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If you want to see what I think is a very good home-user interface, see the Westchester NY library 
system:
http://www.westchesterlibraries.org/
specifically:
http://www.wlsonline.org/muse/servlet/MusePeer

This MUSE system seems to work great for me. I've found a ton of great music, books and other stuff 
with very little information. The only flaw is that keywording is not uniform across all libraries, 
but they work on making it better all the time. The library lady told me last week that almost all 
their regulars who aren't people who brings kids to scheduled readings reserve everything online 
first. For me, this has opened up a new world of music and movies and the collection is vast due to 
every library in the system except White Plains participating. Also, the system has online access to 
many newspapers and magazines -- and most of what's not covered with my Westchester library card 
from work is covered in the Putnam County system at home. Now, why can't the LOC be so easy and 
accessible?

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Karl Miller" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, December 13, 2006 3:54 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Digitizing libraries - OT comment


> Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:    >I'd be happy if the current LOC digital presence 
> were more >accessible to us taxpayers (ie owners).
>>The searching online is just not anywhere near easy for a >normal person. How come LOC can't 
>>contract
>>with Google or someone to make the online search interface >easier and quicker?
>
>  Your question brings to mind that our library is working on that question...well kinda... We are 
> currently migrating from what I think was a relatively good human interface to our own home made 
> online system, to a turnkey system from Innovative Interfaces.  That system (from "Innovative 
> Interfaces) allows for some customization, however, having seen many of the customizations allowed 
> by the system, it still seems like the basics are, library versus real world modalities of 
> thinking.
>
>  However I do find the expectations raised by google, even within our more hard core librarians, 
> to be quite fascinating. On the other hand that consideration reminds me that, from my 
> perspective, were it not for a google or yahoo, the old linearity of the card catalog would likely 
> remain...even in the digital environment.
>
>  I find , "Innovative Interfaces" to be an interesting choice for the name of the company. I love 
> this quote from their "about us" page. "For 25 years, Innovative has worked with and for 
> libraries, to create the most useful and robust products on the marketplace."
>
>  Note, they don't say that they worked "with and for library patrons." And no, I don't see that 
> notion implied...
>
>  Karl
>