Friday, 28 September 2012

Catalogue changes - introducing VuFind

We are introducing a new way of searching the library catalogue and are replacing AquaBrowser with a new system called VuFind. We hope that the change won't be too traumatic for our users, but there are a number of advantages to introducing VuFind both in terms of what it offers us now, and what we can do with it in the months to come. VuFind is an open source system so gives us a deal of flexibility in how we use it.

Without going into too much detail some of the things you might notice about it, especially if you are used to our existing systems are:
  • You can manage your library account through it if you wish. This means that you can see what you have on loan, see what you have requested and if you have any fines or messages on your record. You can also place requests without being taken back to our standard system. Note that you will need a PIN, but there are instructions.
  • We have introduced cover images where these are available and are also looking at Tables of Contents and other extended information.
  • VuFind has some social features so that users can add tags to records or even add comments about titles. Please keep these sensible and pertinent to an academic library! You can also create your own book lists attached to your account. 
  • You can have VuFind in a range of languages - but please note that we have not done any translating or customising of these! 
  • We have more or less got our formats displaying with their correct icons so it is clearer when an item is an e-book for instance. We are also better able to display journal holdings.
  • You can email searches and results to yourself, or a friend, and can also extract records for use in a range of reference tools including Zotero and EndNote. There is also a tool to give you a citation for the record in MLA and others, and we'll be adding Harvard shortly.
Our future plans include:
  • Having a mobile version. This exists but we need to customise it.
  • Having the contents of BIROn, the Birkbeck institutional repository, searchable through VuFind.
  • A few design tweaks and enhancements, but nothing that will detract from its operation.
  • Eventually linking it in to any future developments with regard to the searching of e-journals. 
Points to note:
  • The existing "standard catalogue" will remain and for the time being renewal links in our email notices will still point at that whilst VuFind is bedded in. 
  • If you log in to VuFind please make sure you log out - especially if you use a public catalogue in the library.
  • At the moment if you login and then change your barcode you will find that you get a new account and lose any favourites or other personal things like tags and comments. We will be putting a remedy for this in place.
  • To find our e-journals you will still need to search the eLibrary.
  • We are very keen to get your views and comments. There is a feedback link on the menu bar on VuFind leading to a short Google form. 
 You can find VuFind here - give it a go and let us know what you think.

Welcome (and welcome back)

Hello, and welcome to another year at Birkbeck. If you are new we hope that you enjoy your time at Birkbeck and that we are able to help you with your studies. Please have a look at our web site and find out what we can offer. We are running tours of the library every week day throughout October so please feel free to join one of these. You don't need to book, just turn up and wait by the library turnstile - we're to the left of Costa Coffee. Remember that you need to bring in your college ID card when you use the library - if you don't have your plastic card yet you can print off a temporary "card" via your MyBirkbeck profile. This will get you in and will allow you to borrow items. The library is open 08.30 - 23.45 every day from now until 20th December.

If you are returning you won't find too many changes this year (bar one, of which more shortly). Some of the books have moved around a little to try to get them on the shelves but there have been no major upheavals. Firtunately the scaffolding we had in place for a few weeks to enable repairs and decoration to take place has been taken down and we are assured that the roof no longer leaks!

Don't forget that you can follow us on Twitter (@BirkbeckLibrary) and we are also on Facebook.

Good luck with your studies - and please ask us if you need any help in using the library or its resources.