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.