July 10, 2013
When I started at MCPL, we kept our library catalog up to date by replacing and discarding catalog cards that listed the information for each book. As the times and technologies have changed, bringing first a computer-based catalog and then an Internet-based library catalog, the old card catalog became something of the past. I still remember the card catalog fondly, but I certainly enjoy the advancement of search options, the ability to place holds on items that are at a different location, and the ability to access the library catalog from anywhere you are.
Just as we had to move with the technology and replace the card catalog, we have to constantly be on top of the changes in the current online catalog options. As you may have noticed, we have recently advanced our catalog to a much more visual and intuitive system. While we had planned to roll this new catalog out slowly, the technology had other ideas. Our most recent mandatory software update to the old catalog caused the whole system to cease processing searches and requests. Luckily, we didn't have to go so far as to dust off the old card catalog to keep things running. Thanks to our testing and foresight to prepare our new catalog early, we were able to make the switch with a minimum of disruption to our library catalog and services.
Many of you, like me, may look back at the old catalogs with happy memories. But I think you’ll find that this new catalog offers a wonderful new experience. While many things may appear to have changed on the surface, the new catalog gives you what MCPL has always striven to give all of you: access to information, ideas, and innovation.
There are many new exciting features of the new catalog including searching only our eBook offerings, the ability to text your search results and narrow or expand your search without starting over, but many of the tried and true aspects are still there. The ability to create private book lists, search by author and title (now with just a keyword search), place holds (even on multiple items at once), and more.
One of my favorite features of the new catalog, and what I am sure will become your favorite, is that the searching is now using "fuzzy" logic. This means that words and phrases in certain parts of the library item’s information are given more weight than if those terms appeared in other places. For example, words in the title will show up sooner than those in the author, subjects, or summary fields of a record because the most common type of search that is done is a title search. In addition, the fuzzy searching allows for some misspelling of terms and can also include terms with different suffixes in the results that might not have appeared in the old catalog. For example, searching for the term “read” will also return results for “reader,” “reading,” and “reads.”
I would like to apologize for any inconvenience our switch may have caused you, but I am certainly glad that we had a Plan B in place, especially one that will provide an even better customer experience!
A special thanks to Cody Croan and Andrew McKinley for putting together this teaser video.
Steven V. Potter
Library Director and CEO