Next-generation catalogues can be viewed as the latest manifestation of a tendency in library catalogue history to strive for centralization of access to collections—a single portal for the discovery of library resources. Due to an increasing volume of published materials and the explosion of online information resources during the Internet age, the library does not currently provide centralized access to its various information silos, nor does it provide a user-friendly search and retrieval experience for users whose expectations are shaped by Google and other major commercial Web sites. Searching across library resources is a complicated task, bearing high-attention "transaction costs" for the user, which discourage the use of library resources. Libraries need access systems that minimize complexity, easing discovery and delivery of resources for user populations. Here, the authors review past efforts of centralization of access, consider the potential of next-generation catalogues in the context of this historical tendency toward centralization of access, and describe what goals underlie that centralization.


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pp. 83-106
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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