Library catalog looking for better service

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    By EMILY SMURTHWAITE

    emily@newsroom.byu.edu

    The heavy use of the Harold B. Lee Library’s online catalog makes researching slow at certain times of the day. However, the installation of a new server should speed up the response time.

    “Success is our challenge,” said Don Howard, general reference coordinator and department chair.

    He said the off-campus and worldwide use of the library’s electronic catalog, found at www.lib.byu.edu, has made the catalog’s response time slow.

    Because of the demands on the server, a new one has been purchased, he said. If everything goes according to schedule, the new server should be installed over Thanksgiving break, Howard said.

    “We want people to know we are working on getting a better response time for them,” he said.

    Keith Stirling, electronic access librarian, said the current system, which is a replacement of card catalogs, is serving a lot of people.

    “When it was first installed, we thought there was plenty of room for growth potential,” he said. “There’s been an extraordinary use of the system, more than we anticipated.”

    Last August, almost 36 percent of the hits on the library’s site came from the HBLL and another 11 percent came from other places on-campus, Stirling said. Twenty-nine percent of the hits were received from other places in the United States. Another 11 percent came from outside of the U. S., he said. People in Australia logged onto the site the most times, followed by the United Kingdom, Germany and Canada.

    Three-fourths of the actual information retrieved through the electronic catalog is being processed to individuals outside of campus and the U.S., he said.

    Stirling said the library’s personnel is primarily concerned with meeting the needs of the students and faculty on campus.

    William Lund, Library Information Systems Department chair, said the server is busiest between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

    He said he thinks the reason for the heavy use of the online catalog is because of the installation of the electronic reserve. Along with other services, the electronic reserve was installed last summer, he said. Before then, the server wasn’t operating at capacity.

    If someone tries to log on mid-afternoon, Lund said the server doesn’t reject the request, it just takes longer to retrieve the information for it. That’s why people have been experiencing some delays, he said.

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