Changes in Search and Services

Introducing MNCAT Discovery and Our New Website

Welcome to our new mobile-friendly website that delivers our new search tool, MNCAT Discovery. The new website has a flexible, responsive design that is optimized for smart phones and tablets. The site includes a single, blended MNCAT Discovery search box at the top of the home page with an option for advanced searches. You'll likely notice that the site is faster, too.


What's New?

Libraries home page, mobile view

1. MNCAT Discovery. MNCAT Discovery features a "blended search" interface that will allow you to search the overwhelming majority of articles and other materials currently licensed by the Libraries, as well as our books and other holdings.

When used for searching articles, MNCAT Discovery will be similar to Google Scholar, yet will offer greater capability to filter (for example, you can limit your search to only peer-reviewed articles) and will also provide direct links to our licensed full text. But MNCAT Discovery will also return results for books and other physical holdings.

Only want to search our physical collections? No problem, you can. Do you prefer to search specific databases? Don’t worry, you still can.

2. New, mobile-friendly website. The new site is built for mobile first and is also built to be speedy. Why? Because mobile use is growing rapidly as people use their smart phones and other devices to search the Internet and conduct research. We have seen the growth of mobile usage on our website double in each of the last two years from 2 percent to 4 percent to 8 percent. Speed is even more important on a smart phone.

3. New Library Operations Management System. We also launched our new, industry-standard, back-end management system, called "Alma," on December 26, replacing an end-of-life system that we've used since 2002.

4. Retirement of MNCAT Classic. Since MNCAT Classic was built on top of the 11-year-old legacy management system that Alma is replacing, MNCAT Classic was retired. We are confident that MNCAT Discovery is a worthy replacement in every respect, including known item searching (see videos below).


Why did we make these changes?

Simply put, we want to improve your search experience. In our 2010 survey, the overwhelming majority who responded said that they were interested in a broader search that went beyond just our own physical collections. MNCAT Discovery will provide this and more, while still allowing users to search specific databases and collections.

University Libraries has been recognized as a leader in assessing how users search for information, and in documenting the significant changes brought about by search engines and more fully featured commercial sites. In this spirit, we are committed to continued user testing and ongoing adjustments as needed  to MNCAT Discovery.

While we view these enhancements as being overwhelmingly positive, we understand that some may regard these changes as disruptive. In making such a large transition between systems, we also anticipate some short-term delays in service in the period between fall and spring semesters. To bring greater consistency from library-to-library, and across the University’s campus, we also will be implementing some changes related to borrowing privileges that may impact you.


Other changes to note

  1. Circulation practices were standardized for all University of Minnesota campuses. As a result, loan periods, fine rates, and notices will change for some users. On the Twin Cities campus, the loan period for graduate and professional students will remain at 13 weeks, with an increased renewal limit of two years. For undergraduate students on the Twin Cities campus, loan periods will be extended from six weeks to 13 weeks.
  2. Between fall and spring semesters, there will be a four-week disruption in the "Get It" office delivery service. During this period, faculty and staff may request pickup at any University library.

How to find help with MNCAT Discovery

Liaison librarians and service desk staff have been trained to assist you in this transition. Here's how you can seek help:

Ask a librarian
In person
Prefer a face-to-face chat? Find your service point of choice and hours of availability from a list of campus libraries.

Phone
Call Wilson Library Reference at 612-626-2227 or choose from a list of campus libraries. Service hours may vary by library.

Email
Send your question or comments to us via web form. We'll respond to your request within 24 hours.

Online chat (24/7)
Chat online, 24 hours a day, with a librarian who will help you with your queries and concerns.

Contact your subject librarian
Contact a librarian who specializes in your subject area.


Watch a video about MNCAT Discovery and our new site