Stockwell-Mudd Library’s new online system will give students access to library books and electronic resources all in one program, combining multiple difficult-to-use databases into one. The system went live on July 19, after work began on the site in January, and can be found on the Albion website.
“It’s not necessarily changing anything we had before, but now it’s just one-stop shopping,” said Stockwell-Mudd Co-Director Claudia Diaz, who was involved in the project.
Jill Mason, librarian of web services and emerging technologies, thinks that this will open up resources that students haven’t been aware of the college having in the past.
“We’re calling it ‘library search’ because it’s searching everything in the library and beyond,” she said. “The school pays a lot of money for subscriptions to all of these databases and electronic journals that we provide access to. We have all of these products that we pay for, and this system is going to limit these database to one search, so you don’t have to go to all of these different sites that no one is probably going to use.”
However, it will still be easy to find specific items on the database. The system will prefer physical books to online sources, but students are able to narrow their search results, as well. Books, microfilms, and electronic journals will all be found in the same place now. The database will now allow you to virtually browse some books, and will show you similar books to the one you’ve searched for.
The project is a joint effort of Kalamazoo College, Hope College, Michigan Technological University, Western Theological Seminary and Oakland University. Next year, Ferris State will be joining the system as well. With the larger size of clients, the schools were able to make a list of requirements that worked for all of them, as well as receive a larger discount. The group chose the Alma System by Ex Libris, but each school pays individually. While the schools share the same system, they do not share catalogs.
“We can bounce ideas off each other and troubleshoot things, because it was a very complicated switch over. Being in the group was a big benefit for Albion College, because we’re so small and don’t have a lot of staff members,” said Mason.
Following three retirements over the summer, there are eight people on the staff, though not everyone was working on the project. The new database is now accessible from the Albion website.
Students can also see an account of all their due dates and late fees. Students can also keep books until the end of the semester, rather than just one month.
While the library’s system was upgraded, the second floor of the Mudd building was remodeled with funding from donors.
Students can now sit in two enclosed study rooms for quieter studying and sit in couches similar to furniture in the Bridge, which connects Stockwell and Mudd. Students can also charge their electronic devices on the floor near nearly every seat.
“There are going to be monitors inside these rooms to hook computers up in order to watch movies or TV in a group,” said Mason. “We think the students are going to like it. Already, these booths are pretty popular.”