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Catalogues

What is OPAC?

OPAC stands for Online Public Access Catalogue. This acronym is by now part of common parlance within the library world. OPACs are veritable catalogues with exhaustive, descriptive lists of references; in addition, by making the most of the potentials of their digital nature, they can be automatically searched by directly entering the searched items instead of just browsing them.

Technically, an OPAC consists of a structured database that can be queried in a special language. The traditional system for connecting to an OPAC consisted in emulating a terminal via telnet, so it was directly queried in its own language. Nowadays, though, the use of web interfaces that translate the OPAC’s language into interactive web pages, which are much clearer and user-friendly, is increasing. Actually, one of the remarkable advantages of the web interface is that it can be used to move from a document to others written by the same author or on the same subject, and so on. Just like our own OPAC which is described below.

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