McMaster opted to go the NC State route and contract with Endeca to makeover their OPAC and add faceted browsing. This move was based on their dissatisfaction with their existing catalog, backed up by LibQual results. Known-item searching was fine, but noodling around on a topic was hard.
The question on my mind as she started was why do this at all. At last year's Access, I heard the NC State Endeca talk. It was all fine and well, until the part where he said that their usability testing showed that it was no easier to use (forget the details, but that was the gist). The Endeca overlay and the faceted browsing thing is still very librarianly in concept, so it begs the question of why put an exotic overlay on a flawed core.
She did a live demo, and rather than improve on the complexity of NC State's catalog, they built an even more visually busy catalog, offering a dizzying array of search options. This seems like two trends in conflict; on the one hand, you have the urge to make it easier for users, but you can't resist the urge to offer "librarianly" options from the basic search page, such as searching by standard numbers. The facets show up on the results collapsed on the left (ten facet groups total!!!). Anyone who has worked with SFX knows that collapsed menus might as well not be there. I loathe hide/show menus when I'm on some site as a user, a not uncommon dislike, I suspect.
They have no wildcard searching and use generic stemming instead, and the interface cannot do true Boolean other than the default and and a somewhat kludged together or search. Their own usability testing showed that 80% of users ignored the 'dimensions' (the facets). Type-ahead, one of the great features of Endeca, was too slow, so they shut if off. Too many users waited for it to complete before searching. Currently, holdings information requires a call to their native interface, as with NCSU. They hope to fix that soon. They're also working on putting back functionality from their native interface: a 'mylist' function, emailing results, and a search history.