OneSearch: McFarland Library online search receives update

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OneSearch received a new look recently. Since the system was launched on Jan. 31, students and faculty have all had to make adjustments with the new system.

If students at SMSU are occasionally frustrated with the change in the system adopted by the Minnesota State system this year, they should know they are not alone. Pam Gladis, SMSU University Librarian, and the rest of the library’s staff have been working with a prototype for about a year, which Gladis said has been challenging.

“It’s a learning curve. It just really operates very differently than our other [system] on the [employees’] end,” said Gladis. Testing the new system really wasn’t the same as being able to use it themselves and the librarians will continue to receive training involving some of the future updates.

All of the Minnesota State schools switched to this new system, along with some private schools and government libraries. By having the same system as the rest of the Minnesota State schools, students will continue to have easy access to a greater number of articles, books, and other check-out items through interlibrary loans. With the old system being at “end of life,” as Gladis said, and not receiving notable upgrades, that it wouldn’t have served us well for much longer, anyway.

The new library system is two-fold. The OneSearch that students and faculty are able to see is only one part of a much larger whole, where items are able to be viewed for checking out. There is an entire portion that only the librarians can see. This is where they purchase and catalogue all of the items within our library. There is also a smaller part of the back-half of the system that student employees have access to.

OneSearch is like a onestop-shop when looking for articles, books, reviews, and more. By typing in keywords, users can see what the SMSU library contains that is related to that topic. The system also allows users to see which libraries within the system have Interlibrary Loan materials they can request.

OneSearch works similarly to any of the databases that are available on the library website, with symbols that represent creating citations and sending links. Searches can also be limited by date.

By simply adjusting the search criteria to include items from other libraries, more items are visible. These items are not available in full-text through the SMSU library, but would be available through interlibrary loan. An interlibrary loan can be requested online or on the third floor of the library.

For students, the new OneSearch shows nearly everything in full-text with newspapers being the only exception. Newspapers used to flood the search criteria because they are so frequent, so there is an additional tab at the top of the webpage to access them. Along with this, there are a few graphics, such as the pin to save an item or the quotation marks to cite it, that are easier to understand than with the old OneSearch.

With new updates every month, the system may continue to change throughout time, both in appearance and functionality. Whether those bigger changes will come soon or in the future, it seems clear that those individuals interacting with the system will need to roll with the punches for awhile.