UW System libraries unite to improve user experience

December 11, 2014

Update 1/6/15: The migration will be completed Feb. 16.

Using library resources throughout the University of Wisconsin System is about to get easier. After nearly two years of intensive work, libraries around the system will migrate to a unified library services platform (LSP) in January.

It’s a transition designed to provide for greater user efficiency and collaboration, UW–Madison library officials say, and will mark the first time in UW history that the libraries will operate on a unified system. The LSP migration will begin Jan. 20 and be complete Feb. 9.

“We anticipated that our patrons will benefit from a more coherent and unified set of policies and practices across the UW System.”

Lee Konrad

The cloud-based service, called Alma, is intended to enhance the discovery and sharing of resources available to all UW System libraries, while reducing the duplication of efforts.

“The systemwide transition to Alma is an investment in library technology that positions us to work in collaboration with partners across the UW System and beyond,” says Lee Konrad, associate university librarian for technology strategy and data services. “These capabilities are critical to both sustaining and advancing the work of a 21st century research library.”

While a smooth transition is expected, there are some minor service changes faculty, staff and students should be aware of:

  • Placing materials in course reserves: All reserve requests for the spring semester must be submitted by Dec. 30, 2014. Materials received after this time will be processed once the new system is fully functioning.
  • Placing requests for materials: The “Place Request” button in the library’s catalog will be disabled Jan. 8 to Feb. 9. If patrons need to request items from other UW–Madison or UW System libraries during this time, they are asked to place an interlibrary loan request.
  • Interlibrary loan accounts: Patrons’ accounts will no longer be available through their library or My MadCat account. Beginning Jan. 21, users will need to access their ILL account to obtain information on materials charged out via ILL.
  • My MadCat: Will be retired on Feb. 9.

“We anticipated that our patrons will benefit from a more coherent and unified set of policies and practices across the UW System,” Konrad says.

As the migration nears, UW Libraries wants to reassure patrons that they anticipate minimal disruption in service. An FAQ page has been created to assist users with any questions they may have about the new system or their accounts, and provide assistance and guidance during the transition. Users can contact UW Libraries with questions or suggestions about the transition.