Asked Questions about the
New Library Catalog
The Florida Center
for Library Automation (FCLA) is implementing a new library catalog
search engine for the 11 State University Libraries (SUL) of Florida
using commercial software from Endeca Technologies, Inc.
a new catalog?
advantages are there?
intent is to provide library users
with a more effective searching experience
by providing more guidance -- especially in narrowing initial
that are too broad. The new catalog exposes terms in
library catalog records in ways that are much more prominent than in
traditional library catalogs; these terms can be easily clicked to
to view records having the most interest to a user.
key enhancement is better ranking of
search results. Traditional
library catalog systems are not known for their ability to rank
results. Users expect good results; they don't care about how many, but
they do expect good results on the first page. For the vast majority of
requests, the new catalog improves results significantly. And this
should improve further over time.
- UP-FRONT DUE DATES: Another
improvement is that due date
information for most items appears right
on the Results List;
for most items it will no longer be necessary to go to a different
screen to see this important information.
- SUL UNION CATALOG:
The way library
is captured and
stored to create the SUL individual library catalogs also enables
creation of a Union Catalog for the SUL (which has not existed for
its 11 catalogs since 2004). One "master" record serves as the basis
all local catalogs and the Union Catalog view.
is the current status of the new
- A spell-check
feature is now
available (something not generally
available in traditional library catalogs).
- Users can browse search
results by subject using various call number classification systems
(Library of Congress, National Library of Medicine, Superintendent of
Documents, and Dewey Decimal.)
- Over time
catalog is expected to allow integrating other FCLA Digital Library
and article data from separate databases into library catalog
results to create a more powerful and comprehensive mechanism for
retrieving library research data.
expected that this system will provide a platform allowing more
flexibility for future user interface development than the
previous library catalog.
can I connect
to the new catalogs?
- The individual
institution and Union catalogs are all available
for use; see
below. Each of the State
University Libraries will
decide independently when the new catalog
is ready to be featured as its primary library catalog. Many have
decided to switch in time for the start of Fall Semester, 2007.
- All but the most recently added catalog
records are included. At this
time, updates to add new records are being run twice weekly.
Eventually it is expected that updates will occur nightly.
- Due date and
other item-level information seen on the Results List and the Full
record is up to date.
retrieved in real-time by linking to the underlying library system data
- The previous catalogs will continue to be
available, but will not be enhanced. At least for now, some functions are performed better using
that platform. For example, the ability to BROWSE HEADINGS
(call number, subject, author, and title) is currently superior in the
catalog. In fact, there is an option on the new catalog's Advanced
Search screen to connect to the previous catalog to perform these
BROWSE HEADINGS searches. Another advantage of the previous catalog is
that brand new items added to the library collection are only available
- The new catalog is
created by merging catalog record information from the 11 Library
catalog databases into a "master" record for each book, etc. in
library collections. Both the union and local catalog will retrieve and
display information from this same record. This merging process is very
complex and is being reviewed to ensure that the catalogs will all be
as useful and accurate as possible.
- The new catalog will
continue to evolve. While considerable progress has already
been made toward
adapting this new Web searching platform to serve as an effective
library discovery and retrieval mechanism, we expect to take advantage
of additional opportunites to enhance search retrieval
and build other useful functionality in the future.
What else will I
want to know
about searching the new catalogs?
- There is a brief interactive
tutorial for the
Union Catalog. It
will lead you through
the basics of navigation using this new catalog. The local catalogs
work in almost the same way (although with fewer records since only the
local collection is featured).
- It is possible to enter terms in the search
box surrounded by "quotation marks" to search for exact phrases and
thereby limit results retrieved.
- Without typing any search terms, you may just
click the SEARCH button to begin browsing the entire collection of
records. Just click any terms on the resulting screen to begin
"drilling down" to records of interest.
- The Browser BACK button can be used. You may
also "go back up" and remove selected facets by clicking the that you see.
- There is an Advanced Search screen that
allows entering a refined search by targetting words in specific
fields, or by selecting location, language, and format limits. Other
options for entering more complex Boolean searches -- and for
connectiung to the previous catalog to do traditional browse headings
searches are also available.
is software that is purchased by many businesses and other large
organizations (e.g. Home Depot and WalMart) to organize and present data
available on their Web
indicated on the Endeca Technologies Inc. home page at http://endeca.com/, “Endeca's unique
access platform helps people find, analyze and understand information
never before possible.” This software was first used for
offering a library catalog at North Carolina State University in
In consultation with FCLA staff, last updated August 16,
Public Services Planning Committee (PSPC)