Using custom search links to promote your collection

One of the nice things about using an open, web-based OPAC is it’s really easy to share and reuse links to stuff in your catalog. One great way to promote aspects of your collection is to share a link to a specific search. The Athens County Public Libraries do this with a button on our OPAC. Try it:

See our Newest DVDs

When you click that image you’re taken straight to search results for new DVDs. We didn’t have to create a new collection code or shelving location, we just use built-in options for performing advanced searches. Here are the steps we took to come up with that result set:

  1. Go to the advanced search page.
  2. Check boxes to limit the search to DVD collection codes.
  3. Choose Sort by: Dates -> Acquisition Date: Newest to Oldest.
  4. Search.

The URL of the search results page is the one to copy and re-use.

The “Newest to Oldest” search guarantees that the most recently added items are at the top of the list. True, this isn’t as fine-grained as a search that would let us put in a specific date range (“DVDs acquired in the last 7 days”). And it may not meet every patron’s expectations because it shows returns recently acquired items, meaning if you add a new copy to an existing record it will show up in those results. But for patrons hungry for the newest DVDs it will works very well.

The nice thing about promoting your collection this way is that you don’t have to maintain a hand-picked list. Want to promote the anniversary of the moon landing? How about a link to a search for the subject “manned space flight?” It’s a great quick way to draw your users into the catalog with timely, topical points of interest.

If you like my “new DVDs” image, you’re welcome to use it. It uses a DVD icon found on Wikimedia Commons. Here are a couple additional choices:


You might want the above image if you’re using the “Bridge” icon set in your OPAC already.


The above image uses a modified version of an icon from the Tango Icon Library. Check out the other Bridge and Tango icons for more choices that might inspire your own material-specific promotions.

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