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Home > Blog > March 2012 > Introducing the Free Library's New Catalog

For the past few years, we have heard from many of you about the things you want our online catalog to do. Searching should be as easy and intuitive as possible. You’d like the option to browse our collections and see a list of every movie we have, or every item we’ve added recently. You want to be able to create and save booklists. Most of all, you want to log in once and have the catalog remember that you’re logged in when you want to place things on hold.  It’s definitely time for us to take our online catalog to the next level.

We’re excited to present to you the beta version of our new online catalog, and we invite you to try it out and tell us what you think before we launch it in early April.

Some Highlights:
  • Your Library Account – Unlike Aquabrowser, which had no connections to your library account, this new catalog is fully integrated with your account. Once you log in, you’ll be able to see and manage your checkouts, holds, fines, profile information, and booklists, and you’ll stay logged in until you choose to log out (or your session times out).
  •  Easily Filter Your Results - After you enter your search terms, you will be able to narrow down your results by clicking on the various facets of the results. You can easily view all items from a particular branch, in DVD format, or in a particular language!
  • Browse Our Catalog –You can easily view all items from a particular branch, author, topic, genre or patron generated tags!
  • Save and Share – You can easily bookmark or send links to items in our catalog, with links that never expire. Email items (or whole searches) to yourself, send them as text messages, or build RSS feeds. Use Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ to tell your friends what you’re reading now.
  • Create Booklists – Once you are logged into your library account, you can search the catalog and save any items that strike your fancy. Your booklists will be private – only you can view them – and you can set up as many as you want or need. Add private notes to the items you’ve saved. Keep a list of what you’ve already read, or what you want to read next. 
  • Tag Our Books – When you’re logged in, you can add tags to any record. Anyone can search or browse the tags that have been added. Tag our Victorian-era books as “steampunk” or tag all the DVDs by your favorite comedian as “comedy gold” and make our stuff easier to find!
What’s Next

The beta catalog will be available through the month of March. During this time, we invite you to try some searches, log into your library account, make a booklist, or experiment in whatever way you like. We’re also encouraging you to give us your feedback – you can comment on this blog post or send us your comments directly. We will gather your suggestions, make adjustments, and fix any bugs that turn up. In early April, we will retire our Aquabrowser discovery layer and replace it with this new catalog.

Thanks for checking out our beta, and happy searching!

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Comments
Sun, March 11, 2012
There is so many new to learn and i think that free Library's New Catalog will only help in benefit to learning many good useful information.
Angela - CA,Los Angelos
Tue, March 13, 2012
So glad you've added Boolean search capability, where I can specify (say) author name AND title word, or some other combination. The old catalog required picking only one field to search on. One of the best book search engines I've used is Amazon.com, and the new catalog has many of the same features.
Martha Cornog - Philadelphia
Tue, March 20, 2012
I like it.
mary - philadelphia
Tue, March 27, 2012
None
Joan Hayman - Logan Sqare
Wed, April 11, 2012
The renewal process is too slow. There should be a way to select several books at once and renew, rather than, having to select each individual book and waiting for confirmation that it has been renewed.
Eryn - Roxborough
Thu, April 12, 2012
Eryn, we agree - right now, renewing your items is an "all or nothing" proposition, where you can either renew everything or renew an individual book. We want to add the ability for you to select some of your books (but not all) for renewal, to save some time. We're working on this now and hope to have it rolled out soon.
Carolyn P. - Free Library
Thu, April 19, 2012
I've been waiting for the ability to have a online book list, just getting to using it. Thank you for the consideration and wonderful effort to provide patron with their wishes, for a more inactive library experience. L Gregory CCD
Loretta - Philadelphia
Mon, April 23, 2012
Hooray for VuFind! So glad you're kicking the Awful AquaBrowser to the curb. I'm very happy to get to play around with this new catalog!
Johanna - Germantown
Sat, May 05, 2012
Using Beta for night class reference bibliography. Actually making the specific searches much easier. Looking forward to this replacing the old method. Haven't used all the features, so I don't know yet what all works and what has still bugs .....
ceya - Philadelphia
Tue, May 08, 2012
How on earth do you place a hold on a book?!
Carol - Philadelphia PA
Wed, May 09, 2012
Hi, Carol - it looks like the option to place a hold has broken. (Normally, there will be a green "Place Hold" button next to each item that is eligible to be placed on hold.) I'm sorry about that! We'll take a look to see what's wrong and fix that ASAP.
Carolyn P. - Free Library
Thu, May 24, 2012
I like the fact that you have moved to VuFind from Aquabrowser. Aquabrowser was ok for the tag cloud view, but this VuFind is way fun!
Ayumi - Kanagawa, Japan
Wed, June 13, 2012
i like the betra version
JM - North Philadelhia
Wed, September 05, 2012
It would be really nice if you knew if an item was renewable before you tried to renew it. Only way now is to attempt to renew, and then be informed that something was not renewable.
Ed - Fluffya
Wed, September 05, 2012
How does one doe Boolean logic within categories? For instance: if I search for "Robert Russell" in author category, I get thousands of answers: any author with a 1st name of Robert, and any author with a last name of Russell. How do I get just those with "Robert" AND "Russell"?
Ed - Fluffya
Sun, October 21, 2012
I have always wanted a "book List" to show read & want to read. Thanks for adding this feature.
Gil - Philadelphia
Sat, November 03, 2012
The beta catalog is really a big improvement on the current one. It's easier to use and in some ways a lot more intuitive than the other one so please launch it already. I've been impatiently waiting for months.
Jane -
Thu, November 08, 2012
Search results are MUCH better. My book actually comes up as the first book in my search now!
Aishah - Media, PA
Tue, December 25, 2012
i TRIED PAYING A FINE ONLINE BY SECURE SERVER....COULD NOT ACCOMPLISH
liSA - PHILADELPHIA
Tue, December 25, 2012
TRIED PLACING A HOLD BUT BY CLICKING GREEN LINK BUT THERE WAS INDICATION THAT THE HOLD WAS SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETED. THE HOLD DOES HOT SHOW UP ON MY HOLD LIST.
lISA - pHILADELPHIA
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