Beta test the new Library Catalog

The Library strongly encourages members of the University of Chicago community to participate in a beta test of the new Library Catalog at catalog.lib.uchicago.edu. The end of vendor support for the current Library Catalog and Lens, both slated for this summer, requires the implementation of a new catalog.

New Catalog Beta homepage

The new Library Catalog homepage

The design goals for the new Library Catalog were drawn from an extensive series of interviews with UChicago faculty and students, conducted to ensure that the new tool will meet the needs of researchers. The new Catalog design retains all of the functionality that patrons identified as valuable in the existing systems and adds new features requested during interviews.

Notable features in the beta release

The new UChicago Library Catalog features a simple, clean visual design and a variety of search options:

  • searches can be limited by format, language, and other criteria;
  • “Begins With” browsing allows quick retrieval of known titles or authors;
  • materials can be viewed in call number order;
  • “power searching” options such as Boolean operators and nested search terms allow for precise recall of catalog records.

New features in this Catalog requested by users include display of the current availability of items on the search results page, as well as easier access to ebooks and ejournals.

Still in development

This beta version of the Catalog is not complete.  Features still under development include

  • My Account features, such as emailing, saving, and exporting records;
  • optimization of the Catalog for use on mobile devices;
  • inclusion of expanded Library content, such as the Library website, archival finding aids, and digital collections.

This functionality will be added over the coming months. The beta period will also give the Library the opportunity to identify and fix data and display problems before the Catalog goes into full production later this year.

Exporting user data

Unfortunately, lists created by users of the current Catalog and MyDiscoveries records saved by users of Lens cannot be migrated to the new Library Catalog.  The Library will soon post instructions on how users can export these records, and users will have at least until the end of June to do so.

Share your comments

To begin beta testing the new Catalog, simply go to catalog.lib.uchicago.edu and begin a search, or click the Help button on any Catalog page for more information.  Please share your comments with us on the feedback form, also available from the Catalog header. We are particularly interested in your feedback regarding visual design and layout, organization of results and records, ease and effectiveness of search construction, and the quality and ranking of results.

The new University of Chicago Library Catalog is a customized version of the VuFind software platform, an open-source search tool originally developed at Villanova University. Research libraries and collections currently using VuFind include the University of Michigan Library, the HathiTrust, and the National Libraries of Australia, Finland, and Ireland.

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