Library Services Centre

LSC is excited to announce the launch of its newest search engine update: BISAC subject searching.

 

A lot has changed in the world of searching since we went live with our first online catalogue. Google and Amazon have changed expectations for how people search, and what kinds of results they get when they search. While much can be said about how both of those corporate giants push results to users, and searching on their platforms isn’t as effective as people think it is, the fact remains: you type a thing, and get results regardless. While LSC has long offered the most powerful ordering tool available to public libraries, built in-house by our programmers, the search feature has remained surgical rather than general. That changes today.

 

Using BISAC subject headings, our catalogue is now far more open to generalized searching, and far more forgiving to the kind of searching that people are used to in the modern day. Using nondescript terms like “cars” or “travel Canada” will now return a broad range of items, allowing users to browse available materials on subjects rather than locate specific items. You don’t need to know the exact BISAC heading - TRUE CRIME / Abductions, Kidnappings & Missing Persons, for example. “Abductions” or “True Crime” will return results.

 

 

 

It will, in fact, return too many results. You will get the “maximum number of results found” error. Which is why we strongly advocate making use of the many Limiters, including Format, Material Type, and Publication Date make this search all the more effective. With the BISAC search you can narrow your search to just paperbacks published in the next two months about “Cooking”, which will return a bountiful, relevant, current list that you are able to browse and order from at your convenience.

 

 

 

To increase the effectiveness of this search even further, users can now combine in any order words from the Title, Author, Series, Dewy and BISAC in the Keyword search for more structured results. “Oliver cooking” in hardcover from the past thirty days returns, for example, a single result – Ultimate Veg, by Jamie Oliver. A Keyword search of “Canada Train travel” – the sort of search you might run if a patron is looking for books on train travel in Canada and you just want to see what we have – with no limiters returns 5 results, pulling from both the title and BISAC.

 

 

 

 

This BISAC search ability greatly increases the power of catalogue, allowing users like you more flexibility in locating items for your library. And for the majority of items in our catalogue, this search is incredibly effective. However, nothing is perfect, and we admit that. Programming allows us to make use of only what is available. BISAC subject headings are provided to LSC as part of the OYNX feeds from publishers that we use to populate our catalogue, meaning these items are now BISAC searchable from the moment they are in our catalogue; no additional input from us is required. This is not the case for AV and Small Press materials, for which we do not receive ONYX information and are manually entered by staff in-house. Should publishers of these materials ever provide us with information we can import into our system, it would immediately be searchable. However, given these industries, this is unlikely to occur. As such, DVDs cannot be found using the BISAC search. Keyword, Title, and the Slists remain the effective way to located AV materials.

 

The desire to have a more generalized search in our catalogue was something we heard from library staff across the country. And when we hear a request like that, we listen. We take every bit of feedback we receive, and we turn it into action. Some actions take longer than others. Implementing this function was not a fast process, and refinements will continue to be made, as refinements are constantly being made to everything we offer. We appreciate and encourage libraries to let us know how they use all of our services, so we can continue to make improvements which benefit everyone.

 

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Michael Clark.

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