The F.W. Olin Library launched an updated, web-based version of its collections catalog over the summer that is hoped will improve efficiency and access.
The catalog still maintains its old name, Minerva, but its appearance and capability have been substantially enhanced since its upgrade, according to library officials.
“Because of technological advances it was time to find another system to better suit our needs,” said Moya Stone, library acquisitions specialist and part time MFA student. According to Stone, the process of upgrading Minerva took about 1 year. Library staff looked at systems by four different vendors before deciding on the system from the Emeryville-based Innovative Interfaces.
The decision was made with input from college faculty and students.
It was “almost unanimous on the student and faculty side that Innovative was the one to use,” said Renee Jadushlever, Assistant Vice President for Library and Technology.
Because Minerva is now Web-based, it may be accessed anywhere through the Internet simply by entering the address minerva.mills.edu. Features include My Minerva, which allows students to renew books online, save searches, and receive overdue notices by e-mail if they choose. My Minerva also has an option to let students set up preferential lists on certain subjects. Once the subject is entered, the student will receive e-mail notification of new books on the subject.
According to circulation supervisor Clarence Maybee, the updated Minerva allows searches to be more easily narrowed as well. For example, under “keyword,” users can now search by specific location under categories that include music scores, videos, or special collections.
“I feel like this system brings us up to date and to where we should be as the Mills College library,” said Maybee.
Additional features are still in the process of being added to the new system. Jadushlever said that by the end of this school year, Minerva will provide access to an image database.
Jadushlever also said to the possibility of Mills being chosen by Innovative Interfaces as a trial location for its forthcoming product, Airpac. Airpac would enable students to connect to Minerva through their cell phones if necessary. Even without cell phone access, the new system already allows wider access for everyone. “We’re very excited about the possibilities that a web-based catalog can offer,” said Jadushlever.