Updated computing capabilities are on the way for staff and students as the University Library adopts a new online management system, replacing the current software that has been in place for over 15 years.

NOTIS, the software implemented in 1987 to operate the Michigan Research Library Network, or MIRLYN, is no longer being supported by its original vendor, said Barbara MacAdam, head of reference and instruction of the Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library. It will be replaced by new software from Ex Libris, a worldwide supplier of software for libraries.

“The new system will integrate all our digital resources much better,” MacAdam said.

In addition to increasing system efficiency, the software update promises versatility in searching and viewing results.

“You will be able to search and view the results in the vernacular of more than 20 languages, such as Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Hebrew,” MacAdam said.

Another feature of the new system, she said, will be the ability to search library catalogs, electronic journals and other databases at the same time.

“It appears the easier we make it for students to find our collections and services through technology, the more students use the library and all its resources,” MacAdam said.

According to focus groups and surveys conducted by the University Library, use of the online catalog increased 19 percent from 1998 to 2002.

LSA Freshman Akshay Patel said he feels the University’s online services are already easy and efficient.

“I feel more comfortable using the computing services because of the user-friendly environment,” he said.

The University Library is also making initiatives in student services. “Ask us Now,” a recently introduced reference service, uses instant-messaging to allow students to get immediate help from a librarian while working online.

To help students map out a research strategy and evaluate the information they find, the library will offer a new service titled “Searchpath.”

MacAdam said the new management system will take about 18 months to implement and will most likely be fully operational by Fall 2004.

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