In what must certainly rank as one of the least expensive plans ever proposed to replace a library’s aging online public access catalog terminals, White Plains Public Library (WPPL) will soon roll out terminals built in-house using $49 APC or $35 Raspberry Pi computers.
Aside from paying very little attention to visual design and not caring about the impact of horrible typography, the big problem with library catalogs is that they are not designed to help people accomplish library tasks. Instead, they’re designed to expose catalog records.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but this is totally backward—prioritizing the collection, not people, results in a user-hostile interaction design and a poor user experience.
Imagine the reverse: a tool that prioritizes helping people accomplish their tasks, whereby bibliographic data exists quietly in the background and is exposed only when useful.