New software makes library's online catalogue more user-friendly
The announcement comes a day after the university unveiled its new Learning Commons, yet another indication of the technological transformation occuring in the university's libraries.
"In library circles we referred to previous updates to online catalogues as akin to putting lipstick on a pig," said Jeffrey Trzeciak, chief librarian at McMaster University. "This is a radical change. As we say in the library world, 'we've gone from swine to divine.' You'll find a far more lively and vibrant website than traditional library catalogues, and it's much easier for students to navigate."
The changes, based on the Endeca Information Access Platform (IAP), eclipse earlier approaches to online catalogues by adding capabilities students expect from web browsing. They can now search results ranked by relevance, and refine navigation by topic, author, genre, language, material type, format, and availability.
Endeca, a private company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, mainly sells its software to retailers, but Trzeciak worked directly with the company to secure the rights for McMaster University.
In doing so, the university becomes the first Canadian research library to use the software, and the second in North America after North Carolina State University. Other Endeca clients include Bank of America, Boeing, Cox Newspapers, The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, Hyatt, IBM, John Deere, The Library of Congress, and Nike.
With a long-standing reputation as Canada's "most innovative" university, McMaster has pioneered a number of programs that have changed how professors teach and students learn.
Students and other patrons will be able to interchangeably search and browse the university's vast collection of materials and information in unprecedented ways. The project is slated to start this month.
"As students turn increasingly to the Internet to find information, this easy-to-use approach reinvigorates interest in library collections," says Trzeciak. "Endeca's IAP transforms our virtual environment into a space where students can inquire, discover and learn. It also shows McMaster's commitment to being a leader in the library community as well as in higher education."