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Libraries' new online catalog system to debut in July

The MIT Libraries are implementing a new web Barton catalog replacing both the telnet and the web versions of the current Barton system. The switch to the new system, Ex Libris Aleph 500, is scheduled for July 9.

The new catalog will be easier to navigate, more powerful in helping users find information, and have greater functionality for library transactions than the current system.

Information and training for library users will be offered in a number of formats. Each library location will have Quickstart guides with instructions on using the new catalog. Short slide presentations, a web tutorial and one-hour training workshops are being developed. Individual assistance from library staff will be offered in each library, and the Ask Us! online reference assistance through the Libraries web site at will also be available.

The new system includes the database; the catalog and its public interface; library circulation transactions; and staff functions such as ordering, receipt, payment and cataloging of new library materials. In preparation for the changeover, library staff members have done extensive work in arranging the migration and testing data, and they are also developing the user interface and conducting usability tests in which MIT community members are participating.

Some of the features of the new system will not be available immediately but will be introduced during the summer and fall.

Updates on the status of the implementation will be shown on the Libraries' web site. For further information, contact Sarah Shreeves, project manager of the Third Barton Transition, at or x3-4979.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on June 13, 2001.

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