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Library users reject new online catalog – old one returning


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After public outcry, the Los Altos library and other branches of the Santa Clara County Library District are reinstating their old online catalog system.

Avid Los Altos main library user Cindy Anderson was definitely not impressed with the library’s new online catalog system.

“Short of the rollout of Obamacare, I have never seen such a lousy IT system cutover for the public to use,” she said. “It definitely was not ready for primetime.”

Santa Clara County Library District officials apparently agree. By mid-August, online library users should see the old system back up and running.

Numerous complaints about the new Encore Discovery Solution system, along with overwhelming response to a library district survey, was enough to convince district officials to revert to the previously used program, Bibliocommons.

Nancy Howe, head librarian for the district, downplayed the level of complaints but said she did hear “from a number of users that they liked Bibliocommons better.”

The Encore system, which went live June 3, fell short in several areas, according to users. Problems ranged from not having options to follow reader connections and organize reading lists to simply not being able to log on.

The company providing the new system – Innovative Interfaces Inc. of Emeryville –claims to have more than 2,400 library systems installed in 9,500 libraries in 66 countries. The library district also has adopted Innovative’s Sierra Library Services Platform, which it will continue to use.

“You expressed your preference for the previous online public catalog, Bibliocommons, and we listened,” said Michèle Huie, acting virtual library manager, in a statement on the library district’s website. “Once again you will be able to retrieve your old lists, create new lists, place items on hold and connect with other readers. We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your patience as we work to improve services.”

Howe said the library district is working with Innovative officials on recouping the $35,000 cost of the Encore program. She noted that the library staff did its homework before choosing Innovative, an arrangement ultimately approved by the North County Library Authority.

“(Encore) just wasn’t for us,” Howe said. “We heard from our patrons loud and clear.”

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