University of Nebraska libraries launching new online catalog/discovery tool

Patrons of University of Nebraska libraries will notice big changes on the libraries’ websites beginning Dec. 21.

When users search for books, databases and other research resources through the libraries, they will interact with a next-generation library catalog and discovery tool. This change is the outcome of an 18-month project of the University of Nebraska Consortium of Libraries (UNCL) to upgrade to a new library services platform, which integrates nearly all aspects of academic library operations.

Janet Stoeger Wilke
Janet Stoeger Wilke

“This latest collaborative effort builds on the UNCL priority of enhancing access to resources for all NU students, faculty and staff,” said Janet Stoeger Wilke, dean of the University of Nebraska at Kearney’s Calvin T. Ryan Library.

Many features will remain familiar, including being able to use the search box on the UNK library homepage to search for print and electronic library materials such as books, videos and journal articles.

The most visible outcome to patrons will be a new, modern interface for identifying and locating research materials. Improved features include relevancy-ranked results and updated information on how to access items. A major new resource is the Central Discovery Index (CDI), which provides easy access to over a billion citations to scholarly materials obtained from various publishers and open-access repositories. With this new discovery tool, users will be able to easily:

  • Save records, searches and search histories
  • Save records to various citation managers
  • Easily access materials by logging in with UNK credentials
  • Search for print materials across all University of Nebraska libraries
  • Seamlessly request materials from other libraries
  • Virtually browse books on the shelf around materials in search results

“Our new search/discovery tool will be a vast improvement both visually and functionally over the current systems we use,” said Bobbi-Jean Ludwig, coordinator for library technology services at Calvin T. Ryan Library and UNK’s institutional lead on the project.

The benefits of moving to this next-generation solution will also be felt by librarians and staff across the NU system. The new library services platform (LSP) – a step above the current “ILS” – creates consistencies in workflows that will improve library services and allows UNCL libraries to share resources and expertise across all campuses.

“Ex Libris’ Alma/Primo library services platform will support UNCL in such a way to allow us to provide better services to the respective campuses and improve academic and research outcomes,” said Shelley Witte, a project manager from NU ITS’ office of project management who served as project manager of the migration effort.

Although they’ve worked together on previous projects, UNCL libraries had never collaborated on an endeavor of this scope and size. More than 85 staff members from across the University of Nebraska participated in the project, including staff from the libraries and NU ITS. Remarkably, even with the pandemic, the timeline has remained unchanged.

For more information on the project, contact Ludwig at 308-865-8585 or