The Next Generation: Library catalog evolves, moves to the cloud

October 24, 2012

Since summer, a notice has greeted users of the library catalog that it will soon be replaced by an advanced discovery engine adopted by the VCU Libraries last year ( 

Beginning Oct. 24, the VCU Libraries' systems professionals began the transition to retire the old catalog, parts of which will persist until all the components can be migrated later this year. The new software searches VCU Libraries' collections as well as millions of journals and other resources. It uses unique features such as global data mining to recommend scholarly resources based upon search results.  

Changing scholarship, shifts in the publishing industry and new technologies are driving this improvement. VCU Libraries is at the forefront of a group of libraries around the world that is adopting a new technology, named Alma that has been developed by Ex Libris, a leading developer of library technologies. VCU is the first large research institution to launch this new system. The software replaces the system used here for about a decade. That software is nearing the end of its viable life. The new system is hosted in the cloud with a strong emphasis on managing digital resources in cooperation with other research libraries. The system is built on a design that features rapid software  development, so the VCU community can look forward to major enhancements over the coming months.

"It is a system that positions VCU Libraries for the future of managing materials in all media and will provide many efficiencies," said John Duke, senior associate university librarian, who has led the technical team.

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