By Ellen Meltzer, CDL Information Services Manager

The version 16.2 upgrade to the Ex Libris Aleph software for the Melvyl Catalog will go live on December 10, 2007.  The software upgrade (and corresponding Oracle upgrade) was done in conjunction with a migration away from an aging hardware platform.  The Melvyl Catalog is now on supported versions of Aleph and Oracle.

Fear not, though, changes to the user experience are not so substantial as to require additional training.  Melvyl guides have been updated and are currently available on the CDL Instructional Materials web page under Melvyl at http://www.cdlib.org/inside/instruct/.

Upgrading the software has resulted in the following changes in Melvyl.

Search Improvements

  1. Author names included in Keyword search: This enhancement was added earlier, but the entire database was not re-indexed at that time which was necessary for the change to become effective for all records.  This has now been accomplished.
  2. Exact becomes “Begins with”: CDL changed most index descriptions in Melvyl that began with “exact” to “begins with”, a more accurate description.
  3. Enriched searching: AUT (Author, last name first), SUB (Subject begins with) and SLC (LC Subject Heading begins with) search results may be larger than expected and/or records may not appear to contain search terms because cross references are now included in searches.
  4. Integrating Resources (IR) and assignment of the Ex Libris Format code: In version 15.3, Ex Libris did not take the new leader value for Integrating Resources into account when assigning the Format (FMT).  This has now been changed.  Wonder what Integrating Resources are?  Check out the new Helpà Expert Searchingà Record Formats – Descriptions à Integrating resources, when the new version goes live.

Interface Improvements / Streamlining & New Features

  1. “Available online” links display the linked content directly: There is no longer an intermediate “Copyright” screen between the Full Record view in Melvyl and the online resource when clicking the “Available online” hyperlinks.
  2. Removal of “Find Related Items” popup box: In version 16.2,the searcher goes directly to a Browse page after clicking on an author’s name, or subject heading “hot” link.
  3. UC-eLinks button, displayed conditionally: The UC-eLinks button appears after clicking “Details/Locations” for resources that UC-eLinks determines are available online, including Tier 3 (campus licensed) resources.  If UC-eLinks is not able to match a record in Melvyl to a title in its KnowledgeBase, the UC-eLinks button does not display.
  4. Full Record display / New “Note” field is available when saving records: This Note field replaces the “Folder” feature which is not available in this version of the software.
  5. Items Saved Across Sessions can now be printed/emailed with library locations: Previously, this was not possible.
  6. My Workspace / New labeling: The new “User Information” label in version 16.2 is far more user-friendly than the previous “Update addresses” label.

Interface Improvements / Miscellaneous

  1. Changes in the holdings display (order and spacing): Within a campus display box, locations are now listed in alphabetical order.  Also, there are changes in the order and spacing of elements that comprise the Notes area of the holdings display.
  2. Vertical bars with subfield codes in MARC display: In 15.3, subfields in the MARC record were not preceded by any punctuation (e.g., subfield delimiter).  Now they are preceded by a vertical bar which helps to distinguish them from the rest of the text.
  3. Changes in the MARC display (new fields used by Ex Libris): The MARC display contains new fields that are tagged HOL. They are used by Ex Libris to build holdings displays.

Interface Improvements / Fixes

  1. Browse / Multiple headings numbers are displayed more accurately: In version 15.3, multiple Browse headings often displayed an arbitrary “999”, a number with no relation to the actual number of browse headings available.  In 16.02, the multiple heading displays as “50+”.
  2. Search results pages / “Previous” and “Next” buttons display correctly: In 16.02, the “Previous” button is grayed out when no previous page is available; the “Next” button is grayed out when no next page is available.
  3. Problem searching for items with multiple hyphens and apostrophes resolved: Previously, searching for items containing multiple hyphens (either together or in separate areas of the title) always retrieved 0 results.  Example: “Peer-to-peer”.  A user could only locate the title using Browse or with a Title (exact) search.  Searching now works as expected in version 16.2.  In addition, it is now possible to do successful searches on words with multiple apostrophes.  Example: Keywords = o’hara’s.
  4. Merge problems: Some, but not all record merging problems, were improved with version 16.2 of the software.
  5. Update / Previous Searches screen actually includes previous searches: In 15.3, after users created an Update, they were returned to the Previous Searches screen.  However, the actual searches were missing from this screen (only the number of results remained).  In 16.2, when users are returned to the Previous Searches screen, all their searches are present.
  6. Update / Review Search button functions correctly: In 15.3, when users selected an Update and clicked Review Search, the system took them to the Previous Searches screen that included the same search.  When users clicked the Review Search button on this screen, they received an error message indicating “The selected set has no records.”  In 16.2 when users click the Review Search from Previous Searches screen, the search actually works.