OPAC (Online Public Access Catalog) definition

Contributor(s): Simon Smith

An OPAC (Online Public Access Catalog) is an online bibliography of a library collection that is available to the public. OPACs developed as stand-alone online catalogs, often from VT100 terminals to a mainframe library catalog. With the arrival of the Internet, most libraries have made their OPAC accessible from a server to users all over the world.

User searches of an OPAC make use of the Z39.50 protocol. This protocol can also be used to link disparate OPCS into a single "union" OPAC.

This was first published in April 2005

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