Web-scale discovery services (WSDS) VS PAC (Online Public Access Catalog)
Libraries have always been an integral part of the information ecosystem, providing users access to a wide range of resources while upholding the core values of the entry. And as digital resources and search engines have become more prevalent, libraries have continued to adapt and evolve to meet the changing needs of their users.
Two essential tools used in libraries today are Web-Scale Discovery Services (WSDS) and Online Public Access Catalogs (OPACs).
While WSDS provides a single interface for searching through multiple databases, it can only partially replace the richness of specialized bibliographic systems that libraries have built up over time.
On the other hand, OPACs list the library's holdings and help users find specific resources within the library's collection.
Some differences between WSDS and OPAC
Few major vendors offer WSDSs and OPACs
While WSDS provides a single interface for searching through multiple databases, it can only partially replace the richness of specialized bibliographic systems that libraries have built up over time because specialized bibliographic systems, such as Online Public Access Catalogs (OPACs), provide highly detailed and curated metadata specific to the library's holdings.
It must be stressed that OPAC metadata is produced by expert catalogers who have a deep understanding of the resources in the library's collections and the needs of their patrons.
Since library-specific tailor-made metadata is only sometimes available in WSDS, essential collection items such as archival materials, rare books, and special collections may be missing in WSDS. Meaning it is not possible to provide the same level of precision and relevance in search results as in specialized bibliographic systems
Therefore, libraries must continue improving their metadata production, ensuring it is high quality and standardized to enable effective discovery and retrieval of resources.