Heritage Online - the OPAC (Online Public Access Catalogue)

The OPAC is a vital part of any library resource centre and whilst it should be easy to use, it must also leave scope for advanced users. Heritage Online, the OPAC for Heritage Cirqa, is cleverly designed, so that the commonly used features are presented to the forefront of the interface, whilst the more occasional, or advanced, search facilities are available as options.

Heritage Online has been extensively tested with a wide range of browsers such as Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Opera and can be used with mobile devices. Please contact us if you are concerned about support for a particular browser.

Try our demonstration version of Heritage Online. If you'd like some guidance as to how to test the features then we devised a script which covers the main areas.


The layout of the OPAC can be tailored to provide different views for your users. Some tailoring of the colour scheme and graphical content is also possible, so that you can add a logo and make the OPAC look more like other services offered in your institution. Users can be permitted to set their own preferences too.

Enlarge and Reduce icons are available, making the text easier to read for visually-impaired users. In addition, the terms used in a search are highlighted in both the brief and full search results screens

Examples of how Heritage Online can be customised, embedded within a page or linked to other products can be found in the 'News and Information' section of our demonstration version.


Several search environments are available allowing you to choose the ones that will best suit your users: simple, advanced and guided.

Apart from all the usual search capabilities you would expect from a modern OPAC, such as boolean, wildcard, truncated, loose, phrase, raw, numerical range and date range searching, Heritage also offers a variety of display and output formats, enabling users to define and sub-select their own results manage the way they are presented and forward the details via email.

Email the Librarian

Users of Heritage Online can contact staff for a variety of different reasons. Clicking on the ‘Email the librarian’ facility will open a new message to the library, with a drop-down list of subjects for the user to choose from (e.g. General enquiry, OPAC help request, Book purchase request, Postal loan request, Submit a Book Review etc).

Reader facilities

Heritage Online has a wide range of facilities for users. On the searching side they can save (and optionally share) their searches and items lists. They can review items (which extensive librarian control) or simply star-rate them and reserver or request them (useful for postal loans services). They can see their current loans (and charges) and loan histories; items can be renewed on line. They can also set their preferences. Users can be grouped with a different range of facilities being made to each group.


An easy to use system enabled you to keep your users informed of your latest news. The library calendar can also be permanently displayed as a reminder of opening hours.


Heritage Online is built along the WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) criteria, using xHTML and best accessibility practices to comply with both WAI (Web Accessibilty Initiative) and W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) standards, and is tested when required with their validator tools. Both of these tests should ensure that the web application is compatible with all of the major modern screen readers for the blind. Non-text components such as images, buttons and links are provided with alternative text, headings and sections are used to break up text, and the web application is designed to be navigable in a number of ways using mouse, keyboard and/or touch screen as appropriate. We also provide a high contrast theme, and adaptable text sizing, which allow users with sight impairments the ability to interact with the application in whichever way best suits their type and level of need.

Note that while Heritage Online gives you the capability to be WCAG compliant, the level of conformance will depend on your data.

Summary Functions List

  • 'General', 'Advanced' and 'Guided' Search modes
  • Search by keywords, title, author, notes, class number, or anywhere in the data
  • Boolean Operators, left and right truncation, wildcard searching and numerical range searching
  • Thesaurus
  • Enlarge and Reduce icons make text larger or smaller. Pre-defined 'high visibility' layout available
  • Word List provides immediate feedback on misspellings or non-existent words. 
  • Search by site or collectively
  • Search hints can be added to any indexed terms to give direction to the enquirer. These hints can include html links to websites and other resources.
  • Images, URLs and other associated items can be viewed from the search results
  • Book covers and other images can be incorporated to the catalogue record and viewed in search results. Book, DVD and CD covers are provided free of charge
  • Summary and Full Search results available to users
  • Saving of searches and search selections also enables the creation and publication of reading lists
  • Reader Information, showing: loans, overdues, reservations, charges, borrowing history, reviews, flagged items now available. Users can reserve and renew from here if permitted.
  • SDI (Selective Dissemination of Information) available
  • Enquiry Groupings allow different OPAC versions to run for different groups of users with different skill levels and requirements
  • Favourite searches and shared reading lists can be stored in both 'Citation' and 'Harvard' formats
  • 'Email the Librarian' facility. Users can send emails requesting items not in the library for example.
  • Extensive search logs are recorded and stored by Heritage Online, e.g. searches made which returned no hits.
  • Single Sign-on/Pass-through Authentication. Log on users automatically via other systems, with one username and password e.g. VLEs, Active Directory, LDAP, Shibboleth and Athens
  • Integration with other products such as Moodle, Sharepoint, Aquabrowser and Blackboard
  • Floor plans let you show your users where items are shelved
  • Moderated reviews and star ratings enable your users to enhance the value of your catalogue
  • Automatic linking to Google Books.
  • Library News facility which is easy to update regularly from a form within Heritage Cirqa. News can include html links (e.g. links to book/e-book of the week or other websites
  • Resource booking available from the OPAC (if the optional Advanced Bookings module is used)
  • Librarian functions of issue/return/manage readers available for those with the appropriate security access

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