A new life for Cat Cymru

Cat looking at a computer screen

It had to be a cat picture, for Cat Cymru. Although Cat in Cat Cymru is for catalogue... Pic by SuziJane CC from Flickr

Some of you may have heard that Cat Cymru is going to be changing soon. Cat Cymru is the Welsh libraries’ online catalogue and is accessed via the library portal. It’s always had the ‘beta’ tag attached to it and has never been extensively promoted, because although it’s good, it’s not perfect and has a variety of bugs and problems.

The good news is that the new system will improve the search options and make it a better live all-Wales federated library catalogue search.

The reason for changing now is because WebFeat, which is what Cat Cymru is based on, was bought by ProQuest in 2008 and they have decided to discontinue offering support for the federated search software, and will not develop new connectors for when catalogues change. If no action were taken, Cat Cymru would stop working completely in June.

So, work is now underway to transfer Cat Cymru to use 360 Search, which is another simultaneous federated search product offered by Serials Solutions (part of ProQuest). This also interrogates member catalogues in real time, without any input from libraries, and should provide far better search functionality, including ISBN search. The service should be more stable, re-connect to changed catalogues more quickly and be generally a little less clunky and quirky.

Unfortunately, 360 Search currently has no function to request a book. As a work around, a manual request mechanism is going to be created which will ensure the loan request service will still operate so that users can search, find and then request an item on the website.

The good folk at the National Library of Wales who work on various projects for Libraries Inspire are doing this work, so if you have specific questions about the change, please get in touch with them at librariesforlife-at-llgc.org.uk, especially if you are responsibly for inter-library loans in your library and haven’t heard from them yet.

PS – Public libraries in England are pilot testing FAB – Find A Book – which is based on WorldCat from OCLC, which will be a non-live union catalogue search. As yet there is little/no information in the public domain on this.

About alysontyler

Civil servant, yoga teacher and former librarian.
This entry was posted in Libraries, Online resources, Wales and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to A new life for Cat Cymru

  1. I assume there is a substantial payment to ProQuest for switching to 360 Search? It just seems slightly ironic that a company which buys out the competition and shuts them down then succeeds in persuading customers stranded by their business practices to give them more money! Is there consideration of open source solutions? Taking an open source solution and investing the money – that would otherwise have been passed on to a commercial company – in development of the tool seems like a more sustainable option. That could then benefit libraries who otherwise couldn’t afford their own federated search subscription.

    • alysontyler says:

      Hi Karl, thanks for your comments. You raise an important point. As far as I can recall there no cost to move over to 360Search. There is an annaul subscription/maintenance cost, which after a few years of Cat Cymru the National Library of Wales very kindly took on, on behalf of all libraries in Wales. The idea of an open source option is possible. We will review the new system this year and also monitor the trends in federated search technology to ensure Cat Cymru is the best it can be.

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