This blog represents most of the newspaper columns (appearing in various Colorado Community Newspapers and Yourhub.com) written by me, James LaRue, during the time in which I was the director of the Douglas County Libraries in Douglas County, Colorado. (Some columns are missing, due to my own filing errors.) This blog covers the time period from April 11, 1990 to January 12, 2012.

Unless I say so, the views expressed here are mine and mine alone. They may be quoted elsewhere, so long as you give attribution. The dates are (at least according my records) the dates of publication in one of the above print newspapers.

The blog archive (web view) is in chronological order. The display of entries, below, seems to be in reverse order, new to old.

All of the mistakes are of course my own responsibility.

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

July 24, 2002 - New Internet Public Access Catalog

This week's column is by Rochelle Logan, my Associate Director for Support Services. She announces an important new enhancement to our services. - Jamie LaRue

Twenty years ago or so, I had the opportunity to see behind the scenes at Disneyland. A family member worked there and took me back to where the employees prepared for their day. I wish I could say that I saw Minnie Mouse walking around without her head on or something equally as interesting, but I didn’t. Nevertheless, it was a memorable experience.

Whether the back rooms of our libraries would be equally as interesting to you, I would say, “not quite.” The average library user probably can guess at some of the tasks being performed in our back rooms: checking in books, cataloging, editing the Web page, training staff, mending books, fixing computers. Of course, there is much, much more to the running of a library district. However, the one thing we always keep in mind as we strive to improve our services is what our patrons would like and need.

When our systems vendor, Epixtech, came out with a new Web catalog, we were very excited about what it had to offer. We knew this product was something our patrons had been asking for. The new streamlined Web interface is called iPac (Internet Public Access Catalog) and can be accessed via our Web site at http://www.dpld.org/. Before I get into some of iPac’s features, let me say that the information behind the new Web catalog has not changed. The only difference is how the information is sorted and viewed. Therefore, if you are accustomed to limiting your searches to find only videos, you can still do that. You can look for materials that are just at your local branch library and more.

The first thing you will notice when logging onto iPac from the library’s Web site is that you have several different ways to search for a book. A quick search using a drop down menu is your first option. For a more refined search, use the advanced or power search options. Also on the first iPac screen you can access your own library record to check on when your items are due, renew materials or view what you have on hold. Our lists of bestsellers and the libraries’ excellent subscription databases are just a click away.

Some of the new, cool stuff on iPac also includes:

* Cover art – we aren’t saying you should judge a book by its cover, but we think it’s nice to see the cover while perusing the catalog to decide what to read, view or listen to.
* Book reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and Library Journal are available for those items that have been reviewed.
* You can email a book citation to yourself. This is especially attractive if you are writing a paper for school and need the Chicago Manual of Style or MLA cite for your bibliography.
* Not sure if this book is for you? For many items you can read the table of contents, a summary or an excerpt from the book.
* For more information about the subject or author of the book you found, one-click searches are available to our catalog and out to the World Wide Web for other materials on the same topic.

Rolling out a new product always takes hard work by a team. iPac did not just come out of a box ready for public use. It required a lot of customization by Julie Halverstadt, Moira Ash, Kevin Watkins and Missy Shock from our Support Services Department. The team is still working to make iPac better even now. So try it out, get comfortable with it, and if you have any compliments or complaints about the new catalog, please email our Webmaster at web@mail.dpld.org.

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