NCompass Live: Tech Talk with Michael Sauers: Narrating the OPAC

Narrating the OPAC: How Can Storytelling and Narrative Analysis Improve the User-Friendliness of the Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC) 

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This presentation investigates how narrative and storytelling principles can be applied to library online information retrieval technologies, and in particular to affecting the design of the library’s online public access catalogue (OPAC). Compelling evidence from both theory and actual prototypes demonstrates that narrative and storytelling principles can inform the design of modern information systems. Currently, corporations such as Coco Cola are recasting their Web presence as an online magazine reflecting a corporate trend by marketers to recast communications with consumers as storytelling rather than advertising. Libraries too can take advantage of these insights in storytelling for Web interface design and online communication, for recasting how we communicate to our users through our flagship service, the online catalogue.

Speaker: Mark-Shane Scale is from Kingston, Jamaica in the West Indies/Caribbean, where he pursued a BSc in Political Science with Statistics and later MLIS at the University of the West Indies, Mona campus. He has worked as a teacher librarian in a vocational school and later as a Departmental Librarian at the University of the West Indies, Department of Library and Information Studies. Eventually Mark-Shane got the opportunity to work as an Assistant Lecturer for the Department. He currently lives in Canada and is pursuing a PhD in Library and Information Science. His area of interest and specialisation is in information sources in social media and personal and organizational storytelling in knowledge sharing. He also has an interest in keeping up with technological trends such as social media and artificial intelligence. He is married and is the thankful father of 3 young girls.

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Michael Sauers

Michael Sauers is currently the Technology Innovation Librarian for the Nebraska Library Commission in Lincoln, Nebraska and has been training librarians in technology for more than 15 years. He has also been a public library trustee, a bookstore manager for a library friends group, a reference librarian, serials cataloger, technology consultant, and bookseller. He earned his MLS in 1995 from the University at Albany’s School of Information Science and Policy. Michael’s twelfth book, Google Search Secrets (w/ Christa Burns) was published October 2013 and has two more books on the way. He has also written dozens of articles for various journals and magazines. In his spare time he blogs at, runs Web sites for authors and historical societies, takes many, many photos, and reads more than 100 books a year.

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