Sunday, August 19, 2012

Family History Through the Alphabet – O is for …Catalogue

....or for those of you who are au fait with Library Lingo: O is for OPAC.

OPACs have made life so much easier for genealogists to prepare for visits to libraries so that maximum time can be spent using resources during those visits.  I remember being so proud when my first OPAC came online in the late 90s. It was a milestone in my library life that I should have recorded.

You don't know what an OPAC is?

An OPAC is an Online Public Access Catalogue; a library catalogue that one is able to access via a web browser to search for, identify and select library resources from a library collection's database. A dictionary gives this definition "A computerised system to catalogue and organise materials in a library (the kind that contains books). OPACs have replaced card-based catalogues in many libraries. An OPAC is available to library users (public access)."

If you don't already it is wise to get into the habit of seeking out resources from home when you are planning your next library research trip. I keep, in my research log, details of resources found on OPACs that I want to consult when next I get a chance to visit. 

I already have a list ready for my next visit to The Family History Library in Salt Lake City at Rootstech time next year. On my list is also a newspaper that appears to be available only in one library in Scotland. Hope springs eternal - I may get to Scotland one day to see it.

I'm not sure if these databases are OPACs; I would call them metaOPACs, Worldcat (The world's largest library catalog) is a resource that one can use to find out where in the world a particular resource can be found and, in Australia, a Trove search will give locations of resources.

Do you consult library OPACs prior to your visits?

See all my posts in this series at

1 comment:

Gould Genealogy said...

Thanks for the reminder of the value of online catalogues. :D


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...