Much-needed reboot to DePaul library database coming


Next school year, as you furiously search for your final source while your 12 a.m. deadline creeps closer, you might be pleased to discover your job has gotten a bit easier. 

This summer, DePaul’s online library will get an all-new, more user-friendly look to its DePaul catalogue page. 

Ashley McMullin, interim associate university librarian for teaching research and engagement, hopes the reboot will make the research process more seamless and provide an overall better user experience for students.

The reboot specifically alters the I-Share program, which allows students and faculty to request books from around the state. Currently, all I-Share libraries work using two different databases: WorldCat Discovery and Voyager. 

Many are excited for the new system because of its coherence. The old system was patchwork, built mainly to accommodate books and VCR tapes.

“Voyager itself is about 25 years old,” said Christine McClure, interim associate university librarian for collection services and technologies. “We say it’s old enough to rent a car… so with the explosion of electronic resources, it’s not built to handle that.”

The major change is that archaic systems will be put to rest and two new databases will be introduced that are significantly more compatible. Currently, the two-part system is separated into the DePaul viewfinder catalogue to find books and the WorldCat Discovery system for local and global resources.

“Those two systems right now work separately but we have different things working on the back end to connect them,” McMullin said. “As part of the I-Share migration, we are all migrating to ALMA and Primo VE who are owned by the same company and work better together.” 

McCullin said the reboot is intended to make both the user’s and the librarian’s lives easier. No longer will students have to endlessly click through the website. Instead, they will instead have a more direct line to their sources.

“On the new systems, if you want to request a book, especially on I-Share, it will [take] fewer clicks to get there,” McMullin said. 

According to Newsline, 91 I-Share libraries in Illinois are making this shift. This means more than 38 million records will be migrating to the new systems. 

“DePaul did not decide to make this decision – – libraries across Illinois have decided to make this decision,” she said. “Everyone in I-Share will be migrating over the same day. So you can imagine what a huge project it’s going to be.” 

No fear last-minute researchers and source-finders, you will not be affected in the meantime. Although the project is on a large scale, the older database is not going to be derailed. No malfunctions are to be expected as the new system is built. 

There shouldn’t be any major changes for students this academic year, McMullin said, at least not until late Spring. The official launch date is June 24, so that students, faculty and staff won’t have to reconfigure in the middle of the quarter. 

If there are problems, it would likely be around the print materials.

“I don’t think it will, but if anything is affected… it would be around print materials,” she said. “But I don’t think it should impact electronic resources at all.”

McClure hopes that the new databases are easier to understand and a bit more self-explanatory.

“My hope is that the new system is more intuitive to use,” McClure said.

Freshman Vanesa Elicondo at DePaul uses the database for her WRD 104 class and International Affairs class. While doing her research, she believes the hardest part is moving through each of the many steps. 

“I get confused moving from page to page,” she said.“A lot less clicking would definitely be helpful.”

McMullin ensures that this is something that will be fixed in the reboot. The new system will reduce clicks and hopefully yield a better user experience.

“It will hopefully be easier to get from ‘I found this listing, say, in the general search box but I want to try to get to the full text somewhere else,’” she said. “So hopefully that process will be just a little bit more seamless.”

Students like Elicondo aren’t the only ones that would be excited about this reboot. This will also make librarian’s lives easier as well. 

“We’re going through the process right now and seeing what all of our new work flows are going to be,” McMillin said, “Everything so it’s a big process for us at the moment but we’re really excited about it.” 

By next fall, the library reboot should be up and running, making students, librarians and other faculties’ lives a little bit easier.