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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.

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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 »




Search Tips for the New Evergreen Catalog

   Wednesday, June 1st, 2011 - by: Brian Herzog, Head of Reference

Evergreen logoThe new catalog is up and running! The first few days included a few glitches, but we've been getting great feedback from patrons (and staff!), and fixes and improvements should start appearing soon.

In the meantime, here are a few search tips - the new catalog is a little different from the old one, but it's also much better.

Evergreen Catalog Search Tips

  • Enter your search words in any order. So, a search for compass golden gives the same results as a search for golden compass. Adding more search words gives fewer, and more specific, results
    • This is also true for author searches. Both David Suzuki and Suzuki, David will return results for the same author
  • Evergreen is also forgiving about plurals and alternate word endings, so if you enter dogs, Evergreen will also find items with dog
  • Do not use the word AND to join search terms
    • AND is automatically used to join all search terms. So, a search for golden compass will search for entries that contain both golden and compass
    • Boolean operators such as and, or, not are not considered special and are searched for like any other word. So, a search for golden and compass will not return the title golden compass. Putting it another way, there are no stop words that are automatically ignored by the search engine
  • Don’t worry about white space, exact punctuation, or capitalization
  • Search for an exact phrase using double-quotes. For example “golden compass”
  • Use * (asterisk) as a wildcard to truncate search terms, e.g. comp* golden may return the same results for compass golden and more
  • Exclude a term from the search, using - (minus) . For example, vacations –britain will search for materials on vacations that do not make reference to Britain

You can form more complex searches using the Advanced Search features. You can also click the Advanced button under the search box to build complex searches using Boolean operator OR to connect your terms.

Improving a Search With Few Results

If only a few hits were returned from your search, you may see some suggestions for expanding or altering your search at the bottom of the search results list. These alternate search terms are words that are similar to your search terms in spelling or sound. Selecting one of the links performs a search with the new search terms.
(Some material adapted from "Sitka Evergreen Training Manual", Copyright © 2011 BC Libraries Cooperative)

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