There were three significant enhancements and three minor enhancement and/or fixes made to the Catalog (BETA)interface in the past two months, and we also have some additional updates about upcoming features to the system.  If you have any concerns or questions about the Catalog (BETA)catalog interface, please send us a message via the feedback form.

UPDATES

Hold/recall requests can now be placed from within the Catalog (BETA) interface.  You no longer have to jump to the Classic Catalog to place hold-requests and you will only need to sign-in once per session to place as many hold-requests as you like.

“My Reserves,” Tab.  This tab provides you with listings of your current reserves materials.  The tab requires you to sign on to see its contents, and only provides you with your course reserves information.  This is a strong departure from the “classic” catalog’s “reserves” tab in that it doesn’t require you to remember (and correctly spell) your course numbers/instructors/titles, and provides total course reserves information on a single page.  We are hopeful that this approach will provide dramatically improved functionality.

The system now uses an enhanced login process, with auto-logout timing for all users.  You can log in using either your  NetID or your library card number from a single log-in screen that defaults to using your NetID when available.  All users’ sessions are also now timed so that they will end after a certain period of inactivity (currently, a half-hour of inactivity for logged-in patrons, an hour for non-logged-in users).  Unlike the Classic Catalog, the auto-logout feature does not refresh the browser page and steal the computer’s focus; instead, the system performs the logout in the background when a user next tries to access the system.

Implemented Google Analytics for browsing statistics (completed February 4, 2009).  Since early February 2009, all web traffic in the integrated search environment (Endeca, Metalib, etc.) has been logged by the Google Analytics tool for future analysis.

Syndetics book-cover-images now served up via the “Limelight” network (completed March 5, 2009).  Implemented appropriate URL changes to provide Syndetics cover-images through Syndetics’ Content Delivery Network (Limelight); hopefully this will increase cover-image display/response rates as the cache-system gets progressively more data.  Note that this does not affect the response speed (or failure rates) of other Syndetics enriched content, such as Summaries, Table of contents, First Chapters, etc.

Catalog interface no longer errors out when going directly from a results-list page to a full-record page (which was not part of the results-list) and then trying to search again on the unchanged terms and index that produced the original results-list.

DIACRITICS

There is good and bad news on the diacritics front.  On the negative side, after extensive testing of the thesaurus-based solution in Catalog (BETA)version 6.x, the Search TRLN Operations Committee ultimately came to the conclusion that even the performance enhancements in the newer version of Catalog (BETA)were not sufficient to mitigate the performance problems introduced by using a custom-built thesaurus to provide full diacritics-searching support.

On the positive side, additional extensive testing on a “normalization” strategy appears to provide a stable, performance solution to the long-standing issue of diacritics-searching support.  Even better, this solution works on the existing version of Catalog (BETA), which means that a solution is not tied to upgrading Catalog (BETA)on the Search TRLN servers.

Currently, there is no specific date set for implementing the solution, but it is likely to take place in early April 2009.  At that time we can hope to say with assurance (really!) that the Endeca-based catalog can handle diacritics searches.  Thanks to every one for their patience in this important aspect of the system.

UPCOMING PLANS FOR THE INTERFACE

Incorporation of “My Library Card” functionality into the interface
Incorporation of “shopping cart”-like features in the interface so that you can manage multiple catalog (or article) records at once

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One Response to Catalog (Beta) Improvements!

  1. Benjamin says:

    would really love the shopping cart feature, like the classic’s e-Shelf

    thanks!

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