The Dead Ends Don’t Justify the Means

Last year, I noted how the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library and others analyzed the user experience in the catalog and began using MeeboMe as a way to provide a path out of the “no results” dead end. Now we have another great example from the Allen County Public Library of re-examining dead ends in the catalog
Hi-Tech Hi-Touch: A Sirsi Patron Material Request Form
“The point of need that interested me was to make a material request form available for the patron when they could not find their search item….
The real meat of the processing is handled by the findit.php code. This is a reentrant form that does all the validation and processing. If you would like a copy of the code just email and I will send it to you.” [ACPL’s Innovation through Technology]

So basically, Sean Robinson at ACPL added a purchase request form to the search results page of the catalog so that if the Library doesn’t own the title the patron is looking for, she can immediately submit a purchase request. It’s these seemingly minor improvements that provide a more robust service in a place patrons don’t normally find a librarian. Why our vendors can’t think of these things is beyond me, but it’s great to see librarians like Sean taking the initiative to implement them.
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