibliocommons." The software has a smarter search algorithm than the older catalog and comes equipped with social networking tools.

"I hope (library patrons) go away saying wow, and I think they will," said technical services manager Pat Kopp, adding that the software developers "thought of everything."

Shortly before the new system is launched, a preview will be available to people who follow the library on Twitter or visit its Web site. The goal is to implement the new system during the second week of February.

"I think our patrons will find it very easy to find new things to play with," library director Melissa Carr said.

The most-requested feature is the ability to save items for later, so patrons can view their wish lists at any time. Users will also be able to make lists of items they are interested in and follow other users who choose to make their lists public. All other information will still be confidential.

"People are fond of creating information and sharing that with people," said Nathan Pauley, Web developer for the library. "This will just expand that to the community as a whole. This will just expand the discussion of what to read."

Cynthia Bassett, a librarian at the MU School of Law, heard about the list feature from the library's Twitter account.

"I come across books all the time that I want to read," Bassett said. "I end up requesting more than I can read at one time. I was really excited to hear about the new feature, so I can hang on to those things when I'm ready."

Instead of logging into the system with their library card numbers, users will be able to create their own user IDs and passwords. The new system will benefit not only the tech-savvy, but also people who may never use the catalog except in the library, Carr said.

The algorithm will improve the system's responses to what people are looking for. Popular books such as "Twilight" will be easier to find in the new catalog since it takes into account books' popularity during searches. Searches can also be limited to only available items in a particular library.

"You are much more likely to find what you're looking for right away," Kopp said.

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