III WebPAC Pro 2006 and more

By reeset / On / In Innovative Interfaces

I just finished sitting through a session on the current upgrade to the WebOpac.  They are actually looking to do some pretty cool stuff in the realms of adding community tagging, rss feeds (though it is additional for fee product if you want to publish data from your catalog) and faceted searches.  Its really be developed in two phases.  The first phase is this year (and is already available to beta sites), and includes the rss and community reviewing componets — but next year we will see the release of a new development platform that will sit ontop of the opac and more tightly integrate III services.  For III libraries that are completely III libraries (i.e., use Millennium, Webbridge, Metafind (now called Research Pro), Symposium (III’s IR software)) — this platform sounds fairly interesting in that III is looking to provide a single search box which integrates all the III results.  However, it looks like libraries that have gone outside of III for services will be penalized to some degree as only parts of the new platform would be available to those libraries.  For example, in the meeting today, someone asked how the system would work for users that do not have Webbridge or Research Pro.  The answer — the platforms functionality would be drastically reduced — which seems to imply that if you want your services to work together, you should be planning on purchasing III’s products.  The only potentially good thing about this is that given that this new platform will sit ontop of the current opac, there is a chance that III might start releasing some API information detailing how their service is interacting with their system.  If they do make such documentation available — I’ll be one happy camper.  Otherwise, it might make our current metasearch/openURL development a harder sell — depending on how much outside interoperability III still allows vs. the ease of being an all III shop. 

Anyway, since I’m unsure how much information III is making available about this development product at this time (outside of this very general information which has been available since MidWinter) — I’ll leave it at that and say that anyone interested should visit their booth come ALA where they hope to be demo’g parts of this new product platform.