Athenaeum Pro 2017 Changes

Configuring Guest Desktop Search (a.k.a. desktop OPAC)

Users of your library can search your catalogue either from a desktop computer (running FileMaker Pro) or from any device running a web browser (if your server is appropriately configured.

This article is about configuring desktop search.


To properly configure OPAC, you should know the component parts available to you and your users. These affect the appearance of the search screens as well as the tools users may utilise to effect their search.

Open Public Access Catalog - an archaic library jargon from the 1970s loosely referring to the search computer at which the search is performed and is often interchanged with the computer providing the facility (e.g the web server).
The image displayed behind the search screen - a picture or a solid colour, for example.
Copies or Titles
Defines whether users are searching individual Copies in your catalogue or the Titles list (e.g. you might have 5 copies of the 1 title The fault in the stars).
Recent Items
Items added to the catalogue in “recent” times. “Recent” changes depending upon how many items are added over time. Athenaeum first searches for items added in the last 30 days. If fewer than 10 items are found, the search is performed again for the last 60 days. Again, if fewer than 10 items, search is repeated for 90 and ultimately 180 days.
Include Images
The search screen will show images associated with Titles, Copies and Search topics.
Items in your catalogue checked as “Highlighted”, “Popular” or whatever term you decide.
Top Issues
The most issued items during the last 60 days.
Search Suggestions
Subject search terms you can add to the search screen to assist your library patrons with current topics of interest.
Web Page
An overlaid web page displayed below the search box. The contents can be defined either as a link to an external web page or can be raw HTML.


You may configure the desktop OPAC to be very simple - with a search box and little else - such as this:

about the simplest search screen
about the simplest search screen

or with lots of search aids such as Hot Topics, Top Issues and Search Suggestions, each potentially with their own image:

with all of the bells and whistles
with all of the bells and whistles

or somewhere in-between.

The top of the desktop search window shares common components, regardless of how you configure it:

Configuration of the other parts of desktop search is managed in Admin->customisation->search/OPAC


First, define your background.

Click List Backgrounds to show the list of available backgrounds (if any).

click on the list backgrounds, the image or the space where the image would be to see your background choices
click on the “list backgrounds”, the image or the space where the image would be to see your background choices

if you have no backgrounds, please contact and we will supply you with a starter set

Either find a background you wish to use or load your own image.

Adding a new Background

Click the “new background” button at the top of the screen. A blank row appears.

Click Insert Picture and select your image.

The image will appear on the left side of the window.

Select the colour of the overlay text that complements the colours of your image (if any) and then click the “Use this background” button.

Image considerations:
  • you may use an image consistent with your library’s branding, if you choose

  • the image can be changed at any time and the effects are effectively immediate

  • well chosen solid colours can look quite smart

  • the size (pixel dimensions) should be sufficient for the screens on your search computers. If the image is too small, the background might be blurry or pixelated. If the image is too large, you might see slower performance. 1280x960 pixels is a good starting size.

  • the image should be compressed sufficiently as .jpg or .png to reduce the size of the image, but not so much that quality is affected

  • if you are choosing to include search widgets on your search screen, consider having a very plain image or even a solid colour to reduce clutter and make the widgets easier to read

Titles or Copies?

Searches and results can be either Titles or Copies. Simply click the chosen option to toggle it:


  • the administrator is always managing copies
  • as you edit and add copies, Athenaeum updates the corresponding title automatically
  • it is possible for Athenaeum to sometimes not do this if you do large manual imports or bulk edits, in which case you can force Athenaeum to synchronise (Admin->utility->maintenance->Send Catalogue to titles)
  • synchronisation can be scheduled on your FileMaker Server to happen daily

Include Recent button

Checking this option will include the “recent” button at the top right of the search screen:

Library patrons can use that button to find recently catalogued items.

Search Lists include images

Selecting this option will cause Athenaeum to show images next to titles (in both the Topical and Top Issues lists if included) and the Search Topics lists (if included). The font size is also increased compared to when images are not shown.

As the images take up more space, fewer entries are shown in the various scrolling lists.

Compare these examples:

plain white background with and without images
plain white background with and without images

nb: of course, you must have associated images for these to be shown

Show “highlighted”

here, the administrator has described highlighted items as topical
here, the administrator has described highlighted items as “topical”

The show highlighted option will list items from your catalogued marked so.

Firstly, the name of “highlighted” items is set in Admin->customisation->catalogue defaults

The term entered there is used throughout the program.

Secondly, mark an item has highlighted by checking the check box at the top right on the catalogue detail screen:

When selected, Athenaeum will include a list of highlighted items. If only highlighted items are specified, then two lists are displayed, the right list being scrollable.

Show highlighted with and without images on a teal background
Show highlighted with and without images on a teal background

Show Top Issues

Selecting this will include one or two lists of the top issues in a scrollable list:

The top issues are calculated as the top 45 most issued titles over the last 60 days.

This can be done either at the main menu->quick statistics->update button (image below) or a script that can be scheduled on your FileMaker Server to run each evening.

Show Search Suggestions

show hot topics (search suggestions) with and without images
show “hot topics” (search suggestions) with and without images

Search suggestions are guided searches. You, as library administrator, enter subjects of relevance to your library patrons, which can also be grouped as reading lists.

When a user clicks on the suggestion, Athenaeum searches the subject field for the clicked suggestion and presents the matching results.

Configuring Search Suggestions

Configure the search suggestions, giving it a title, and then for every row adding the subject, an optional list (e.g. a reading list name) and optionally loading an image for each subject.

_to load an image, either drag a small image into the image box or right click on the image box and choose “Insert Picture…”admin

Configure a Web Page

Instead of showing the search widgets, you can specify a web page to display or enter raw html code (this assumes you know a little about html).

note: turning this option on turns off the previous three options and turning on any of the previous three options will turn this option off

Either specify the web page simply by pasting the url into the edit box to the right of the show web page option.

note that not all web pages allow embedding

Of course, embedded content doesn’t need to be topical, it can be fun and interactive, too.

You can also paste raw html code into the edit box (click the “i” icon to open up a larger view on that box).

Other search configurations

Simpler OPAC list view

This adjusts the results list so that clicking on an entry in the results list will show a pop-over with more detail, rather than changing screens to the detailed view.

Users can click the “show me more” button to see the full detail screen.

Saving Searches

Save unsuccessful searches and Save all searches will store the search terms and type of search employed by library patrons for the library administrator to review later.

Sort Catalogue list by Title automatically

Will always sort the results list alphabetically by title. Note if you have a heavily laden server and slow computers this might make for a slower experience for your patrons.

OPAC can print listings

When checked, will display a print button on the list view.

anyone can export containers

A container is the object that stores images (such as title image) or documents you have associated with catalogue entries.

If you have a catalogue of documents you might wish for users to be able to right click on the document and select “export field contents” to save the document to the local computer.

OPAC can write reviews

It is preferable that reviews of catalogue entries only be written by authorised patrons (that is, they have entered an account and password recognised by Athenaeum).

However, particularly in primary schools, authentication isn’t very practical, so you can allow anonymous reviewers by checking this setting. Reviewers will need to identify themselves, however there is a level of honesty implied here.

note: remember that reviews are not automatically authorised and therefore are not available to other users until you authorise them