This blog documents news and updates from the OLS Systems department. Expect product updates and tips & tricks for making the most of the systems we support, as well as how-to information to help you achieve certain tasks. Read more about OLS »
Note: For definitions of technical terms used throughout this post, please refer to the Glossary at the bottom of this entry.
The Office of Library Services (“OLS”) has taken the CUNY Libraries through the initial migration of library data from disparate and no systems into NOTIS (late 1980s/early 1990s) and then into Aleph circa 2002. It’s fifteen years later and we are looking to migrate again, this time to an LSP.
If you work in technical or access services, you’re used to the ILS being “the catalog” you use to perform your daily activities. You use Aleph to place orders, pay bills, catalog new acquisitions, check in serials, manage patrons, and keep track of all of the items going into and out of your library. You’re also aware that Aleph is a Windows application that needs to be installed on your workstation. You may have experienced the cumbersome and labor-intensive process of upgrading the system from one version to the next. When we migrate to an LSP, you will continue to have access to all of the tools you need to do your job: you will place orders, pay bills, catalog new acquisitions, check in serials, manage patrons, and keep track of all of the items going into and out of your library. However, the system you use to do all of these things will be different: LSPs are necessarily cloud-based so they can be accessed from any browser on any computer; updates are released on a regular basis and are done quietly in the background; to-do lists and workflows are built into the system; management of e-resources is baked right into the product and is not an afterthought. Generally speaking, an LSP is a system built for the modern library and is meant to make your daily work activities easier.
If you work in public services (i.e., reference or instruction), you’re used to the OPAC being “the catalog” you use to search the library’s holdings. However, LSPs do not come packaged with OPACs. Instead, they rely on integration with a discovery system to provide a public web interface. Therefore, when we finally migrate to an LSP, the OPAC as we know it will be gone. That is, the public-facing interface to Aleph that we have been using for 15 years will be deprecated and, in its stead, we will rely entirely on a discovery system to search our library collections. Luckily, we have been live with CUNY OneSearch since the Fall 2014 semester so we have a lot of experience with a discovery system! OneSearch is the catalog of our physical library collections across the University as well as local electronic and digital collections. Our patrons use OneSearch to find their textbooks, identify peer-reviewed articles for their research papers, conduct research across multiple disciplines when doing a literature review, and more.
So, yes, in a sense, the catalog is going away—really, though, it’s metamorphosing. We will choose a new LSP that will allow us to more easily conduct all essential library activities traditionally carried out by an ILS. Our bibliographic, holding, and items records will retain a familiar form, our invoices will be maintained, our orders will still be tracked, and our patrons will continue to be managed. The OPAC, on the other hand, is certainly going away. However, we will continue to discover our library collections through OneSearch so we will continue to have a public-facing web interface for our library collections.
On Sunday, August 27, 2017, our instance of OneSearch was updated to the latest service pack release of the underlying discovery software. This was a major update and includes many new or updated features:
attention deficit disorder, or name variations such as
asata shakur). You are provided with the option to revert to using only your original search term. This feature is based on vocabularies such as LC subject headings and MeSH.
Along with the roll-out of the new OneSearch user interface, the Office of Library Services has also introduced a new feature to OneSearch:
Below the “Send to” options in the full display of each record is an area that reads:
See something that doesn’t look right? Report it!
By clicking on “Report it,” you will be taken to a form that already has the permalink of the record filled in. Fill out the remaining fields (all of which are mandatory) and you’ll hear back from someone in OLS within 24-48 hours (excluding weekends and holidays).
When we first introduced OneSearch three years ago, OLS also released a video providing an overview of the tool. Now that we’re about to roll out a brand new interface, we’ve created a brand new video!
Please feel free to share this video with colleagues, students, and anyone else who may be new to OneSearch—or to the new UI!
Following a comment from a campus, we were able to improve functionality in OneSearch by increasing patron account checks for renewability.* What does this mean for you? Items on loan that are not renewable (because they are on hold for another patron) now say so in your patron account!
Prior to this fix, all active loans displayed as “Renewable,” even if they were currently on hold for other patrons (and, thus, not eligible for renewal). This is a minor improvement but one whose effects will be felt immediately by those who borrow library items and rely on OneSearch to provide accurate renewal statuses in order to renew them.
* Interested in the technical details? They are outlined in this Ex Libris Knowledge Center article: Primo-Aleph API: Items that are not renewable are displayed as status “renewable”.