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Release: June 22, 2000

Libraries ask OASIS users to test new online catalog system

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa Libraries is asking its patrons in the UI community to help test its new online catalog system, Aleph, for glitches and user-friendliness before it is made a permanent replacement to OASIS Aug. 3.

Comments may be submitted online at the site's Contact Library Staff button or persons may complete survey forms available by the workstations near the Main Library south reference desk area. Forms may also be dropped-off at the Libraries' Information Desk. Testing can be done at

Aleph, so-named by its software developer, soon will be given a new name that will be unique to the UI.

Those involved with implementing the Libraries' switch from OASIS say that among other things, they are looking for responses that give them insight on the site's ease of use, instructions, system glitches, and new Windows format. The Libraries has roughly 3 million titles in its current system; however, only 50,000 records are contained in the test site.

The new system will allow users to search information by format, language, and by particular branch libraries, features that aren't available through text-based OASIS. With the new online system, users will be able to go directly to a Web site by clicking on a site's hotlink or URL directly from the system's new Windows environment without having to separately launch a Web browser.

The new system also has auxiliary functions such as e-mail and print features, as well as a feature that allows users to see titles they currently have checked out.

Becky Johnson, co-chair of the OPAC Implementation Team, says the new catalog system is in constant flux, and what users see today, they might not tomorrow. She is also hoping a substantial number of undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and the public will test the new system.

Donna Hirst, co-project manager, says the Libraries expect to cease updating information on OASIS July 22, when the new system is being put online. Patrons will, however, still be able to use the older system with the knowledge that their searches might yield slightly incomplete results.

Patrons might experience some temporary delays during and shortly after the new system is implemented, as some automated circulation procedures might have to be done by hand.

Testing of the site can be done at