Thursday, August 31, 2006

A new look to UMass Amherst Library Website, and the new online catalog

The Library's Website has undergone a radical redesign, and we hope that our patrons will find it easier to use, once they get over the initial shock. The content is essentially the same, except for the new catalog, which had its debut this week also.

In the months to come, we are also changing the way the contents of the Library's Website are organized, so that behind the scenes, it will be contained in a "content management system." While we hope that this change will be invisible to our patrons, we also believe that it will allow the content to be more current, since global changes will be easier to make.

The new online library catalog, mentioned above, has 'gone live' as they are saying over in Du Bois, and it is not without problems. This gigantic piece of software is really called an 'integrated library system' or ILS. An ILS not only contains the catalog of our materials and electronic resources, it also includes the circulation system and all the transactions, patrons, holds, bills, etc., and the acquisitions module - this tracks all the library materials we order and purchase. On top of that, this one system is shared by five separate institutions, the Five Colleges; so you can see that glitches are inevitable in the implementation of something so massive. We beg your patience and understanding.

That said, please do let us know when you encounter a problem. You might be the first one to notice something awry. Do also let us know if you find something that you like - though at this juncture I'm not holding my breath!

Wish us luck!

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