North Texas Daily

Library system gets revamped

Library system gets revamped

November 21
16:00 2012

Daniel Bissell
Staff Writer

The Integrated Library System, the online catalog system at Willis Library, is being upgraded to meet the demands of its growing database and the needs of the more than 8,000 students and faculty who use it every day.

The new system is being installed in gradual steps that have required the catalog to shut down. Online catalog systems were shut down on Nov. 8 and Nov. 18 to install parts of the upgrade. The third and final stage of the process will take place on Jan. 23, and Willis’ book and media search will be shut down from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Associate Dean of Libraries Cathy Hartman said the upgrades are mainly geared toward assisting library staff and will help them with organization as the collection and its user base continue to grow.

“We serve a lot of people,” Hartman said. “As many as 8,000 people use the library on a daily basis. We have a big database with millions of volumes.”

Resource Discovery Systems Librarian Jason Thomale said the current ILS controls the technological functions that take place at the library, including catalogs, printing and workflow. The upgraded ILS will create a profile of students and faculty members who swipe their ID cards at the library.

The profile will provide the library with activity data, such as book checkout history, to enhance the effectiveness of assistance provided at Willis.

Thomale said the system’s interface is also being switched from Millennium to Sierra, part of an upgrade from parent company Innovative Interfaces Inc.

“The ILS isn’t anything new,” he said. “Our system is just being upgraded to meet the needs of the students and faculty members who use our services.”

Thomale said the upgrades are mostly internal, and students and faculty can expect to see the same designs and functions on Willis Library computers.

“Most users probably will not notice the new changes,” Thomale said. “Most of the upgrades are occurring behind the scenes. But it will make operations run more efficiently.”

Many students who consistently spend time in Willis can expect small changes to the current system. Economics junior Craig Williams said he expects to appreciate the upgrades.

“I don’t think it will be much different than when Facebook makes changes,” Williams said. “It might be unfamiliar at first, but once we adjust we will likely appreciate the new system.”

Hartman said that although it is undergoing a major upgrade, the base of the program will remain the same, and the changes are being installed to meet the organizational needs of the library.

“It’s similar to a Microsoft Office upgrade,” Hartman said. “We’re not buying a new product, just updating the system we have in place.”

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