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Smith, Five Colleges Introduce New Online System

As Smith’s library users log on to search for and reserve books and other materials in the coming weeks, they will see a new, friendlier format that emphasizes broader access to Five College libraries resources and search customization capabilities.

Beginning Monday, August 28, Smith’s libraries, along with those at the other Five College institutions, will switch to a new online library catalog. The new system, though it will appear different from its predecessor, will contain all the search capabilities of the previous system while adding new functionality.

“This new management software is easier to use and vastly increases the libraries’ abilities to accommodate our users’ research needs,” says Chris Loring, director of libraries at Smith. “I think those in the college community who use the online system to search for and acquire Five College library materials will be pleased.”

Perhaps most importantly, the new system will facilitate searches of holdings in all the Five College libraries simultaneously, including those in the University of Massachusetts libraries, previously only accessible through a separate search. That means some 6.5 million items -- the collective quantity of Five College Library system holdings -- will now be available in a single search.

Further, users will now be able to:

• tailor searches, limiting them to one institution, language, time period or format (such as books, DVDs, or theses);
• save searches to personal accounts; and
• eventually receive alerts when new materials of interest become available.

The new library management software is made by Ex Libris, a worldwide software company that specializes in library and information systems. The company’s products are used by most of the nation’s top universities, including Harvard, MIT, Brandeis, Duke, the University of Notre Dame, and the State University of New York (SUNY).

During the transition to the new system, online links will be highlighted on the Smith libraries home and research pages. Tutorials for the new system will also be available.

During the upcoming weekend, August 26-27, as the library management system changes, there will be a 24-hour hiatus during which no online catalog will be available. During that hiatus, access to other online databases will not be affected.

-Eric Sean Weld

8/24/06
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