This is a follow-up to others' concerns about the dearth of computers. There are a few ways you might streamline computer usage until a better solution is reached:
1. Why not have a section of the computers reserved for catalog searches only? These computer's can be locked into the catalog so that people needing longer term use for email or writing papers, internet research etc. have to go to the other computers. Many of us just need to jump on for a quick search but are left standing holding our bags while people write term papers or email their friends.
2. Isn't there a better way to deal with logging out? Once I manage to secure a computer I then spend several minutes looking dumbly at the screen while the computer reboots. I could have been done with my search and freeing up the computer for someone else to use by then!
3. And a small but helpful adjustment could be within the catalog search engine itself. Once I get my search results I need to check if the item is available or sometimes go to the detailed page. In both cases I am taken to another page. Once I return to the original search page I am back at the top and have to search through the list to figure out where I left off. So, two suggestions on this. . . First, couldn't the availability be posted alongside the other info on the original search list? Second, once you return back to original search list couldn't it be default to the location on the page where you left off?
The library has a fantastic collection, but these little corrections could save us all a lot of headaches. Thanks.
From: frustrated library user, graduate student
Jimmy Ghaphery, head of Library Information Systems, replies...
Dear Frustrated Library User,
These are all very perceptive comments.
We have thought about the catalog only stations but are challenged by the fact that the VCU Libraries Catalog itself is accessible through a web browser, and often needs to connect to external web sites for e-books. We have been experimenting with a standing terminal on the 2nd floor to provide space for quick searches, and are looking at expanding that idea.
The re-boot time really has increased with the new security measures from the University. We have found that it is especially slow on our oldest hardware which is slated to be replaced this year so we should see some improvement. At the same time we are committed to meeting the VCU security standards in order to provide a safe computing environment.
Availability information on the first page is something that is indeed lacking with our current catalog, and we have been looking at ways to bring that information up a level, but there are some system constraints. Your observation about returning to the list of items is also apt but not currently possible. Both of these features are items that we will bring forward to the vendor of our catalog system and to the user group.
Thank you for your thoughts and suggestions.