Friday, 10 August 2012

The night editor

It's in the nature of freelance work that it doesn't necessarily respond well to being penned into the working day. This editor has been kept awake by the knowledge that he is tantalisingly close to completing a range of bibliographic data for a forthcoming online project. The work can be time-consuming and sometimes involves buttressing the foundations of scholarly publications compiled in eras which allowed a more relaxed attitude to referencing than is now acceptable. It's at this point that the remote researcher falls back on online catalogues and has cause to thank the unsung heroes behind them. Such a resource is the agglomerated catalogue of seventy major libraries in Britain and Ireland, Copac. Its interface has recently been redesigned with a softer colourscheme and a more user-friendly layout which provides more information than was previously available on the old search results screen. The links to the holdings of individual libraries are an especially welcome feature of a redesign which probably reduces the number of clicks most visitors need to make on their mouse or touchpad.


  1. Oh, hear hear. Copac is the only example I can readily bring to mind of a website upgrade/redesign that is a significant improvement. My only quibble is that if you use the "next" link top right to scroll through results when you are in the record (rather than results) view, the link moves left and right while the page is loading, so you have to keep an eye on it to avoid clicking "last".

    Let's just say that I have been using that rather than the vile Explore the British Library, which as Nicholas Pickwoad put it, has taken a barely adequate library catalogue and made it worse.

    - Pellegrina, commenting anonymously because of repeated requests for OpenID verification

    1. One suspects the BL brought in the sort of user experience artists (or whatever they are called) used to trying to keep people in a website with the intention that the lost customers will buy more items.

  2. But you could probably guess it was me anyway ;-)

  3. COPAC is very useful indeed! I have often used it while cataloguing, although not recently. Must check out the revamped site sometime.