Electronic technologies have made a significant impact on the education section, affecting the day-to-day activities in classrooms, offices, libraries, and media centres, etc. In fact, libraries have been most affected by the electronic technologies, because the essence of the library is information management. As we move towards the new millennium, the effects of this technology on schools or academic libraries will become more critical pervasive. Librarians who prepare for these changes will find themselves and their libraries affecting all aspects of learning and teaching, unstrained by space/location and time. Along with the various types of access methods being developed, information contents and services provide through the Internet have also become a great variety. In terms of information management, developments in library automation technologies have also changed the role and the functional capabilities of the library’s Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC), as well as the traditional librarianship. Users can now access different Internet resources through the hot/URL links provided in Web-OPAC (WebPAC). Our library catalogue or OPAC is no longer just an inventory list or a finding aid only for what the library owns, but rather for everything to which the library has access. It has changed from just a list to a comprehensive content delivery mechanism. This paper discusses the new nature of OPAC, and attempts to explore various ways that librarians as OPAC designers could do to enrich the contents of the catalogue, and its records to provide easy and yet comprehensive access for Internet resources for their end-users. This paper examines the difficulties and the new approaches in user education for academic librarians in relations to the transition from the library OPAC (Online Public Access Catalogue) to the library resources portal – investigating the current trends, as well as the potentials of the future library OPAC. It commences with an overview of the developments of the library OPACs at different stages, followed by detailed descriptions on the different attributes, as well as the limitations of the old and existing library catalogues, and defines the new concept of the future developments as a library portal for electronic resources. It also offers proposal to respond to the dilemma of librarians as designers of the future library catalogue, i.e., to provide access to the expanding universe of information and knowledge. This paper presents and illustrates general trends related to the development of OPAC, and how these trends continue to gain momentum in libraries – to encourage librarians to come more proactive in their roles as information managers and educators.
|Keywords:||OPAC (Online Public Access Catalogue), WebPAC (Web-OPAC), Library Online Catalogues, Lingnan University Library, Hong Kong, Electronic Information Resources|
Current Postgraduate Student, Doctor of Education (EdD), University of Bristol, UK
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