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Archive for Category: Computer
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New Library Catalog Design Launches Oct 1st, 2012

   Tuesday, September 25th, 2012 - by: Brian Herzog, Head of Reference

New CatalogThe entire MVLC catalog will be getting a new look starting Monday, October 1st. Chelmsford has been testing it for the last few weeks, so you may have already seen it, and maybe even suggested ways to make it better.

The new catalog will be an improvement over the previous catalog. One very noticeable thing should be an improvement in the speed of the catalog, and also fewer "empty pages" (when all you see is a blank page and have to reload it).

Many new features will be introduced, including:

  1. A cleaner, easier-to-navigate interface
  2. The ability to view item details (call number, availability status, etc) on the search results screen by clicking on the “Show More Details” button
  3. The ability to configure which e-mail notifications you wish to receive from your library
  4. Text messaging will be available for holds notification, and to quickly send a call number to your phone (instead of writing it on scrap paper)
  5. You can set a preferred “Pickup Location” for requested materials for your patron account
  6. You can choose to record your check out and holds history in your patron account
  7. Enhanced functionality to bookbags (no called My Lists)
  8. You can choose to stay logged into the catalog when logging in from home, instead of getting kicked out after a little while
  9. More information on using these new features is also available

We've had a lot of great feedback so far from patrons who've tested the new catalog, so we're excited to launch the new design and features. If you notice any glitches after Monday, or have any questions whatsoever, please contact the Reference Desk.

   Posted in Computer, Library Information | No Comments »

The Library Catalog Is Getting A New Look!

   Saturday, August 11th, 2012 - by: Brian Herzog, Head of Reference

New CatalogThe library catalog for the Merrimack Valley is in the process of getting both a new look and some new features. Chelmsford is one of the libraries that will be testing out the new catalog - and we'd like to hear what you think.

Try Out the New Catalog

Some of the new features are:

  • Cleaner look & faster loading
  • Better search options
  • Keep track of items you've checked out
  • More bookbags options (now called My Lists)
  • Stay logged in at home

Read about how to use some of the new features in this version of the catalog.

We'll be testing the new version of the catalog until September, when it will go live for all the area libraries. In the meantime, our old catalog is still available.

Love it or hate it, please submit your feedback through the "Patron Catalog Survey" link in the top right corner of the new catalog! Or, talk to any library staff person - and ask us questions, too!

   Posted in Computer, Library Information | No Comments »

Position on Hold List Now Available - Finally!

   Tuesday, August 9th, 2011 - by: Brian Herzog, Head of Reference

Since launching with our new Evergreen catalog in May, the single biggest request from patrons has been this:

How do I see what number I am on the wait list for an item I have on request?

Previously, patrons had to contact the library and have staff look this up. But now this feature has been added to the My Account screen, so patrons can log in and see this information themselves.

To view this, use your barcode and PIN combination to log into your My Account. Next, click the "Items on Hold" tab, which will list everything you have on hold. And now, as seen in the image below, the "Status" column will tell you the number you are on the wait list, how long the wait list is total, and also the number of "potential items" that can fill this hold:

Catalog wait list position

There are a couple things to note with this listing:

  • The "potential items" means the number of copies of that item (at all MVLC libraries) that are available to fill the hold (this automatically ignores copies that are lost, missing, library-use only, or any other item that can't fill the hold)
  • Your number is your position in the whole holds queue, regardless of where other people in line are going to pick up their item. Your wait might actually be shorter than expected, because the only people who are really "ahead" of you in line are the people who are also picking up their item at the same library as you.

    So, if you're #42 on a list of 156, but only 3 other patrons want to pick up the item in the same library as you, then you're really only #4. And Evergreen will fill all holds at one library before moving on to the next, so if the item ends up at your pickup location, you'll get it before the other 155 people on the list

Filling holds can be complicated, so if you have any questions about what your Status column means, or the particulars of how the catalog works, please see a library staff person.

Also, this new feature marks another feature made possible by consortium developers. One main reason this catalog was chosen was that we can add to it - if you have any other suggestions, please contact Brian Herzog, Head of Reference, at bherzog@mvlc.org or 978-256-5521 x211.

   Posted in Computer, Library Information | No Comments »

Tips for Searching the Catalog

   Thursday, July 30th, 2009 - by: Brian Herzog, Head of Reference

Searching the library's catalog can sometimes be quirky, so here are a few tips explaining how it works, and how to more easily find what you're looking for.

Using the Basic Search
Basic SearchMost of the time, people use the Basic Search - it gives four options:

  • General Keyword: tries to match your search to anything in any field
  • Author Keyword: tries to match your search to anything in the author field, in any order
  • Title Keyword: tries to match your search to anything it the title field
  • Subject Keyword: tries to match your search to the Library of Congress Subject Headings field

Using the Basic Search is best when you're starting out, or know a little but about what you want to find. For instance, if you know some of the title and the author's last name, Basic Search is perfect. You can even use the General Keyword to combine words from the author and title.


Using the Advanced Search
Advanced SearchFor people wanting a little more control over their search, Advanced Search lets you set various limits. In addition the same four search options as the Basic Search, you can also:

  • Limit by Location (only see what's in the Chelmsford Library)
  • Limit by Format (search for only books, or only DVDs...)
  • Limit by Language (find only material in Russian...)
  • Sort the Results (by publication year, title, author...)


General Search Tips:
No matter which kind of search you do, here are a few general tips to improve your ability to find what you're looking for.

  1. Spelling is Important! Our catalog doesn't have a "Did you mean…" spell check feature, so if you're not sure of the spelling, use wildcards
  2. Pluralization Matters! Searching for gladiator will not also match gladiators - use a wildcard to search for both
  3. What Doesn't Matter: capitalization, punctuation and initial articles (The Memory Keeper's Daughter is the same as memory keepers daughter)
  4. Search Limiting

  5. Limit Your Search! The catalog searches all the libraries in the MVLC - to see only the items in Chelmsford, use the Advanced Search or click on Chelmsford in the Limit Box at the top of the search results page (and pictured here) and click the arrow button
  6. Use Wildcards! Wildcard characters let you build in some flexibility to your search. There are two kinds:
    • use * and the end of words (for instance, librar* will find library, libraries, librarian, etc.)
    • use ? inside of words (for instance, wom?n will find woman, women, womyn, etc.)
  7. Use Boolean Logic - including the words NOT, AND, OR (must be in all capital letters) lets you narrow a search, for instance potter NOT harry NOT beatrix

If you have any questions on the search tips above, or have questions about finding items in the catalog or on the shelves, please contact the Reference Desk at askus@mvlc.org or 978-256-5521.

Thanks to Tracy Swaim at MVLC for creating a list of search tips.

   Posted in Computer | No Comments »

Flash Drives at the Reference Desk

   Saturday, June 7th, 2008 - by: Brian Herzog, Head of Reference

Flash DriveTo keep up with changing computer technology, the Library started offering flash drives at the Reference Desk last year. Flash drives (also called USB drives, jump drives, thumb drives and memory sticks) let people store much more of their work in a smaller package, and they are more reliable than the old style 3-1/2" square floppy disks.

The flash drives now available at the Reference Desk are DataTravelers from Kingston, and cost $8.00. They can hold 1 gigabyte of information - which is the equivalent of almost 900 3-1/2" floppy disks!

Using your flash drive on a computer (whether in the Library or somewhere else) is as easy as saving to a floppy disk or the hard drive. Just plug it in (all Library computers have USB ports on the front), browse to your drive, and click save.

If you have any questions about flash drives in general, or need help using one on a computer in the Library, please contact the Reference Desk.

   Posted in Computer, Current News | No Comments »

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