PALS is taking innovative steps to improve the student research experience at Carleton College and St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN with a new overlay for the colleges' shared library catalog. This fall, PALS signed a contract with the Bridge Consortium to customize, host and support a VUFIND overlay for their library catalog. This new interface makes library collections more visible and attractive to today's web users while using the consortium's current underlying Integrated Library System from Innovative Interfaces, Inc. VUFIND provides a clean interface with faceted searching and includes social networking features such as tagging and user comments.
Initial reactions to the new interface are positive. One student wrote: "I love the new Bridge! [It's] clean and simple. It's easy to narrow down your search and is more accurate than the old system." Faculty like it too; a St. Olaf Music professor wrote: "I find the Bridge interface a new resource for information searches. . . . Also the "Narrow Search" summaries that come up with keyword searches--especially the "genre" category have been very helpful in finding additional materials that bear on my opera topics. Before them, I had to rely mostly on bibliographies!"
PALS developed MnPALS Plus, in use by the MnPALS Consortium, based on the VUFIND interface, initially developed by Villanova University. PALS also provides and customizes a version of VUFIND, UFind, in conjunction with ODIN in North Dakota. In keeping with the cooperative spirit of the open source software movement, PALS continues to work with representatives from the Bridge Consortium to refine the design and customize VUFIND for use in their library environment. Carol Eyler, Head of Technical Services at the Carleton library says: "After the frustrations of not being able to change our proprietary systems, it is refreshing to work with PALS staff on an open source tool that is so easy to customize."
PALS has been providing innovative library technology services to a large and diverse group of libraries since 1979. Contact us to learn how PALS can help meet your library's needs.