Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Next Catalog Changes

We are continuing to tinker with the catalog, trying to make it more convenient and easier to understand.

The next thing to happen will be that the processing of the holds you place will be interactive: you will immediately see the holds on your record (instead of your having to wonder: did I do it? where did it go?) Of course the process will still require a lot of human intervention, but the first step will be automatic. Behind the scenes there will be a number of other changes in the holds procedures; if you notice anything unusual, please find a librarian and let us know. This is one of our most popular services: we have filled about 25,000 holds so far this year. That's a lot of transactions to change procedures on.

Following that, spell-check will be coming to your keyword searches. If you enter for example 'medevil history', it will ask you "Did you mean 'medieval history'"?, and also let you choose other possibillities from a pulldown list. Try it at Cedarville University or Westerville Public Library, who are running the same catalog software we have.

It's not going to be perfect, but only as good as the database it is checking against. Apparently it knows nothing about any possible misspelling of 'serotonin', for example. But when it works, it will be very helpful.

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