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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.

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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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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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The Chelmsford Public Library to Unveil New Catalog

   Tuesday, May 24th, 2011 - by: Brian Herzog, Head of Reference

Evergreen logoThis is our official press release for the catalog migration.

We'll be posting additional details this week, but the new catalog is almost here - just seven more days!

The Chelmsford Public Library, along with 34 other libraries from the Merrimack Valley Library Consortium (MVLC), will be launching a new catalog over Memorial Day weekend.

The new catalog is part of a move to the Evergreen open source library system. While giving more control to MVLC libraries over the features offered in their catalog, this move is also expected to save money for the library, primarily in annual service fees and upgrade costs.

In order to launch the new catalog on May 31st, 2011, the current catalog will be taken offline at the end of the day on Friday, May 27, to allow the migration to happen over the Memorial Day weekend. Patrons will be able to check out and return materials at the library during our regular weekend hours, but the catalog will be unavailable for searching and placing holds. Since the catalog will be unavailable, patrons wishing to borrow library material on Saturday, May 28th, should bring their library cards with them to the library. Also, the library will have a delayed opening on Tuesday the 31st - our hours that day will be 1:00 PM - 9:00 PM.

Answers to common questions about the new catalog and migration process are available at http://www.chelmsfordlibrary.org/newcatalog/ including concerns about existing holds and access to other library systems.

Any holds previously placed on materials should carry over to the new system. Patrons will find that their personally-created lists in the bookbags will be available in the "My Accounts" area of the new catalog.

Access to some online databases may be disrupted, and our connection to the state-wide Virtual Catalog will be shutdown Friday, May 20, and restored during the summer.

Library patrons will enjoy some new features with the Evergreen system, such as the ability to share their bookbags with others, more flexibility in creating user passwords, and the ability to update their street and e-mail addresses. Patrons will also have more flexibility and control over their catalog searches with the new system, including setting account preferences to search the Chelmsford Library only or MVLC as a whole. Coming attractions over the next few months include an improved catalog design, a feature allowing users to track their reading history and a version of the catalog usable on mobile devices.

The Merrimack Valley Library Consortium will be the first large library system in Massachusetts to use Evergreen. The move to Evergreen is part of a larger project that will see MVLC, along with two other Massachusetts' library consortia, NOBLE and C/W MARS, using Evergreen by early 2012. These three library networks encompass approximately half of the public libraries in the Commonwealth along with a number of academic libraries. The project includes locally-sponsored development funded with a Library Services and Technology Act grant from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners and by participating libraries.

MVLC staff has already been active in developing enhancements to Evergreen. The staff has made changes to the software that have made it into the core Evergreen package. These changes include customizations to the patron registration form providing more flexibility to libraries operating in a consortium like MVLC; automatic staff client updates; an overhaul in the configuration of rules that control how long items circulate and improvements to staff client menus and toolbars. MVLC plans to continue contributing to the development of Evergreen in a way that will allow the software to best meet the needs of library users in Massachusetts.

For more information about the new Evergreen catalog please visit the Library's website at http://www.chelmsfordlibrary.org/newcatalog/ or contact Library Director Becky Herrmann at bherrmann@mvlc.org or 978-256-5521, ext 100.

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Questions and Answers about the New Library Catalog

   Tuesday, May 17th, 2011 - by: Brian Herzog, Head of Reference

Evergreen logoThe new catalog we're getting at the library will look and act pretty differently from our current catalog - it'll still have the same basic features and functions (and then some), but the links, buttons, and information will be in different places.

We'll be posting how-to instructions for using the catalog soon, but we're still getting a lot of general question about the migration process. We've compiled a list of common questions and answers, but here are a few of the most significant:

  • Why change - can't we keep the old catalog?
    The Chelmsford Library is part of the Merrimack Valley Library Consortium, and we share our catalog with the other 35 MVLC libraries. The catalog we had been using, Horizon, was discontinued by SirsiDynix. After evaluating many options, MVLC chose to migrate to Evergreen as the catalog for all MVLC libraries.
  • When is this change happening?
    Migration to the new system is planned for the Memorial Day weekend. The current system will be taken down at the end of business on Friday, May 27th, and the new system will go live on Tuesday, May 31.
  • Will Service be Disrupted?
    Yes, there will be some interruption in our normal services. Libraries will be able to check materials in and out, but we won't be able to search the catalog or place holds. Many databases and most electronic content, including Overdrive e-books and audiobooks, will also be unavailable. We will provide more specific information as the time draws closer.
  • What happens to all my holds and requests?
    MVLC staff have been working hard to make sure all patron data (names, contact info, requests, etc) is carried over to the new system. If you notice anything missing, please contact Brian Herzog, Head of Reference, at bherzog@mvlc.org or 978-256-5521 x211.

Check out the full list of questions and answers so far. If you have additional questions, please contact the Reference Desk at askus@mvlc.org or 978-256-5521 x211.

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