Oh, the books you’ll find and the things you can do! – When you take full advantage of the library’s catalog!
Do you know that you can quickly find keywords in the library’s print books via the Google Preview link in the catalog? Google Preview will take you deeper into a book than the best index.
Have you set up annotated reading or movie lists in the catalog and shared them with students and colleagues? Read the Add to Favorites section of my blog post Falvey Favorites, Tags, and Lists for more information.
Use the Text this icon to text records and call numbers to yourself or others. Cite this will generate instant citations in MLA and APA styles. Need Chicago style? Use Export Record to export references to RefWorks and EndNote.
Curious about new books and movies in the library’s collection? Go to the New Items search. Results can be narrowed with the now familiar facets in the catalog. Options include format, classification, language, genre, publication year and era. Click here to link to a list of new movies in the library’s collection.
Last but not least, if you switch over from Books & more to Combined Results, you will notice that your search results include journal articles, book reviews, and dissertations besides the traditional catalog fare of books, DVDs and journal records. Falvey’s familiar blue FindIt button will link you to online journal articles or generate an interlibrary loan form.
Falvey’s technology team is continuously improving the online catalog and the fame of the little catalog that could is spreading around the globe. I still remember when it all started as a home-grown open-source experiment here at Falvey Library back in 2006. Vufind, as the catalog is known outside Villanova, is the brainchild of Joe Lucia, whose vision of a next generation catalog was recognized with the prestigious Mellon Award for Technology Cooperation in 2008. Librarians at Villanova, initially nervous and cautious, had to overcome many roadblocks on the path to catalog bliss. The funny things is, when things run smoothly, we take them for granted. Sometime last year, however, it dawned on me how much our little catalog was doing for me. Others had noticed the catalogs capabilities too: A number of large and small, public and academic libraries nationally and internationally have adopted Villanova’s homegrown catalog. Among them are the National Library of Ireland, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, the library system at Yale University, the National Library of Australia and joining them soon, the Free Library of Philadelphia.
I cannot pinpoint the exact moment when I stopped complaining about software bugs to the technology team here at Falvey. However, when I learned about the new Google Preview feature I was instantly excited. Somehow I had always accepted that a catalog search is limited to authors, titles and subjects. The addition of table of contents to the catalog was an enormous progress. Who would have thought that a few years later it would be possible to search the full text of books in Falvey’s collection. Google Preview is rapidly turning into a gateway to many a book on Falvey’s shelves. A simple click on the icon will take you to Google Books where you can search the full text of the book for a reference, a name or any other keyword. Text snippets reveal the page and context in which your keywords appear. To read the entire book you still need to come to the library to check it out unless it is one of the library’s increasingly popular e-books.
The Google Preview plug-in was developed by a programmer at the National Library of Ireland who shared his code with the Vufind community.
Isn’t it time you took a fresh look at the library’s catalog? Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments that you may have.