Summon-ing the courage: JIBS user event

I was fortunate enough to be asked to talk at the JIBS User group event and AGM held at SOAS in London on Monday 25 February.

The whole day was fascinating, with many interesting presentations from institutions that had implemented a discovery system. I was worried that much of my content would have already been covered by the time I was due to speak, but even though the situations were similar, we all managed to present our stories with a unique voice. I was specifically asked to speak about cultural changes when implementing discovery systems. I touched on various aspects that I’ve spoken about before, but it was refreshing to be able to talk about the OPAC and its redundancy in the light of these systems. (My slide entitled NO-PAC was inspired, even if I do say so myself!). I was surprised when someone in the audience asked generally how many institutions had hidden or got rid of their OPAC and about 15 hands went up out of about 100 attendees. A surprising amount, and definitely a good start.


People have been discussing the problems with OPACs for a very, very long time. It’s surprising that we are still in a position where we actively promote it as a tool for students. If we get implementation of discovery systems correct, and if we make sure that’s backed up with the other systems, then the OPAC should never have to take centre stage. I’m not saying we’ve got this right at SHU yet, but we’re getting there. It’s a tool for advanced searchers and librarians. And that’s what it says on our library website:

Highlights from the day for me included Paul Stainthorp’s take on the little problems that become apparent during these sort of changes and Isla Kuhn’s take on Summon – a game of Two Halves. Adam Edwards‘ talk sounded really interesting, but I had a stinking cold and felt dizzy for a bit so missed most of it.


My slides from the day are available as a PDF.
I referred to our usability testing, which is based on the stonking work done by Matthew Reidsma over at GVSU.
JIBS have posted a lot of the presentations from the day on their slideshare page.