AquaBrowser Launches in Eastern Canada

Yesterday, Halifax Public Libraries launched their new discovery tool, AquaBrowser! While still in beta, we’re inviting feedback and I wanted to invite all of you to have a look at our new catalogue – and to provide your input. You can do this through the feedback button at the top of the catalogue, or by posting your thoughts right here!

We’ve been working on this installation for a year – and we’re very happy with the results.



Filed under Discovery tool platforms, Social catalogue, The Library Catalogue

5 responses to “AquaBrowser Launches in Eastern Canada

  1. LynneW

    Very interesting! A couple of questions:

    1. Where did you get all the extras? Like author bio, critical reviews, cover art, etc. Did you have to dig it up individually, or does it come with a subscription to Aquabrowser?

    2. I notice you don’t use the 856 field for author website? Was that a conscious decision, and could you describe the determining factor/s? We have started doing this for some items, and are unsure whether it is worth continuing, since most of the records we import do not contain it. Any thoughts you care to share would be appreciated.

  2. Laurel Tarulli

    Hi Lynne,
    We’re enjoying the new catalogue and can’t wait for the feedback to trickle in. I’m preparing for both negative and positive feedback, because it is a drastic change and there are still features that can be enhanced, even more intuitive and added. However, it is a drastic improvement over the existing, classic catalogue (IMO).

    As for your questions:
    1. All of the extra info (enriched content) comes from our contract with Serials Solutions. We had this in our classic catalogue as well, but the richness of the content is improved significantly by AquaBrowser. Now, that said, AquaBrowser has recently moved under the “umbrella” of Serials Solutions, rather than Bowker. So, I imagine that in the future, the content will be provided directly through AquaBrowser, rather than two separate contracts. But don’t quote me on that!

    2. You’re right, we don’t add the author content in an 856 field (unless when we importa a record, it’s already there). While it wasn’t a conscious choice, I believe it was more of a time/quality issue. Is the author website a significant contribution to the bib record? If we are copy cataloguing and an existing record has the table of content or author info included in the 856 we keep it. But, we don’t seek it out. We do add 856s at other times, however. Examples include if there is an online version (pdf), a recorded live author reading that we can add a link to from the record, or (hopefully in the future) a library program affiliated with the item.

    I’m sure I’m missing other times we use an 856, but this is what comes to mind.

    Are you finding that it takes time to add the 856 for author websites? Have you received feedback from this enriched content?

  3. LynneW

    Thanks for answering my questions, Laurel, especially in the midst of moving mayhem! 😉

    Re: the 856, we mostly use it for government and other organizational publications we feel may be of interest to our public.

    We’ve moved from a reference model (the newest and best is sequestered in Reference) to a circulation model (newest and best editions circulate, with one outdated example shelved in Reference for convenience (we can show off the resources there, right next to my desk, and then accompany the patron to the shelves to pick up a current copy to take home).

    There are many times when we receive an item we feel may be of general interest, but don’t have the space or the budget to stockpile copies to hand out. We catalog the item and shelve it in Reference, but use the 856 to link to the website where they may download their own copies, print and/or save them.

    Recently we also decided to make our Wellington Family Album (local history) photos individually available online through our catalog as well as from our homepage, which access the entire folder of images.

    I had seen something ages ago about adding 856 links to author websites, and how wonderful it would be for our patrons, but frankly it doesn’t seem to be used much when we take the time to add it, at least here. And the libraries from which we draw our copy cataloging using the Z39.50 protocol don’t habitually include it either, which led me to consider that perhaps we’re wasting our effort trying to provide it. That, and a question from my cataloger as to whether she should continue adding them, is what prompted the question.

  4. Laurel Tarulli

    Lynne – your use of the 856 is similar to ours. We often link our online gov’t docs to the bib record which has a reference holdings. In fact, that and the table of contents are the two most common uses for that tag in our bib records.

    With the enriched content that we can receive through vendors, I’d be more inclined to suggest leaving author information off – unless, perhaps, it is local author content. I’m a supporter of promoting the local aspect of any collection, and I can see the potential value of adding the author website for that.

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