Thanks for taking the time to share your concerns about the library catalogue search.
The public catalogue interfaces that we previously had in place were directly tied to the staff-side library management software. MORRIS, in fact, was an integral part of that older system. The Endeca public interface that we had been running for the past three years or so was also customized to work specifically with that product.
The library management system that we previously used is no longer being developed by the vendor, requiring a move to a different platform with different system architectures. As MORRIS was part of the old system, retaining it was not an option--though we did move any lists that users had created and saved in MORRIS from that interface to the current catalogue as part of the migration. Checkouts and other user account information were also retained and moved forward. Similarly, Endeca could not be moved forward without significant amounts of redevelopment.
I do want to reassure you that searching will get better. The catalogue search currently available is tied directly to the staff-side management software. We do not see this as a long-term solution to providing library users with access to resources. A team is already working on a replacement interface that will be a vast improvement over the "bundled" catalogue. The new public interface software will be based on VuFind. It is open, flexible, and will let us design with our users' needs in mind. VuFind has already been implemented in a number of academic libraries, including Yale, Georgia Tech, the University of Michigan, and York. We expect to have the new interface in place before the start of the new term.
We appreciate your patience as we work through this interim period. (Aug 14/11)
Answered by: Wade Wyckoff (Associate University Librarian, Collections)