Katz Library revamps catalog

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Blake Bennett, Contributing Writer

Over the summer, Katz Library transitioned to a new catalog website. The school decided to switch to a new Library Management System (LMS) last spring, Upper Division Head Librarian Melissa Kazan said. The former LMS,​​ Symphony eLibrary, served public library systems with many branches or universities with large collections. “It was difficult to navigate and had too many features we paid for but didn’t use,” she said.

The new system, Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC), can be customized at any time — for example, the library added a ‘Recommended Reads’ section to the homepage. “We were impressed with the way AccessIT looked and the different functions available to users,” Middle Division Head Librarian Rachael Ricker said. 

The new system is more efficient and easier to navigate, Kazan said. “Patrons can easily log in to their own account on the OPAC to see what books they have out and what they have on hold,” she said. “For the library staff, almost every function is easier than in our former LMS — especially cataloging new books.” 

One new feature on OPAC is the “Visual Search” function. which allows students to search by book cover rather than text. Additionally, students can perform an “Advanced Search” or “Custom Search” which can be helpful when looking for specific resources. Other features are available to students who log into the site, such as writing reviews and accessing “My List,” where users keep track of books they want to check out and books they have on hold. Clicking on a book displays subject tags that students can click on to find similar selections, along with book reviews published online and posted by fellow students or faculty. 

The new website is more interactive for students, Kazan said. “One of the best features is that our students and staff can now write reviews for books once they are logged in that will be posted on the OPAC’s homepage.” This addition allows students to help each other find books, she said.

“Last year, it was very difficult to find books I wanted to read using the website, but with the new website, it is so easy and efficient,” Matthew Simpson (10) said.