what’s in a name?

Interfaces that access the list of physical books in the library come in many shapes and sizes. They are also called by many names. The historical name for this was the “Card Catalog”. This conjures up images of cabinets with little drawers full of 3X5 cards.
Card Catalog in the Hackney Library

Well that is unless you didn’t start using the library until th mid 80s early 90s when these were replaced by their online counterpart.

Since that transition occurred libraries have been using the term “Online Catalog” to give name to the service that functions in a similar fashion as the card catalog of yore.

In the following decades there has been a digital revolution that has driven the use of electronic content skyward. Today libraries are increasingly cancelling print journals altogether in favor resources that provide full text online.

This has created a split in how these resources are accessed. Database providers have created their own search portals that allows the user to easily find what they need on an article level. Online Catalogs are better at finding out where the journal itself is located.

Libraries have improved the online catalog during this same time and the interface now often includes access to electronic Books and Journals. Some libraries have even started to bring article-level data into the catalog.

On the other hand the vendors supplying access to the electronic journals have started importing data from the librarie’s online catalog. Now searches include links to the physical books located in the library.

In my opinion all of this confusion (increased accessibility) can mean that the user may overlook the resource that gives them direct access to the type of resource they are actually looking for.


All of this is a precursor to the current question:

What do we name the tabs that refer to either of these search portals?

Do we call the link to the Catalog, “Catalog” and trust that the term holds its meaning across generations? or do we rename it in favor of something more descriptive?

If you have 20 seconds answer the question yourself: http://goo.gl/CHM3

p.s. Don’t even get me started on what to name a link to a page of Databases…

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