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AquaBrowser Library®: a new online catalog

Posted: Fri, Jul 10, 2009

RCLS member libraries have launched the new online catalog: AquaBrowser Library®.

To use AquaBrowser, simply click Search Catalog and select the “AquaBrowser Catalog” tab at the far right.

So, just what is AquaBrowser?

Following is an overview of the RCLS Weekly Memo article, “AquaBrowser Catalog Unveiled”:

On Wednesday, July 1, RCLS member libraries launched the AquaBrowser Library® as the new online catalog user platform. AquaBrowser is a multilayered search tool that serves as a “one-stop shop” for all library patrons’ search activities. AquaBrowser is a “shell” that works with our existing automated catalog to offer library patrons enhanced search capabilities and additional information about the titles they find. It also provides users the ability to network with other library users by creating ratings, reviews, and tags for titles in the catalog. Patrons may still use the traditional HIP interface if they are more comfortable with it.

The search results in the AquaBrowser catalog are ranked by relevancy. Users are also presented with a visual representation (word cloud) of additional search terms that might be associated with their original term (spelling variations, broader/narrower terms, synonyms, etc.) Once they select a specific title to view, they may see book reviews, first chapter excerpts, summaries, tables of contents, book jacket images, and genre notes–all of which are not found in traditional catalog records.

Additionally, AquaBrowser permits users to make and share their own notes and impressions of titles through the “My Discoveries” features. These features allow users to create and share their own subject tags, book lists, written reviews, and 1-5 star ratings. These are shared not just among the community of RCLS member libraries, but are also combined with thousands of LibraryThing network users, including other sites using AquaBrowser.

One of the other benefits of AquaBrowser is that a single search will give the library patron a list of materials available at all 47 member libraries, and provide a list of articles in over 20 electronic databases including the Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia and the Britannica Online Encyclopedia. Simultaneously it will also provide relevant content available on three preselected Websites–the Hudson River Valley Heritage Collection, the Library of Congress’ American Memory historical collection and the Librarians’ Internet Index.

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