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Access to the Virtual Catalog is Back!

   Wednesday, October 26th, 2011 - by: Brian Herzog, Head of Reference

At long last (although it's only been a few months), library patrons can once again place requests in the statewide Virtual Catalog.

This functionality was lost when we migrated from our old catalog to the new Evergreen catalog, because Evergreen and the Virtual Catalog were not able to communicate properly. All summer, developers at the MVLC Central Site office have been working on restoring this communication, and after this weekend's update, it's finally back.

Here's how connecting to the Virtual Catalog works in Evergreen:

At the bottom of every page, there is a Virtual Catalog link. You should still search the MVLC catalog first, but if you can't find what you're looking for, click the Virtual Catalog link at the bottom of each catalog page (or contact the library).

Virtual Catalog link in the Chelmsford Library catalog

This will link you to the Virtual Catalog login page. On this page, first, use the dropdown box in the middle of the page to choose the library in which you'd like to pick up the item you are going to request. Second, enter your library card number into the box at right, and then click the Begin Searching the Virtual Catalog button.

Virtual Catalog login page

From that point on, searching and requesting in the Virtual Catalog works just like it did before - find the item you'd like, click the blue request button, and complete the form. You can also check your Virtual Catalog account to view the status of the requests you've placed through the Virtual Catalog.

We're very happy to have this functionality restored. If you have any questions about the Virtual Catalog, or need help placing a request, please contact the Reference Desk at askus@mvlc.org or 978-256-5521 x211.

   Posted in Library Information | No Comments »




Catalog Help: Frequently Asked (and Answered) Questions on Using the Catalog

   Friday, September 9th, 2011 - by: Brian Herzog, Head of Reference

Help DeskThe library's catalog, called Evergreen, is shared by the 36 libraries that make up the Merrimack Valley Library Consortium (MVLC). The Chelmsford Library and MVLC have created help pages that explain how to use the catalog, as well as highlight some of its features.

Catalog Help Topics

We'll add more information to our Catalog Help page as it is developed.

Questions?

If you have any questions or need more help with any aspect of the catalog, please contact the Reference Desk at askus@mvlc.org or 978-256-5521 x211.

   Posted in Library Information | No Comments »




Catalog Help: Using and Sharing Bookbags

   Thursday, September 1st, 2011 - by: Brian Herzog, Head of Reference

Help DeskOne of the features of our new Evergreen catalog is the "Bookbag" function. This lets you create different lists within your account, so you can track or share your activity or interests.

You can create as many bookbags as you like, use them for whatever you like, and add as many items to them as you like.

Ideas for Bookbags

  • Books you've read, movies you've seen, etc
  • Books you'd like to read, movies you'd like to see, etc
  • Your Top Ten favorite movies, etc
  • Lists divided by genre (ie, mystery books, history books, etc)
  • List of items for other people (ie, books Mom would enjoy)
  • Wish list for gifts

For instructions on how to create, use, and share bookbags, visit our Catalog Help: Using Bookbags page - or, contact the Reference Desk at askus@mvlc.org or 978-256-5521 x211.

   Posted in 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 »




Highlighted Features of the New Library Catalog

   Thursday, May 26th, 2011 - by: Brian Herzog, Head of Reference

Evergreen logoOne of the advantages of the new Evergreen catalog is that it is built on open source software - that is, software that we have the ability to modify and develop, according to our needs.

When the new catalog launches on Tuesday, May 31st, that won't be the end of the story. There will be some new features included in the new catalog that we're excited about, but there are even more features scheduled for development this summer.

And the best part is that additional improvements are always in development - so if there is something you'd like the catalog to do, please let us know by emailing askus@mvlc.org or calling the Reference Desk at 978-256-5521 x211.

New Catalog Features Available On Tuesday, May 31st

  • Expanded search tools, including the ability to limit to just fiction or non-fiction, by age range, and more
  • New "Did you mean...?" search suggestions, for searches with few or no results
  • Enhanced content for each book, including "if you liked this, you might also like" suggestions, series listings, similar author suggestions, reviews, excerpts, previews, and more (all from a variety of sources, conveniently gathered and presented in the catalog)
  • Customizable control of your account preferences, including saving which libraries you like to search, custom login passwords and usernames, options for hold notifications, and more
  • Ability to create multiple "bookbags" (previously called "My List"), and the ability to share your bookbags with others
  • RSS feeds for searches, so you can be notified when new items are added

"Coming Attractions" Launching Later This Year

  • Improvements to the overall design of the catalog
  • A version of the catalog that is mobile device-friendly
  • Ability to edit more of your contact information, including street and email addresses
  • An opt-in reading history, so you can track the books you've read and movies you've seen (or anything you've checked out)
  • Plus more!

If you have any questions about the new catalog, any of these features, or suggestions for additional new features, let us know!

   Posted in Library Information | No Comments »




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