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Facet-based library catalogs: A survey of the landscape

Catherine Hall

ASIST 2011 Annual Meeting
New Orleans, LA, October 9-12, 2011


This paper describes the landscape of facet-based catalogs in academic and public libraries. The purpose of the study is to determine and describe the types of systems and software underpinning facet-based catalogs, the number and nature of facets in use by libraries, and how far the library and information science (LIS) legacy of facet theory is evident in contemporary catalogs. 100 academic and 100 public libraries were sampled and those with facet-based catalogs (78 and 54, respectively), were subject to further analysis. Commercial systems dominate although opensource facet-based catalogs account for almost one quarter of the academic sample. Bibliographic facets, such as language, format and publication date appeared frequently across both samples - arguably speaking more to the ease with which this metadata can be extracted than to its usefulness to an information seeker. Though small areas of convergence with LIS facet theory were identified, there remains considerable opportunity to unite policy and modern practice.

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