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Q

Why has MCPL released a new catalog interface? What are its features?

Last Updated: Jul 12, 2013  |  1412 Views
Topics: Catalog

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Answer

Montgomery County Public Libraries released a new catalog interface on December 12, 2012, to provide customers better results when searching for library materials.

We implemented the new interface in response to customer feedback regarding MCPL’s library catalog.

  • Catalog users will see these improvements in the new catalog:
  • Better search results and more intuitive searching.
  • Filters for narrowing search results by facets -- such as author, format, audience, language, publication date, availability or holding library.
  • Instant actions from the search results: Users can select one or many titles at once to put on hold, to save to a list, to text, to email, or to share.
  • “Did you mean?” suggestions for misspelled queries or typos.
  • An attractive and more modern look.
  • The ability for users to create and save their own lists of titles when logged in to their accounts.
  • The ability to search the library catalog directly from MCPL’s Facebook page.

Try the new catalog now

And, if you are attached to the view of our holdings through our "classic catalog," have no fear.  It will still be available. 

Other Answers / Comments (15)

  1. Is there a convenient link from the new catalog to return to the main page? I did not see one on first viewing.
    by Adrian Verkouteren on Dec 13, 2012.
  2. The problem with our logo not appearing in the upper left of the catalog page in Firefox has now been fixed. The logo now appears and will take you back to the library's home page.
    by Ask a Librarian on Dec 14, 2012.
  3. I prefer the old catalog format. In the old, can display 20 items per page in a search, only 10 items in new. In old, can see all holds and checked out items, in easier to read format. New is too "cute" with less functionality.
    by SK on Dec 14, 2012.
  4. Hi, SK. Thanks for the feedback. The "classic" catalog interface will remain available. You'll see it in the left-navigation menu on our home page. For many people, the filtering options on the new catalog (which resemble what they see with Amazon and other shopping sites) as well as other features are advantageous. In addition, we have often heard from people who would like to keep their own lists of books in the catalog, which is possible in the new interface.
    by Ask-a-Librarian on Dec 14, 2012.
  5. Love the new catalog! Keep up the good work. What I hope is next on your list of "to-be-improved" is the part of the website for your account...where you can review/renew books. I hate it that I have to keep re-entering my library card number and PIN multiple times as I search for books and put them on hold.
    by Gail on Jan 02, 2013.
  6. Thanks for your feedback, Gail. Actually, you can sign into either catalog (the old interface or the new one) and then place holds without having to re-enter your library card number and PIN multiple times. On the new interface, the log-in is at the very top of the screen to the right of our logo. On the old interface, it is at the bottom of the main search screen. You may have to scroll down a little to see it.
    by Ask-a-Librarian on Jan 03, 2013.
  7. I often have the need to take out 2 copies of the same book. The new format does not tell me me how many copies are available at a specific location.
    by Helen on Jan 03, 2013.
  8. I used to be able to see upcoming, newly ordered books and place holds using the "forthcoming books" link.
    Now it justs says invalid login, and gives me a login page to access my account, which when I plug in my account number, says invalid account. (I can use the regular account link to access my account) Will the "forthcoming books" feature be activated, or has it been discontinued?
    by sf on Jan 09, 2013.
  9. Thanks so much for the new interface. I found the old system very frustrating. I could never find the books I wanted -- they would be hidden in a long list of books that were unrelated and I couldn't figure out what was wrong with my searches. I tried out the new system tonight for the first time and it seems great. I am finding exactly what I want on the first try!
    by MK on Jan 09, 2013.
  10. In the New catalog the On Order books are presented right away in the rotating pictures of book covers you see. You can click on the drop down menu that says On Order Fiction to switch it to any other on order genres of interest.
    by AskALibrarian on Jan 10, 2013.
  11. New search engine is great...but it crashes. A Lot. Is this a transition issue or will a higher-powered server be added?
    by JS on Jan 10, 2013.
  12. Thanks for your feedback, JS. The new catalog is a cloud application. We'll our tech team look into its stability. Sorry to hear you're having trouble with it.
    by Ask-a-Librarian on Jan 10, 2013.
  13. I love the new feature that allows you to save books to lists. I've been doing this for quite some time in the DC Library, and am happy to see MCPL doing the same!
    by Jenny on Jan 10, 2013.
  14. This new system took more time to complete, more time to figure out the steps and altogether not desirable for me. For the time being I'll stick to the old system.
    by shirley griffin on Jan 15, 2013.
  15. I like the features of the new catalog, and I find better search results with it too. The only thing I miss from the old catalog is the left sidebar with the "Find more on these topics", "Nearby items on shelf" and "You Found Titles in Categories" links.
    by RM on Jan 20, 2013.


Live Chat

For more than a decade, Montgomery County Public Libraries has offered a live, digital chat reference service. Developed by MCPL staff in 2002, with just a chat box on the main webpage, we quickly expanded to include chat reference options that could be accessed across the website and even in the catalog. This year the Maryland AskUsNow! cooperative, of which MCPL is a member, began providing the same type of chat reference service to all its participating members. We are pleased to announce that, by joining forces with the Maryland AskUsNow! cooperative - a network of librarians worldwide - MCPL will continue to support our community with the same quality chat reference service that we have offered for the last 11 years, but it will now be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We look forward to continuing our reference chats!

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