Coming soon: library system overhaul

March 16, 2021

This story from March 2021 may not reflect the most up-to-date information about our technology system changes. For status updates, see Library Technology System Changes.

An upcoming overhaul of the platform that allows you to find, request, and borrow materials will be bringing some changes to library services and interfaces.

The current technology, which is more than thirty years old, is out-of-sync with modern computing standards, and doesn't meet the needs of a large collection that includes an expanding variety of materials and formats, from streaming video to a book made of cheese.

After many months of preparation, the library is approaching the final stage, which requires the migration of the library’s entire catalog — more than 12 million items — into the new platform. This migration will begin around mid-June 2021 and will take up to six weeks to complete. 

Throughout the process, you'll be able to find, borrow, and request materials as usual, but we won't be able to update the catalog. Items that arrive while the migration is underway, and requests for new items, will be processed after the changeover. 

Once the new system is in place, you'll notice a few changes in your online library experience.

"For the most part, the new system will operate behind the scenes," says Ellen Mueller, project co-lead and director of the library's Technical Services department. She stresses that there won't be any changes to the materials offered, or to the methods used to access them. "There will, however, be changes to how some things look."

The "My Account" page — the access point for information about requested and borrowed materials, favorites, checkout history, and fees and fines — will be updated to provide more complete information about your account.

Also, some search results may look different, because the new system will sometimes list print and electronic versions of the same publications as separate items.

The most significant change will be the retirement of Mirlyn Classic, an older version of the library catalog that offers a few features not otherwise available, among them browsing by titles and call numbers.

The library will be incorporating many of these Mirlyn Classic features into the ongoing work to update and improve Library Search. There will also be added on-screen guidance, and documentation about how to perform equivalent functions when Mirlyn Classic is retired.

The guide to Library Search will be kept current with the latest updates and improvements.

Mueller says you can expect the migration and related interface changes to be complete by the end of the summer. 

"It's a massive undertaking," she explains. "And one that, like so many things, has been disrupted by the pandemic. So at this point we don't have an exact start date for when the migration will begin."

The library website has a section dedicated to the technology system change that will be updated regularly. 

If you have questions, or if you're interested in participating in user surveys or testing to help us review the upcoming changes, send email to ls-initiative-info@umich.edu.

 

by Lynne Raughley

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