You will be using the OPAC to find information and resources throughout your GSLIS career. If you have any questions on this section or would like to arrange for a more advanced workshop, please contact Linda Watkins, GSLIS Librarian at 617-521-2824 or by email at linda. OPACs OPAC stands for Online Public Access Catalog. It is also known as the catalog, PAC, WebPAC, library catalog, and online catalog. OPACs generally contain records of all the items that a library catalogs, such as: books (print and/or electronic); journals (print and/or electronic); databases; maps; manuscript collections; etc.
An OPAC is public (anyone can use it), and it allows the patron to search the library's collection, check course reserves, and check one's own library records -- from any computer connected to the internet. There are many different Integrated Library Systems (ILS) or system vendors, which offer slightly different OPAC interfaces. Simmons uses Millennium, which is produced by Innovative Interfaces Inc. (Triple I). Once you have mastered the basic skills and become comfortable with field searching and advanced features in Millennium, you will be able to adapt easily to other OPAC interfaces that you might encounter.
Millennium is widely used by academic libraries in the U. S. The interface is user-friendly in that it is not case sensitive, it does not require punctuation, and indefinite and definite articles are ignored at the beginning of titles. The Basics of Searching Certain search techniques are standard to all OPAC interfaces, although their presentation may vary slightly from vendor to vendor. Two common techniques are described below: Boolean Operators and Truncation. Boolean Operators
Database and online searching, including OPAC keyword searches, make use of Boolean logic, which uses three basic operators: AND is used to narrow the results to only those records that contain both search terms: e. g. (online catalog AND academic libraries). OR is used to expand the search using like-terms: e. g. (online catalog OR opac OR pac). NOT is used to exclude an element from the search set: e. g. (online catalog NOT public libraries). For the most precise search, you can combine multiple sets of search terms using Boolean operators: e. g. children OR boys OR girls) AND (television OR tv).
Truncation Truncation uses a symbol at a word stem to retrieve all variations of that word. Truncation symbols vary according to the database; the Simmons OPAC uses the (*) asterisk. E. g. Librar* will retrieve library, libraries, library's, librarian, librarians, librarianship, etc. The Simmons OPAC To access the Simmons catalog, typehttpsearch directly into your browser's address bar. The catalog is also linked to the Library Home Page, which in turn is linked to the MySimmons Portal. Fromhttp, click on the "Library" link at the top to get to the Library homepage. From there, you can click the Catalog link.
For an overview of the features and interface of the OPAC, please view the Intro to the Simmons OPAC Tutorial. Basic Search We will cover more about searching in the next two pages, but it is important to note the different search options available: Author: Last name, first name; capitalization not necessary. * Title: Complete or partial first part of book or journal title; definite and indefinite articles (e. g. , "a", "the") are not necessary.
In Basic Search, the order of the title words searched for must mirror the order in the title; in Advanced Search, the order of the search terms does not matter. Subject: Controlled vocabulary search (note: this is not natural language, but descriptor language, i. e. Library of Congress Subject Headings). Keyword: Offers the most options for narrowing or broadening your search. Call Number: Search by Library of Congress call number. ISSN/ISBN: Search by International Standard Serial Number or International Standard Book Number. Advanced Search Advanced search allows you to perform a combination search of many of the above fields.