My dislike of OPAC subject searches is primarily based on the fact that while they are intended for everyone to use, they aren’t very user friendly. Since my limited knowledge of creating extensive databases that are user friendly cannot do anything to change this, I have decided to try a different approach.

In my information literacy class we are creating a teaching module based on the ARCS model for learner motivation. I decided mine will be about using the OPAC. So far all I have put together for this is my idea for an attention getting activity:

Topic: Searching a library catalog

Target Audience: People unfamiliar with using Online Public Access Catalogs (OPACs)

Objectives: Teach library users to use OPACs to search for the different materials they need

Length: About 90 minutes with two short breaks at 30-minute intervals.

Content: Basics, such as layout of the OPAC, functions of different buttons, how to read the results as well as a little more advanced information such as how to choose terminology and how to choose the appropriate search function (Keyword, Title, Subject, Author)

Attention Activity: This will be reminiscent of a card catalog. I will choose five different books that are fairly easy to classify (ex. A book about caring for flowering plants, a book about building a deck, etc.) and give each participant five index cards. They will then look at each book and on a card will write down the title, the author, and what they feel the subject of the book is. When everyone has done this we will go through each book, and see what everyone chose as their subject and compare it with the actual subject heading in the OPAC.

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