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Use of Online Public Access Catalogue [OPAC] at Sadakathullah Appa College, Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu: A Study.


OPAC is an acronym for "Online Public Access Catalogue". It is an access tool and guide to the collection of resources in the library or libraries which provides bibliographic data in machine readable form and can be searched on a computer terminal by users. The OPAC is a systematic record of the holdings of a collection in the particular library. Its purpose is to enable a user of the collection to find out the physical location of the information in the collection. Libraries assume a significant part in the advancement of college training around the world. College library being the core of the college framework, gives reasonable materials helpful to promote of educating, teaching learning and research purposes and in this way supplement classroom showing work alongside arrangement of information required to accomplish scholarly interests. With a specific end goal to accomplish this objective, most libraries have set up sufficient assets to help instructing and look into, prepared qualified custodians fit for arranging the data substance in the most logical and supportive request, who come to utilize the library and its assets and in addition a library inventory which is utilized to encourage simple recovery of instructive assets in the library.The contents of OPAC are not restricted to the holdings of particular library rather it can include the holdings of a number of libraries; and OPAC may also provide information on the following the holdings of contents of periodicals; A variety of databases, including full text files; Integration of acquisition and circulation; Instructions to use of the OPAC; and Information about the library events. Library OPACs first emerged in the late 1970s and early 1980s and have gone through several cycles of change and development. The basic purpose of the OPAC is to create a database of library holdings which provides an online catalogue to help users to identify and find resources easily. In fact the OPAC was probably the inspiration for many of the cutting edge services we find on the web today.

Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC) is an electronic catalogue which contains complete bibliographic and holding information of all resources in the library. The OPAC is the gateway to library's collection. Sabine defines, an OPAC as an electronic database that contains the same information: that is; author, title, and subject information about the materials that a library owns. Some universities or colleges are using OPACs have created union catalogues meaning that several libraries share the same database. OPAC stages are regularly portrayed as far as 'ages'. The first age of OPAC showed up in the mid 1980s as unrefined discovering records, regularly in light of course framework records or in view of straightforward MARC (Machine Readable Catalogue) records, maybe with a course, serials, or securing module. In light of card inventory and early on the web data recovery framework, their seeking abilities were constrained to the creator and title seekers, utilizing just left tied down looking (i.e., all ventures must be founded on the primary word or expressions of a specific content string beginning at the left; for instance, in left tied down looking through the title "association of data" must be sought beginning with "association" and can't be found under "data"). The interface was menu based and genuinely crude. These early frameworks had no subject get to and no reference structures. First generation OPACs were primarily book finding lists and worked best for known-item searching. Second generation of OPACs, the characteristics distinguishing and each generation are fairly clear. Beyond the second generation, however, there are differences in how the profession refers to the more recent developments in OPACs. Some consider the systems that are currently in use (Web OPACs with GUI interfaces, Z39.50 compliant system, etc.) to be third-generation OPACs. They move beyond simple matching and Boolean Operations towards more sophisticated search and matching techniques. It incorporates a number of techniques to improve subject access. Partial matching, stemming of keywords, ranking of retrieved output, coordination level matching, automatic mapping and relevance feedback are techniques developed through two decades of research on OPACs and these carry great implications to the third generation OPACs.


Ever since the British period the twin towns of Tirunelveli and Palayamkottai, intersected by the Perennial River Thamirabarani, have been great centres of learning. The Tirunelveli district has a sizeable Muslim population which necessitated the need for an institution of higher education. Due to the dedicated and sincere efforts of the Muslim elite, a College of Arts and Sciences, named after the renowned Arabic scholar Sadakathullah Appa, was started in 1971. The motto of the College is "My Lord, Vouchsafe Me Wisdom". The College is located on a 40 acre sprawling campus and is run by Sadakathullah Appa Educational Society. Sadakathullah App College has been serving as a beacon light spreading the light of knowledge by education to the students form the backward areas of southern districts. The college which celebrated its Silver Jubilee in the year 1999, is proud to possess a diligent and seasoned team of staff who have out it one the springboards of progress and success. The college is reaccredited with 'A' grade by NAAC with 3.40 score in the III Cycle and ISO 9001:2008 certified institution, affiliated to Manoanmaniam Sundaranar Unviersity. There are 8 UG and 2 PG courses offered in the Aided session and in Unaided session 11 UG and 6 PG with M.Phil, Ph.D and also Diploma, Certificate courses. The College is now introducing new, learner-centered syllabi for all the courses to implement Choice Based Credit System which is a salient feature of Autonomous Colleges. We hope the institution would blossom soon as Sadakathullah Appa University.


The Sadakathullah Appa College Library has emerged as a Knowledge Resource Centre, catering mainly to the information needs of the Faculty, Research Scholars and students. The Library is functioning since its inception from the year 1971. It is shelved as an independent department on the campus with a floor area of nearly 3,600 sq.ft. Now, a new building is being been constructed with a ground floor area of 6000 sq.ft and 6000sq.ft as its first floor. Automation of this library consisting of over fifty one thousand books and documents has been completed and is put to use. Library users have always cherished memories of availing of the services of this treasure-house of documents since the past decades. The collections in the library include Books, National and International Journals, standard newspapers and magazines and online e-resources. The Library is equipped with all modern facilities on par with International standards. It gives training to students to get access to books and journals using standard websites like NPTEL. We are also a member in INFLIBNET-NLIST & DELNET for accessing their databases. We receive a lot of e-resources (i.e e-books, e-journals) from these databases. The library provides Information Services, Reference Services, Bibliographic Services and Reprographic Services. On a whole, it is a great pride to say that SAC Library acts as "The Ocean of Knowledge" which quenches the thirst of the library users. The library is providing a happy, user friendly atmosphere for learning and distribution of knowledge and information.


Peter A. Burton, Andrew M. Hawkins (1993) in their study of the "Attitudes to an Online Public Access Catalogue in an Academic Library" Describes an investigation of attitudes to the LION (Library Integrated Online Network) online public access catalogue at Liverpool Polytechnic Library (now Liverpool John Moores University) using observation and a questionnaire survey of 55 library users. Suggests that the reaction to the automation of the library catalogue was positive and it appears to have improved service to users, but more user education and guidance would result in a further improvement.

Luis Ville'n-Rueda, Jose A. Senso and FeTix de Moya-Anego (2007) the analysis of user searches in catalogues has been the topic of research for over four decades, involving numerous studies and diverse methodologies. The present study looks at how different types of users effect queries in the catalog of a university library. For this purpose, we analyzed log files to determine which was the most frequent type of search conducted among different user types. Results show that searches by browsing are similar in frequency to the analytical queries, and that only 14 percent of queries actually specify the subject heading. It has also been seen that the users with better preparation, more knowledge of the information sought, and a greater familiarity with the OPAC will make their queries from the analytical search option in a greater proportion. This is the case of the Professors, with high utilization from their offices. Evident conclusion that the interface of the OPAC of the University of Granada was not optimal for serving user needs, with apparent limitations in its design, a lack of screens for assistance, a deficient system of searching by subject heading, and very limited search options. Precisely, studies like this one should serve as grounds for decisions to change the Integrated System of Library Management to offer another system contemplating all these possibilities in its query interface.

Thanuskodi, S. (2012) this paper examines Online Public Access Catalogue usage by the students, research scholars and faculty of Annamalai University Library. A questionnaire-based survey on use of OPAC was conducted for Annamalai University Library on various categories of users such as faculty members, research scholars and postgraduate students, covering different disciplines such as Arts, Science, Engineering, Medicine and Agriculture sciences. The paper discusses various aspects of OPAC such as frequency of use, purpose, satisfaction level, etc. The results of the study show that only one third of the respondents used OPAC frequently. The study also found that majority of users consulted OPAC to know the availability and location of the requisite documents. 31.35% respondents frequently used the OPAC, 95% respondents expressed lack of knowledge for using OPAC. It depicts that 74.03% of users consulted OPAC to know the availability of the requisite document in the library. Overall satisfaction level of users in using OPAC. It highlights that our of 208 users around one fifth of the users 20.19% were fully satisfied with OPAC use, almost half of the respondents were satisfied and one-third moderately satisfied with OPAC use.

Anjan Gohain and Mukesh Saikia (2013) this study is to investigate the use and user satisfaction on Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC) services at Tezpur University. This study attempted to investigate the frequency, purpose of use and to find out the problems faced by the B.Tech students while using OPAC. Attempt also made to investigate user's awareness about the benefit of OPAC service. The final result revealed that 51.03 % (199) respondents used OPAC everyday to locate document on shelves. Lack of skills to use OPAC independently, lack of awareness about OPAC and lack of proper guidance to use OPAC were the major problem faced by the users while using OPAC. It is observed that of 76.67 % (299) respondents were aware that OPAC help borrowers to locate document by author, title or by subject on the shelves. It is also observed that 72.05 % (281) respondents aware that it help easy search different categories of documents such as book, thesis, report, back vol. etc. by changing the types of document categories. Finding revealed that satisfaction level of B.Tech students of school of engineering were quite encouraging and they were very much satisfied with the performance and quality of OPAC services.

Veena G, Mallaiah, T.Y, and Pushpalatha, K. (2015). This study is to investigate awareness and use of Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC) by users of SVS College Library, Bantwala. The study adopted a questionnaire-based survey research design, 120 questionnaires were distributed to the students, out of which 116 filled questionnaires were received after duly filled for analysis. The present study examines various aspects of OPAC such as frequency of use, purpose, benefits of use, etc. The result of the revealed that 66 (56.89%) of respondents used OPAC facility daily, 40(34.48%) stated that they aware how to use the OPAC from shelf/friends/colleagues, 43(37.07%) of the respondents used OPAC search by author. The results of the study indicated that a majority of users search information concerning the library resources through OPAC.

Nelson Msagati (2016). the study expects to examine the utilization of Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC) among separate students of the Open University of Tanzania. A spellbinding examination configuration has been embraced in the investigation. Stratified arbitrary examining strategy was utilized to choose arbitrarily 300 separation students. An organized poll was produced and appropriated haphazardly to 300 separation students including undergrad and postgraduate understudies. An aggregate of 230 (76.67percent) finished filled in polls were returned once again from the separation students for examination. Regardless of OPAC being the best data recovery instrument and of specific perfect for remove students, discoveries of this examination uncovered low level of mindfulness (24.78 percent) and utilize (22.61 percent) of OPAC among them. The discovery of this examination has additionally uncovered that greater part of respondents (85.65 percent) recovered instructive assets from the library accumulation utilizing peruse through racks system. Predetermined number of PCs with web gets to, insufficient looking abilities, low transfer speed and intermittent power blackouts were shown as a portion of the obstructions that militate against viable utilization of OPAC. The examination prescribes, among others, occasional data education preparing for remove students amid introduction and up close and personal sessions, presentation of data proficiency necessary course over the educational programs, arrangement of more PCs on grounds, change of transmission capacity, arrangement of standby generator in the PC labs and work of proactive promoting systems.

Sonia Bansal and Sanjeev kumar (2017) carried out a study to examine throw light on use of OPAC by the students of Grur Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Ludhiana. A questionnaire based survey on use of OPAC was conducted. The paper discusses various aspects of OPAC use such as frequency of use, ease of use, satisfaction regarding use of OPAC etc. Most of the respondents use OPAC to find journals 61(69.31%) and more than half of the users 48(54.55%) searched using title of the required document, 70(79.55%) are fully satisfied with use of OPAC. Majority of the users 48(54.54%) were in favour of demonstration method for promoting the use of OPAC.

Ponnudurai, R and Saravanan, T. (2017) conducted a study on Awareness on OPAC by the Undergraduate Students Majority of the users were not aware of OPAC system.43% of the Mathematics branch users were aware of OPAC. Less than 35% of the users from both the age groups were only aware of OPAC. Users' OPAC awareness levels are not in satisfactory level.


* To provide Gender-wise, Area-wise, Qualification wise distribution of the respondents

* To assess frequency of using OPAC by the users.

* To find out the purpose of use of OPAC.

* To examine the students' awareness about OPAC services

* To elicit the suggestions of the respondents for improving the library services

* To find out the ssatisfaction level in Use of OPAC.


The scope of the study encompasses the Use of Online Public Access Catalogue [OPAC] at Sadakathullah Appa College, Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu only.


This study of the research used questionnaire-based survey method. A detailed and well structured questionnaire was designed and distributed to all the type of students in Sadakathullah Appa College. Out of 175 respondents, 150 Questionnaires were received dully filled by the respondents. The data collected through the questionnaires was entered in MS Excel 2007 application. MS Excel 2007 was used to calculate the total and percentages needed for various tables. Needed tables were prepared using MS Word 2007 application.


A total of 150 valid respondents were obtained, 58.7 percent of the respondents are male and remaining 41.3 percent are female. Across the different region of the people, 43.3 percent of the students were from rural area and remaining 56.7 percent of the respondents were from urban area. As regards educational qualification of the respondents, 70.7 percent of them are under graduate students, 23.3 percent of the respondents are postgraduates, 3.3. percent of the respondents are Master of Philosophy and remaining 2.7 percent of the respondents are the doctors of Philosophy.

It is important to know how frequently use of OPAC by the users to locate their required documents. The above table depicts that out of total 150 respondents only 11.3 percent used daily, 7.3 percent of respondents used once in a week, 6 percent are used twice in a week, 8.7 percent used once in a month, 3.3 percent used twice in a month, 16.7 percent of the respondents used occasionally, 8 percentage are used rarely and 38.7 percent of the respondents have never used OPAC.

At present in the above table, 13.3 percent of the students are learning the OPAC from library staffs, 48 percent of the respondents are learning through their friends network, 3.3 percent of the respondents are learning OPAC through library orientation programme, 15.3 percent of the respondents are learning by their own interest and remaining 20 percentage of the respondents are learning OPAC through some other medium.

Above table shows the purpose of using OPAC is indicated. It depicts that 65.3 percentages of respondents using OPAC to find books, 22 percent are using to find journals, 5.3 percent of the respondents are using to find bibliographical details, 0.7 percent are used to check borrowers' information and remaining 6.7 percent of the respondent are using OPAC for some other purposes

With respect to searching strategies of OPAC, 41.3 percent users are searching by key words, 23.3 percents are searching by the name of author, 27.3 percentages are using subject wise searching, 5.3 percentages are searching through the keywords and remaining 2.7 percent of the respondents are searching through ISBN.

The respondents have asked whether any training required for them to use OPAC, 56 percentages of the respondents had revealed that they don't require any training and 44 percentage of the respondents required training for using OPAC.

Table-3 exhibits overall satisfaction level of users in using OPAC. It highlights that out of 150 respondents around one third of respondents 32 percents were fully satisfied with OPAC, almost half of the respondents (47.3%) were satisfied with the use of OPAC. 10 percent are dissatisfied and 10.7 percent are very dissatisfied with OPAC.

With regard to the promotion of OPAC system, 26 percent of the respondents have revealed that the best method is training and orientation, 18 percent of the respondents revealed lecture method would be best, 18.7 percent of the respondents revealed demonstration is the best method and remaining 37.3 percent states that any other method would helpful to promote the use of OPAC


The present study aimed at examining the level of awareness and use of OPAC by the students of Sadakathullah Appa College, Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu. Presently multi day's quick improvement in data and correspondence innovation has risen as most ground-breaking medium for capacity and recovery of data. Online Public Access Catalogue is an exceptionally fundamental data recovery instrument of libraries and data focuses. Today it considered as a portal to library assets which ever library clients must know about and utilize it to look through their required report and to satisfy their data prerequisites. Basing on the discoveries of this examination, the library should assist its clients with adopting and absorb OPAC since its powerful utilizes significantly affects the instructing, learning and research exercises. OPAC is one of these administrations which help library clients to find and access its assets effectively. We can expect the better use of accessible library assets if clients can make completely mindful about OPAC and utilize it.


(1.) Kaliyaperumal, K. A study of user's attitude towards online public access catalogue. University of Madras. 1998 Ph.D Thesis.

Retrieved from:

(2.) Tamizhchelvan, T. OPACS in South Indian libraries a study of their facilities and features. University of Madras. 2003. Ph.D Thesis.

Retrieved from:

(3.) Wilson, K (2007). 'OPAC 2.0: Next generation online library catalogues ride the Web 2.0 wave! Online Currents, 21(10), 406-413.

(4.) Peter A. Burton, Andrew M. Hawkins, (1993). Attitudes to an Online Public Access Catalogue in an Academic Library, Library Management, 14(5), 13-15.

Retrieved from:

(5.) Villen-Rueda, L., Senso, J. A., & de Moya-Anegon, F. (2007). The use of OPAC in a large academic library: a transactional log analysis study of subject searching. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 33(3), 327-337.

(6.) Thanuskodi, S. (2012). Use of Online Public Access Catalogue at Annamalai Unviersity Library. International Journal of Information Science, 2(6), 70-74.

(7.) Gohain, Anjan and Saikia, Mukesh Dr, (2013). Use and Users Satisfaction on Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC) Services among B.Tech. Students of School of Engineering in Tezpur University: a survey. Library Philosophy and Practice (e-journal). 990. Retrieved from:

(8.) Veena G, D. T. (2015). Use and Awareness of Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC) facility by users of SVS College Library, Bantwala, Mangalore: A study. International Journal of Library and Information Studies, 5(4), 65-71. Retrieved from

(9.) Msagati, Nelson, (2016). "Awareness and Use of OPAC by Distance Learners: The Case of the Open University of Tanzania". Library Philosophy and Practice (e-journal). 1482. Retrieved from:

(10.) Sonia Bansal and Sanjeev kumar (2017). Use of Online Public Access Catalogues: A Case Study. SRELS Journal of Information Management, 54(1), 51-54.

(11.) Ponnudurai, R., Saravanan, T. (2017). Awareness on OPAC by the Undergraduate. Journal of Advances in Library and Information Science, 6(4), 312-316. Retrieved from


(12.) Sadakathullah Appa College (2018). About the College and Library. Available from:



Dr. A. Thirumagal, Librarian, Manonmaniam Sundaranar University, Abishekapatti, Tirunelveli-627012, Tamil Nadu, India.

M. Mani

Part Time Ph.D Research Scholar (LIS), Manonmaniam Sundaranar University, Abishekapatti, Tirunelveli-627012, Tamil Nadu, India.


Deputy Librarian, Sadakathullah Appa College (Autonomous), Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu, India. E-mail id:

Dr. R. R. Saravanakumar

Librarian, Sadakathullah Appa College (Autonomous), Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu, India.

Dr. A Thirumagal

Librarian, Manonmaniam Sundaranar University, Abishekapatti, Tirunelveli-627012, Tamil Nadu, India.,

M. Mani

Part Time Ph.D Research Scholar (LIS), Manonmaniam Sundaranar University, Abishekapatti, Tirunelveli-627012, Tamil Nadu, India. & Deputy Librarian, Sadakathullah Appa College (Autonomous), Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu, India.,

Dr. R.R.Saravanakumar Librarian, Sadakathullah Appa College (Autonomous), Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu, India.
Table No. 1

Demographic profile of the Respondents

Sl.No      Particulars   Frequency    Percentage (%)


1             Male           88            58.7
2            Female          62            41.3


1             Rural          65            43.3
2             Urban          85            56.7

Category of Qualification

1              UG           106            70.7
2              PG            35            23.3
3            M.Phil          5              3.3
4              PhD           4              2.7

Source: Primary Data

Table No. 2

Usage of OPAC

Sl.No      Particulars                        Frequency    Percentage
Frequency use of OPAC

1          Daily                                  17          11.3
2          Once in a Week                         11           7.3
3          Twice in a week                        9             6
4          Once in a Month                        13           8.7
5          Twice in a Month                       5            3.3
6          Occasionally                           25          16.7
7          Rarely                                 12            8
8          Never                                  58          38.7

OPAC Learning Methods

1          Library Staffs                         20          13.3
2          Friends                                72           48
3          Library Orientation Programme          5            3.3
4          Yourself                               23          15.3
5          Any others (Calendar, Notice           30           20
           Board, etc.,)

Purpose of Using OPAC

1          To find books                          98          65.3
2          To find Journals                       33           22
3          To find bibliographical detail         8            5.3
4          To check borrowers information         1            0.7
5          Any other                              10           6.7

Use of Search Strategies for accessing information

1          Title Search                           62          41.3
2          Author Search                          35          23.3
3          Subject Search                         41          27.3
4          Keyword Search                         8            5.3
5          ISBN Search                            4            2.7

Source: Primary Data

Table No. 3

Opinion about OPAC

Sl.No      Particulars                    Frequency    Percentage (%)

Training /Orientation required to use of OPAC

1          Yes                                66             44
2          No                                 84             56

Satisfaction Level in Use of OPAC

1          Fully Satisfied                    48             32
2          Partially Satisfied                71            47.3
3          Dissatisfied                       15             10
4          Very Dissatisfied                  16            10.7

Programs helpful to promote the use of OPAC

1          Training / Orientation             39             26
2          Lecture                            27             18
3          Demonstrations                     28            18.7
4          Any other                          56            37.3

Source: Primary Data
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Author:Thirumagal, A.; Mani, M.; Saravanakumar, R.R.
Publication:Library Philosophy and Practice
Article Type:Report
Date:Jul 1, 2018
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