Bellingham Public Library upgrades online catalog to make searching easier

Bellingham Public Library’s online catalog has received a facelift.

The library has launched BiblioCommons, an updated search interface.

Now, when visitors go to the Bellingham Public Library website and click on “Catalog,” they will be directed automatically to BiblioCommons.

“People are amazed at how user-friendly the new catalog is,” said Madeline Sheplor, head of technical services, in a press release. “Features common on major websites are now available, like the ability to limit a search by clicking on facets such as format, audience and genre.”

BiblioCommons will prompt, “Did you mean?” when search terms are misspelled, suggesting alternative terms. This can be helpful for finding authors whose names are spelled unusually, like Stephenie Meyer, who wrote the Twilight novels.

“In the past, people have been frustrated with search results that came up with zero hits when they knew our library must have the item,” Sheplor said, “or, when searching for the DVD “The Help,” getting lost in a list of thousands of books and DVDs with the word ‘help’ in the title. BiblioCommons ranks results and puts the most relevant at the top.”

The new interface offers lists linked to library materials, such as new titles, staff picks, bestsellers and awards.

Patrons can subscribe to RSS feeds that will give them notification of newly acquired materials by chosen topic or author. People can also “follow” other library users whose reviews they’ve enjoyed.

Users who would like to place holds, post reviews, create a book shelf or take advantage of other advanced features will need to create a username. With a username, there’s
no need to remember a library barcode number, although entering a library barcode is still an option.

Patrons who prefer using the old library catalog may still do so by clicking on the “Former Catalog” link on the bottom right corner of every screen.

For questions, contact the Bellingham Public Library at 360-778-7323.

 

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