The Corvallis Public Library offers an Aquabrowser, a visual catalog which offers patrons the opportunity to search for information using a traditional query box with results portrayed with visuals, such as photographs of book covers included, links to sources as well as links to reviews, annotations, and character and author information. Patrons don't have to specify whether they're searching for author, title, subject, or keyword; the search function is just one box, similar to Google. It also compares the patron's terms to the metadata in the library's catalog and creates a visual map (a "word cloud") of associations. This allows patrons the opportunity to discover new information and reformulate their query and broaden their search.
Additionally, patrons can refine their search by zooming on the details of various search options such as subject, author or category to find not only the exact information wanted but also the type of format preferred.
What a great tool!