Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Virtual Catalog

We have had access to the "Virtual Catalog" for about five years, and it permits you, our user, to access dozens of libraries in Massachusetts that are not members of our Sails consortium. When one of you requests an item we don't have, our next step is to check the Virtual Catalog. You, too, can do it...there are links in our on-line card catalog, Ibistro, and on our website. Here's some facts from the Virtual Catalog:

The Virtual Catalog project has been underway for five years; about 20 library systems are now connected. The Virtual Catalog will search the following library catalogs:

CLAMS, Cape Libraries Automated Materials Sharing
C/W MARS, Central/Western Massachusetts Automated Resource Sharing
FLO, Fenway Libraries Online
Minuteman Library Network
MBLN, Metro Boston Library Network (including the Boston Public Library)
MVLC, Merrimack Valley Library Consortium
NOBLE, North of Boston Library Exchange
OCLN, Old Colony Library Network
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
University of Massachusetts, Boston
University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth
University of Massachusetts, Lowell
MBLN, MVLC, and FLO card holders must enter the Virtual Catalog as guest users at this
time. You cannot reserve material (i.e.,"place a hold") through the Virtual Catalog interface at this time.

Items that we request through this catalog take longer to arrive than usually happens for local requests, but most do come. If you can't find the item you want in the Virtual Catalog, we can usually request it through Interlibrary Loan. Our "ILL" requests go through another Massachusetts library, but items can come from all over the country...and we sometimes send items as well. Please let us know if there is something you are looking for and have been unable to find, or if you have questions about the Virtual Catalog. Some of our library users are VERY familiar with it, and use it very frequently!


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