Familiarizing Yourself with the New Catalog
Your new library catalog retains several of the same features as your old one, but it contains many new ones as well. In addition to being able to do all of the things you’re used to from the old one (albeit in a slightly different fashion), you can now also search the catalog in much the same way you search Google or Amazon, personalize and individualize your library catalog account according to your interests, interact with other library users or staff, and keep more efficient track of your reading habits and history through your “For Later,” “In Progress,” and “Completed Shelves.” If you have not yet set up your new catalog account and profile, please visit the previous blog on those topics here. To continue familiarizing yourself with the new catalog, follow the steps below.
I. My Library Dashboard
- To access My Library Dashboard, go to jcls.org, click the “Catalog” icon near the top-right corner of the next page, click “Log In / My JCLS” on the following page, and then on the dropdown menu select “My Library Dashboard.”
- Note: The dropdown menu in the top-right corner is like a miniature version of the My Library Dashboard page; every destination listed on that menu can also be found on My Library Dashboard.
- My Library Dashboard is the heart of your catalog account; therein you can keep track of your borrowed items, your items on hold or in transit, your fee status, your shelves, your lists, your messages, your activity feed, your newsfeed, and your account settings. You can also suggest a purchase to the library via the Submit a Suggestion link in your Dashboard and keep track of the status of your suggestions by clicking the Suggestions this Month link.
- At the top-right corner of your My Library Dashboard, you also have a link titled More information that provides links to pop-up windows with step-by-step instructions on how to renew items, how to change your preferred locations, and how to use the Borrowing History and Shelves features. Since each of those actions are adequately explained therein, we will not discuss them further here.
- Next to the More information link are three icons: a bell, an envelope, and a gear. The bell icon serves as a link to your Notifications (housed at the bottom of your profile page). The envelope icon redirects you to your Inbox and Sent Messages folders where you can view messages to/from other library users who have reached out to you or with whom you established prior contact. The gear icon leads to your My Settings page where you can adjust your account information, account preferences, and profile settings.
- At the bottom of your My Library Dashboard page, you may also use the Submit Feedback link to register your thoughts about the new catalog or any aspect of your library experience. We are always happy to hear from patrons about their experience and how we may better serve them.
If you have a good grasp on how to use your My Library Dashboard, you will likewise have a pretty good grasp on how the catalog works in general. In future blog posts, we will dive into how to use the catalog features listed above, but for now we will move onto using the catalog’s search function.
II. Searching the New Catalog
Our new catalog’s search function is designed to be more intuitive than the old one, meaning that you can search the catalog just like you would elsewhere on the internet rather than needing to know a special way to search just for your library. While the manner in which you search the catalog will most likely be something that you are already used to, some of the means by which you can narrow your search and filter your results in the new catalog are specific to it, so we will spend some time unpacking those features below.
The search bar is conveniently located at the top of every webpage on the new catalog, so if you are inspired by a sudden fancy to see if your library has a guinea-pig version of Oliver Twist (which we do!), you can satisfy that impulse immediately.
- To begin searching, then, all you need to do is type your search terms into the search field and select whether you want the catalog to search by Keyword, Title, Author, Subject, Series, Tag, List, or User. If you are simply looking for something to read, listen to, or view based on general criteria (like genre or subject), searching by Keyword will most likely be sufficient for your purposes. If you have a more specific idea regarding what you are looking for, narrowing your search by Title, Author, Subject, Series, Tag, List, or User would most likely be a more efficient means of finding what you desire.
- Note: For convenience’s sake, we recommend first logging into your account prior to searching so when you find an item that you wish to borrow, place on hold, or add to a shelf or list, doing so is only a click away.
- Once you initiate your search, you can then adjust how you view and filter your results in a variety of ways:
- You can sort your results by Relevance, Date Acquired, Title, Author, Published Date, or Rating by selecting accordingly from the drop-down list at the top-left of your results page.
- While your results view is set to “Group results view” by default, you can choose the way you view your results by selecting “List view,” “Jacket view,” and “Grouped results view” using the three corresponding icons at the top-center of the webpage (next to the Print icon).
- Though you have many options when it comes to filtering your results, it is likewise a straightforward affair:
- The panel on the left of your search results page provides you with several ways to filter your results by what’s Available Now in each of the branches, Format (book, eBook, Audiobook, DVD, CD), Form/Genre, Audience, Published Date, and more! Feel free to fiddle around with these filters to get a sense of how they work in order to search the catalog more efficiently.
- To save your results of a particular search to peruse at a later time, click Save Search above your search results on the right, create a title for that search, and click Save it.
- To return to this search, go to your My Library Dashboard, click the gear icon, and select Saved Searches under Account Preferences from the panel on the left side of the page.
- If your initial search returns too few results for your liking, you can click Broaden your search located beneath Save Search to remove some of the catalog’s in-built filters to view more results.
Your search results will list each item’s availability, provide links for more information on the item or author, and give you the option to Place a Hold and/or add to your In-Progress, Completed, or For Later shelves—but we’ll discuss those features at a later time.
In the meantime, I encourage you to practice using the features detailed above in order to become further acquainted with your new catalog. The Ancient Romans had a much-revered saying, repetitio mater memoriae, which translates to “Repetition is the mother of memory”—and this proverb certainly applies to internalizing how the new catalog works and using it to its greatest effect. Lastly, don’t be afraid to partake in a bit of trial and error, which is one of the best means of learning any new system—and if you run into any snags along the way, the Digital Services team are always happy to assist in any way we can.
Link to FAQs on Searching the Catalog: http://help.bibliocommons.com/045faq/030faq-searching/