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The all new Copac

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There are around a dozen resources I use day in day out in compiling the Bibliography. I now rely on online resources so much that I dread any change in one of my favourites. You get used to the interface, their quirks, short cuts and, through use and experience, recognise gaps and errors.

So I was a bit bemused to find that Copac had changed: new interface, logo, layout, colour scheme, you name it, it had changed. However, overall the change has been seamless. I can’t actually remember what the old Copac looked like, or indeed how I used it, so seamless has been the change.

For those interested in the development of the new site there is a blog.

The search and display of search results is so much better than I remember with the old Copac. There is the usual search screen but once results are displayed you can niftily change your basic search terms in a dialogue box in the top right hand corner (I’ve found myself using this facility a lot). The only (minor) drawback is the large “Sign In” button sitting under the “search” button which I sometimes hit rather than the “search” button.

You can also refine your search (especially useful for a long list of material) with another search box at the left hand side – a “search within results” box – which acts like a very user-friendly faceted search enquiry. I’ve used this facility to narrow my search by title word, date of publication, author and publisher – all searches worked brilliantly and quickly.

The display of results is so much better too – clearer and thus easier to scan for material. Also, at a glance you can see which libraries hold a copy and which have a Google preview. You can also organise the display using a series of option buttons (beside the “show” button). So you can have a title; a title with author entry, or a full catalogue entry – all making life easier for the user.

I only have two grouches so far. In a long list of material I will use the forward and back buttons frequently (the next page and previous page chevrons). The alignment/padding does not seem to be right as I often find that the chevrons have moved and I hit the last page or first page chevrons so losing where I am in the list which is very frustrating.

The other grouch is the print facility or lack of. In the old Copac I would simply print the page (Crtl P) with the location reference. Printing the page now produces the screen I need but the print is so tiny (and I mean tiny). Perhaps I’m missing something about a print function, or my settings are wrong, if that is the case I’d appreciate some advice.

These minor gripes aside, congratulations are definitely due to the Copac team for all their efforts in improving a valuable resource.

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Comments

  1. Peter Salt

    I agree with just about all of the above! I do notice, however, that the “Google Preview” links can be slightly misleading – they take one to the appropriate Google Books record, irrespective of whether a preview is available. Of course, a Google Books entry and its associated links can be useful, even when there’s no preview, but COPAC doesn’t seem to know whether there’s a preview available or not, even though it may give that impression! See, for example, here.

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