For the first time in about ten years, UT Libraries updated its service platform this month, said Travis Willmann, communications officer for UT Libraries.
Willmann said the new platform has all the libraries’ resources available in a single search now, so students will not have to search through multiple tools to find the information they need. Library staff will also have an easier time managing all of the libraries’ resources, Willmann said.
“(The new system) should enhance people’s ability to find resources,” Willmann said. “It should also make the information that you find more relevant.”
Michele Ostrow, assistant director of teaching and learning services, said the new platform has the capacity to provide students with needed library functions as well as consolidates information among UT’s 11 libraries.
“It covers everything from selecting and actually acquiring materials to … moving them from library to library,” Ostrow said.
With the platform, students will be able to search for a book from other libraries if none of the UT libraries have the book, Willmann said.
“(The new platform) is also opening up a wider world of information than just what we have in our campus in a more seamless way,” Willmann said.
The process of selecting a new platform took about two years, Willmann said, and there were a few systems in consideration during the selection process.
“The big part of this (platform) was being able to handle that sort of volume of information and data that we needed to … manage and make accessible to our users,” Willmann said.
Willmann said part of the reason for changing the platform was because the previous one could not meet the needs of the libraries anymore since it was not being updated fast enough.
“With the way that technology moves now and the changes in the way that resources are accessed, it’s really important that whatever system we have in place keeps up with those changes in technology,” Willmann said.
The new platform was implemented during winter break and officially went live in early January. Users are still getting used to the change, Ostrow said.
“Some people are fine,” Ostrow said. “Some people are confused. Some people are frustrated, like you would expect when you change the way that people do their work.”
Willmann said UT Libraries will take user feedback into consideration as it continues to improve the platform. Improvements will be done incrementally since all the data from the platform takes time to transfer and rebuild, Willmann said.
“We’re going to take feedback from our users and apply that to whatever customizations we can make going forward to make the experience for everyone better,” Willmann said.
Zachary Phi, a management information services junior, used the new system to read PDFs of textbooks, and he said he would not change anything about the system.
“It was really easy for me to find the information I needed,” Phi said. “It served its purpose pretty well.”