Features of an Ideal Library Catalog

This week, as part of the Library 2.0 training, we are to think about our ideal library catalog. I have posted my list of desired features below. The list includes both old and new features. (For comparison, my library’s catalog is available here.)


  • Open source (see Evergreen and Koha)
  • Integrates seamlessly with library website
  • Flexible – anticipates future needs
  • Accommodates a large number of simultaneous users
  • Secure
  • Also available in Spanish


  • Visually appealing
  • Ability to enlarge text sizes
  • Design clearly incorporates customer and staff feedback, and current research (e.g. eye-tracking studies)


  • User-friendly navigation with minimal clicking
  • Direct link/s to apply for a library card, library checkout periods, library fines, circulation policies
  • Clear link to readers’ advisory material
  • Add a section such as (but better phrased) “Didn’t see what you were looking for?” with links to iBorrow, WorldCat and “Suggest an Item”
  • Majority of page content is visible at a glance, without having to scroll down
  • Option on catalog homepage to sign in to library account


  • Ability to search website content and catalog in one search box
  • Fewer text boxes and more drop-down menus
  • Ability to see at a glance which libraries show copies of an item checked in (both total number of libraries and library names) without having to scroll down or click
  • Option to search catalog on library homepage
  • Option to limit search to available (checked in) items only
  • A search retrieves any other versions and editions
  • Searches items in languages other than English

RSS Feeds

  • RSS feed for hold notifications and/or overdue materials
  • RSS feed for new additions to the online catalog
  • Highlight recently returned items (no personal data, just book information) on side frame and offer an RSS feed

User-Generated Content

  • Supports and encourages tagging
  • Support for user reviews 

Other Features

  • Customizable
  • Suggests similar items or suggests other versions/editions of item
  • A section that indicates the current total number of items systemwide (similar to U.S. Census population clock)
  • Option to save item for later review (e.g. booklist)
  • Option to place a hold



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I am a librarian with the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library in Tampa, Florida.

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