In one week, if all goes according to plan, University Libraries will jump over to a new (excuse the library terminology) Integrated Library System (or ILS). I know that sounds really boring, but it is actually quite exiting and will affect you. An ILS is basically a collection of databases that controls much of what we do in a library, including cataloging all of our items, keeping track of our patrons, circulating items to patrons, tracking what periodicals we have received, etc. The front end of the ILS is the library catalog. You know, that thing you use to find what we have in the library. This will be new as well.
The new catalog is the biggest difference for you and you’ll definitely want to spend some time getting to know it. The searching is radically different from our current catalog in that it will be much more forgiving if your search isn’t quite perfect. For example, you’ll no longer have to put AND between your terms. Like Google searching, it is assumed. Unfortunately, it is tricky to use OR, so come see me if you want to do that. It also will forgive some minor spelling mistakes and will look for any words that start with what you typed (this is called truncation, if you were curious). For example, typing symphon will find symphony, symphonies, symphonic, symphonie, etc. This is very useful in music, where these generic names are often slightly different than what you expect. There are a lot more changes in the catalog, and I’ll try to introduce them to you a little at a time.
The other big difference that you may notice is that we might be a little slower at circulation as we get used to the new system. Just be patient; we’ll figure it out as quickly as we can!
As always, feel free to ask any of the library staff if you have any questions or need any help. Enjoy!