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Library Launches New Operating System

Covenant College Library


In summer 2011, Covenant’s Kresge Memorial Library was eleventh in the world to go live with the Online Computer Library Center’s (OCLC) new cloud-based integrated operating system, Web-scale Management Service (WMS). The library also replaced its old online catalogue with WorldCat Local, a new discovery tool search engine. While WMS streamlines library administrative functions, the new WorldCat Local dramatically changes how Covenant faculty and students do research.


The old online catalog only accessed books and media in the library, but WorldCat Local allows users to retrieve relevant information found in a wide variety of information resources and formats from a single search box. “Not only will this discovery tool show what we have in our library, but also what is held in any library worldwide,” says Tad Mindeman, director of library services. “It gives you a better scope and feel of connectivity.”


Erin Helmly ’11, who will graduate in December, recalls that last year the library’s resources could only be uncovered through multiple searches in various indexes and databases. With WorldCat Local, almost everything is searchable through one interface. “That has definitely been a big improvement,” says Erin, though she cautions that this discovery tool is not a replacement for the work done by Covenant’s research librarian, or for more specific electronic resources. “The discovery tool is best for someone just getting started on a topic, hoping to start with a broad search, and then to narrow the search as they hone in on their subject.”


The entire operating system runs on OCLC’s offsite servers, meaning Covenant’s technology services department no longer has to maintain a local server for the library. “The product is still technically in beta testing,” says Mindeman, whose staff has worked extensively with OCLC to correct bugs in the new system. “There are about forty-five other schools that are now live with it, and we like what’s going on.


“This whole process of changing systems and our workflows wouldn’t have been possible without the willingness of the Kresge Library staff to embrace change and not be fearful about doing things differently. We try to be innovative here at the library, keep up with what’s going on with new technology, and give really good service to our students. In this particular case, this is a major leap forward for this community.” 


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