By Sarah Block
Special to UM News
CORAL GABLES, Fla. (February 18, 2016) —Library users at the U are about to witness a big transformation in how they locate and access information from the University’s libraries.
UM’s seven libraries across the Coral Gables, Miller School of Medicine, and Rosenstiel campuses are collaborating on a full overhaul of the online system that will streamline how materials are acquired, tracked, browsed, searched, and discovered. Most significantly, the new system, expected to debut this May, will integrate three independent systems into a single search and discovery platform for accessing the University’s millions of library holdings.
“Faculty and students on all campuses will be very pleased to discover that, with one search, resources from across the seven libraries will be displayed on their screen,” said Professor of Law Sally Wise, chair of the Faculty Senate Library & Information Resources Committee and director of the Law Library. “This will be especially beneficial for those researching across multiple disciplines. All libraries now collaborate on providing resources, and it will be very exciting to see them displayed to the researcher at one time.”
UM selected the new system following a search process that involved representatives across the three campuses. A team of 34 librarians and library and UM Information Technology staff chose the platform as the unified solution that would replace the disparate library systems, enable the library to streamline its workflows, and provide better patron services. The libraries are working with Ex Libris Group to lead the migration to the new system. When the months-long process is complete, UM’s resources will run through two Ex Libris programs, Ex Libris Alma for resource management, and Ex Libris Primo for discovery and delivery.
The transition will align the functions and features of UM’s catalog with a large number of research libraries worldwide that have adopted Ex Libris technologies, including the London School of Economics, Austrian Library Network, and the University of Edinburgh, as well as fellow Association of Research Libraries members Emory and Brandeis universities.
“The powerful combination of Ex Libris Alma and Primo forms the leading solution enabling libraries to move ahead with a unified platform that benefits both staff and patrons,” said Eric Hines, president of Ex Libris North America.
Many of the team members who developed the request for proposals and assisted in vetting and evaluating a range of vendors are now part of the implementation team, a total of 25 librarians and staff, working with Ex Libris throughout the transition to the new system.
“We are eager to unify and streamline our systems efficiently and effectively,” said UM Provost Thomas J. LeBlanc.