Welcome to a new aadl.org!

Today we're pleased to release a completely rebuilt catalog on an upgraded website. The new catalog offers significantly improved performance and usability as well as numerous small enhancements throughout the site. That said, there are sure to be glitches, temporarily missing features, or tweaks yet to come, so please take a look around and let us know what you find and what you think, either by commenting on this post, or by contacting us. Thanks for your patience, and thanks for using the library!

Update: some older web browsers may have trouble using the menu bar buttons. We're working on this; for now, you should be able to go straight to http://aadl.org/myaccount or http://aadl.org/catalog. Thanks for your patience!


Where is my account?

This new website isn't working at all. Can't get to catalog search or to my account. Can only get to the About Us page, no matter what you click on along the top.

AndreaLams, myaccount is in the top row of buttons, that hasn't changed, is it not working for you?

yzi3am, we're sorry the buttons aren't working for you; can you tell us what browser you're using?

I'm using the newest version of Firefox on Windows XP and the site works fine in the sense that all the buttons are functional. The catalog, though, doesn't seem to be working at all. I was trying to find Tracy Chevalier's upcoming book so I searched by title "Remarkable Creatures" and got back a few hundred results, but I had a hard time finding that title among them. So I searched by author chevalier, t and received 1953 results, the first few being T.S. Eliot, T.A. Osae, T.H. White.

Then I search for tracy chevalier and the first several of the 396 results are hers, but then there are some by Amy Tracy, Tracy Hickman, Tracy Chapman, then more Tracy Chevlier, meaning it's still cumbersome to find the book I'm looking for. I tried sorting alphabetical by author (too many DVD and collaboration type materials clogging up the beginning of the list) and alphabetical reverse (had to click through 8 pages to find the R titles). I don't see the book I'm looking for, but can't be sure that the library doesn't have it since there are just too many results coming up in the searches I'm trying.


The new catalog record pages look great!

But... * like some others, all of the menu items at the top of the page (About Us, Catalog, Events, etc.) link to the About Us page. * I was also not able to request a title. (Clicking request a title lead to a - you are not authorized to view this page - error.) * And, finally, I tried to use the contact us link, but after I submitted my message, I received the following error, "Fatal error: Unsupported operand types in /home/sites/aadlorg/includes/common.inc on line 1386. (I am using IE6.)

Maybe you've already been made aware of these issues, but just in case...

Good luck!

Cannot locate check-out history page.

Jenifer, thanks for your very helpful comment. In this case, we do not yet have a record for Remarkable Creatures. The quickest way in this case to be sure you're seeing all of her titles and only her titles is to just click on her name in one of the hits you find, which will take you to a list of the items that have Tracy Chevalier listed as an author or an additional author.

One of the big changes is that the search now works more like most other web searches, which means it looks for any of the words in your search terms and puts the closest matches first. This will be tweaked extensively as we see how people use the new search, and your feedback is very helpful to us!

agreenwood, thanks for your comment. Your navigation issues are definitely related to IE6. We're working on a fix for IE6 users right now. The contact us bug has just been fixed, as has the "you are not authorized" error when trying to place a request. Thanks again for your patience and let us know if you're still having trouble with either of these, and hang on for an IE6 fix!

Thanks for that reply. It does help. I played with it a little more and see that, like other internet search engines, there are ways to search that restrict results. For example, typing:

tracy AND chevalier

returns only records with both words. But typing:

+tracy +chevalier

gives the same results as typing:

tracy chevalier

Typing "tracy chevalier" returns records with that exact string (only 1), but searching "chevalier, tracy" works.

Will there be a guide to search syntax available at some point since different sites use different methods?

Jennifer Exum, the check-out history data is intact but there is a display bug that we are working on now. The button to reach the checkout history will be back ASAP. Thanks for your comment!

Jenifer, we will absolutely offer some search tips once the settings settle down a bit. Our plan is to make the search as accepting of different approaches as possible and we'll be adjusting this a lot in the coming weeks. Thanks for poking around, we definitely are trying to adapt standard internet search conventions as much as possible and we're glad you noticed!

Hello. "My Account" works for me in Internet Explorer 7 but not in Firefox 2.0.

Oh, and I'm behind a firewall, if that is of any relevance.


Thanks, Lisa, that's very helpful, we're working on these issues right now. I don't think the firewall is the problem if it works for you in IE7. Thanks again for your feedback!

The entire menu bar at the top is redirecting to "About Us", therefore I can't get to "My Account" or "Catalog".

vmtheisen, are you using Internet Explorer 6? We're working on that bug right now. In the meantime you should be able to follow these links to http://aadl.org/myaccount and http://aadl.org/catalog . Thanks for your patience!

Hi, I'm using Safari and every time I click on the title of a book or DVD listed in My Account, it crashes Safari and I have to relaunch it. Will I still be able to use Safari here?

Hi puentej, we absolutely support safari. I'm not able to reproduce this problem; what version of safari are you using? And can you tell us a title of a book or DVD that's crashing the browser? Thanks for your patience!

This is another of example of fixing something that wasn't broken. It used to be so simple to search for an item but this new system is crazy. I was looking for "Winter in June" by Kathryn Miller. When I tried to search by title, I got about 500 hits. Clearly every single book with the word "winter" or and word "June". When I tried to search by author, I got every single book ever written by a person whose last name is Miller. I figure if the title I'm searching for isn't the first one that comes up, it's not available at AADL. With the old system, it was immediately clear if the item wasn't available from AADL and then it was an easy to immediately request it from MEL. But shoot -- whoever decided to make this change has made things way more complicated and frustrating. Were you getting a lot of complaints about the old system? What led to this horrible change? I finally gave up and called the reserve line. I'm not having trouble finding my account or any of the other problems some people are reporting. However, everything takes forever to load and it didn't before. How much money did this "update" cost and who voted for it? I'm an Ann Arbor taxpayer and I'm not happy.

Better! I was hoping you would do something about the website and catalog search. I love you guys!

I haven't been able to locate summaries and reviews. Please don't tell me you have eliminated these features. I used them all the time!!
Graphics are nice, but efficiency of search and information is much more important.

Christy, thanks for your comment. The old system was no longer supported and not upgrading was not an option. We know that searching for things that aren't there is something that the old system was much clearer about, but we've seen in our search logs so many people searching for things that are there, but being too specific or including the wrong word and not finding their item, that having a more forgiving search was a design goal.

One of the new features is that the search now behaves like most other web searches; if you put your search in quotes, it will only search for that exact phrase. So a search in quotes for "Winter in June" shows that we do not have a book by that title. If you just enter Kathryn Miller, you should find that the first two hits are indeed books from the desired series, and that the author's name in the record is Kathryn Miller Haines. You can also click her name, which will then take you to a list of just her books.

The link MeL will be back shortly, and we are also working on several bugs that are affecting load time. I'm sorry you've had a disappointing experience, and we will take your feedback into account as we continue to improve the catalog.

Abramsmitch, thanks for your comment, we're glad you like the new catalog, and we love you too. =)

Rutila, the summaries and reviews will indeed be back ASAP. And IE6 users should find that the menu bar works for them now.

Thanks to everyone for your patience and feedback, please keep it coming!


No, neither can I. I use it (history) and sure hate to see it go!

Eli -

It looks like the NY Times bestsellers links return weird searches that don't work in the new catalog.

E.g. when I go from


to "NY Times bestsellers"

"NY Times Bestsellers"

to a link


it doesn't return any results. thanks!


Ruth, reading history will be back! The data is still there and your checkouts are still being recorded. The display isn't working at the moment, and the button will be right back where it always was as soon as possible.

Ed, thanks very much. We'll work with the bookletters vendor to get those links fixed.

I just filed the same complaint about the lack of a smooth path to MEL.
That was a good feature.

I've updated to Safari 4.0.3 and I'm not having that problem any more. Thanks!

Another things that seems to be broken is on the My Account page. In the list of items checked out, there is no longer an indication that an item is not renewable because it is on hold. It still doesn't allow you to renew, indicating "on hold" after you try, but being able to quickly see which items cannot be renewed is helpful for someone trying to decide what needs to be read next.

I guess those survey questions came in handy (-;). Any glitches should work themselves o=ut before long then ftom there it's smooth sailing.

The publication date for the Chevalier book, Remarkable Creatures, is January 2010. We order new titles up to 4 months in advance of publication. Therefore, the Chevalier book will be ordered on September 1.

The article I read about it said it was coming out next week, but I've just realized it's a UK article. Thanks!

Ron, we've just added a link to pass the search terms on to MeLCat to the no results page and to the bottom of every page of results.

puentej, thanks for the update about Safari, I'm glad it's working!

jenifer, the checkbox removal for nonrenewable items will be back ASAP. We need to rebuild our cache of which items have requests overnight and this feature is in the top tier of our list.

bkuser, the usability survey questions did come in very handy! We'll be posting new questions as soon as we get through the rest of this week. =) I like your attitude.

Stay tuned to the front page as missing features are brought back online and new features debut!

One feature that is no longer there (that i am not too surprised to see go) is the personal card catalog. I used this as a list of things i would like to check out at some point but do not have the time to go though now; that is, requesting the item now would do me no good as i would probably be unlikely to finish it before it was due. Is there another way to make a list of items you are interested in without specifically requesting them to be held?

Also, i agree that by default doing a search for any word in your search term rather than all words isn't a great default (especially when searching by title). If no results are found with an exact match, it would be nicer to be able to click some link to broaden the search rather than combing a list of titles that barely match looking for the one you are really interested in.

Thanks, mflick, the personal card catalog will be back, but we are also planning a better wishlist feature for exactly this purpose. We also now have the flexibility of changing the search behavior on an index-by-index basis, meaning that keyword can remain google style any word matches, while a title search would require all the words in your search terms. However, again, we've seen lots of people land on the no hits page with an ALL approach when we have the item they're looking for. The ANY approach gives you more results but if your terms all appear in the title, it will be first in your results so combing through isn't required. Regardless, there is lots of opportunity to tweak these settings as we see how people are using the new search, and your feedback is very valuable as we consider the options.

I appreciate your hard work on the new site, but I REALLY wish you had left well enough alone. The site was perfectly functional before this "upgrade."

It is difficult to determine, when one is looking at the "Items Checked Out", what is on hold and unable to be renewed and what can be renewed.

The search function is hit or miss. When it does work, it is difficult to determine what is actually available. Before, I could see at a glance, now, not so much.

Getting a MeL was easier to find in the old system (actually, I haven't seen the link at all in the new system).

Further, the pages seem to load slower than before.

It's not too late to go back to the old system. It was much, much, better.

Thanks for your comments, Tsarist. I'm afraid staying with the old system was not an option as it used software that is no longer supported. The checkboxes that are removed when items are not renewable will be as soon as possible, we're working on that tonight. We did not intend to remove this feature, we know how much our patrons count on it; but it ran into a bug that we are tracking down now. The checkboxes will soon perform as they did before.

We're sorry you find it difficult to tell what's available. We're working on improving the search's performance and usability, so any suggestions are welcome. We have also added the MeL search link at the bottom of every page of results as well as on the no results page. We will also continue to tune the new system to make sure that it is performing optimally, but we are already seeing a significant decrease in page render time and overall server load as compared to the previous system.

Thanks again for your feedback, and let us know if you have any other questions or concerns!

Whatever happened to looking for an author's name and having those titles show up? I got 5000 listings that had nothing to do with the author"s name. I assume there will be some teaching sessions, but we can't all show up at the library to learn.
Have pity on us old timers who have a hard time with change.

You may already be aware, but searches for terms special characters (like Pokémon) aren't working the way they used to. A search on "Pokemon" used to match to all the "Pokémon" terms in the catalog. That is no longer happening. Also, info on titles with special characters like "." seems be truncated in the catalog displays. For example, I show "Pokémon adventures. 1" and "Pokémon adventures. 2" in my checkouts. But when you search in the catalog for Pokémon adventures, the results don't show the volume numbers anywhere in their records. I was trying to see if the library owned volume 3, and I don't think you do?

I used to be able to search the catalog easily every month for new books, regardless of category. Apparently this is no longer possible. Here is my error report.

The new “search” function is not for this. Apparently I am supposed to “browse” the catalog. But this function has issues. Under “Browse the Catalog” there is an active link for “New Items”. When I took the link, I got an error message saying my search produced no results. Apparently the reason for this was that I had left a box in the “search the catalog” function blank, even though I was not “searching”. “Browse” gets you to “search”, apparently.

There is also an active link under “Browse the Catalog, New Items” labeled “New Fiction”. This worked, in its own way. However, it claimed that I had searched “by format” for “book” and “graphic novel”. When I tried to uncheck the “graphic novel” box, I got an error message saying that Safari could not reach the catalog. When I re-set the “in” field from “everything” to “books”, I was then told that my search “by format” was for book, large type, and graphic novel!

So, back to the “Browse the Catalog, New Items” function. The link to “New Large Print” says it produced no results. Ditto “New DVDs”, “New Blu-Ray”, “New CDs”, and “New Books on CD”. Ergo, the only link that works under “New Items” is “New Fiction”.

Please note that there is no link for “New Books”. Why not? I want to be able to search for all new books, regardless of category.

Also, in case someone wants to “Browse the Catalog” “By Format”, there is no format simply stating “Books”.

I was playing about with the search refinement sidebar (thanks for that!) and notice that "Need help?" (http://www.aadl.org/research_help) at the bottom of "Your Search" is 404.

Also, not exactly related -- but I found the new interface at the self-checkout to be very hard to read. It seems the buttons are smaller, darker and labeled differently? Or maybe I'm misremembering the old version...

[Edited to add: some tagging work needs to be done. I'm looking at the "recently added" > "DVD" > "Adult" and get "My friends Tigger & Pooh." Not a show stopper, just unexpected]

I do really like the new website! Now it shows me "New" large print books. That is something I never had before!

Well, this new catalog was certainly an unpleasant surprise Tuesday morning. The previous catalog was simple, easy to understand, efficient and with very helpful information. Did I not see an announcement that the change was coming? Or was there not an announcement and introduction? And, when announcing the change Tuesday morning, wouldn't it have been a good idea to list all of previous features that were not yet active but that would be returning soon (I hope!) And also, when announcing the change, why not put out tips immediately on how to use the new catalog. If I hadn't read through all the Comments before even attempting to go into the new catalog, I would have been very upset and lost. It seems to me that the library's communication with its patrons was sadly lacking.

Under "Browse the Catalog, New Items", where is "New Non Fiction". Also under the New Items, a Date Added and Categories are missing. These features will be much missed, and I hope they will be returning. Otherwise, for each new title, one will have to research it to find if one is interested in reading it. This would be far too time consuming.

I didn't know a change was coming, but when I searched for something in the catalog this morning, I was very pleasantly surprised! I'm sure you will work out the bugs soon, what's a website launch without a few bugs, right?

This website upgrade is amazing! when the kinks are worked out this will be one of the top Library websites in the country.....imho.

Thanks to all for your continued feedback! Hopefully you've noticed that the checkboxes on the renewal pages are again behaving as desired when items are not renewable and we're busily adjusting the search performance based on your feedback.

Mari, you should absolutely be able to search for an author and have those titles show up. However, the search is being a bit fussy at the moment about the order of the name, so try lastname firstname and see if that works better for you. We don't want to require this and we're working on a solution, but it should help you, especially for authors with common names. Do you recall what your search was so we can figure out where it's going wrong?

Pmemmott, we're working on an alternate index that will better handle accented characters, so stay tuned for that. We're also improving the volume and other information about the title that should enable you to see exactly what volume you're looking at.

David, the entire reason for the old new items application was that our old catalog did not allow you to sort results by just added, which amounts to a new items database that is updated automatically every night instead of weekly by human hands. The "New Items" link is now fixed and does indeed give you a list of all the newest items in the catalog with the newest first. We've also added New Books to that list, sorry for that oversight; it will only show the new non-large type books in the collection. Not sure why removing graphic novels from the limits didn't work for you, is that still happening? All the other New Items links appear to be working as well, what happens when you click those? It's very helpful to have this feedback from an avid user of New Items, so thanks very much for taking the time.

Logista, thanks for your comments, we'll get the search help page fixed and we will find out what's wrong with the record on that DVD. We noticed as well that the new selfcheck stock interface is not very high contrast and is especially hard to read at the bottom of the screen. We're looking at changing the colors to improve that. They are labelled differently and we're finding out about the configuraiton options there.

Ruth Duey, we're very glad you like the addition of new large type; as I said, one of the real strengths of the new catalog is that newness is built into the search so that any search can be sorted by newness. It opens up many possibilities and large type was a quick one!

Ruth Langston, we're sorry you were surprised by the new catalog. We've been testing it in the survey box under the catalog search for almost 2 months, although I do agree that we could have done a better job making sure our patrons knew what was coming. However, as you see, it didn't really exist until everyone had to use it, and it is changing so quickly in response to the feedback we're getting that a preview would not have been as helpful. We will have full help and search tips, plus a video walkthrough, posted after the change rate settles down a bit, and we are sorry for the features that we never intended to remove that turned out not to work when the switch was flipped. Omelets and eggs and all that. Checkout history is almost fixed as are the reviews and summaries. Thanks again for your patience and your feedback.

Whitrae, I'm very glad you were pleasantly surprised! We are indeed working furiously to stamp out the bugs and we really appreciate all the help we get from our patrons in finding them. =) This project has been in development since the beginning of 2009 and comprises thousands and thousands of lines of code. I just checked and the code we're running at the moment is version 160 of this project!

Thanks again to everyone for your feedback, criticism, praise, patience, and understanding. More to come!

Thanks for your response to my comment. You didn't answer my query about what has happened to the New Non-Fiction category under New Items. You have New Fiction, and a number of other categories, but not New Non-Fiction. I hope this is just an oversight? Also, you didn't answer to my question about what happened to the very short description of categories each new book fit into. I very much hope this is coming back. Otherwise, just a list of titles of new books with no information about the book is not very helpful at all.

Whoops, sorry Ruth. The New Non-fiction we plan to bring back, but it will take a little more work because 'Nonfiction' is not a term that the catalog data contains. We just need to figure out how to describe what we want to the search engine. The other categories already work because they're searching for the presence of something and not the absence of the word 'Fiction', etc. As for the categories, I think you're talking about the subject headings that the previous New Items lists included. We'll figure out a way to incorporate that data into the hitlists as well for new item searches. Thanks again for your patience and feedback.

It's great that "New Items" now includes "New Books"! Just one more thing, which I also told a helpful staff person at the Traverwood Library desk this afternoon: It used to be that I could pick how many records would be displayed on a given page - 10, 50, or 100, as I remember. Now the only choice is 20 on a page. I used to pick 100 per page, and I used to go through over 1,000 new book records every month. Having only 20 records per page show up means a lot more clicking.

More tomorrow (Thursday). Keep cranking!

I'll second David's comment on records per page. As someone who enjoys browsing the new book records, it can take a lot of clicks to do so 20 at a time.

Yup, thanks David and Jenifer, we've already got selectable hits per page on our list and it should be coming soon. Thanks again for your feedback!

I am having serious issues with the catalog searching. I can't seem to hone in on what I'm looking for and end up resorting to scrolling through multiple pages because I can't get it to narrow my search.

There are several things I'm used to doing on the old web site that I'm having problems with on the new site. First of all, there used to be a description of the book (or CD, or DVD, etc) in the catalog record. For example a book or movie might have a short description of the plot or story line. I can't seem to find that in the current catalog.

Secondly, the old keyword search seemed to be smarter. It seemed to have boolean algorithms built in. For example, let's say that I was looking for a movie with Susan Hayward and I used the "key word" parameter of the search function. Under the old search function, I would put Susan Hayward in the "key word" field and limit the search to DVD and all DVDs with Susan Hayward would be displayed. In the new search function, DVD is no longer a choice. I put Susan Hayward in the search field and limit the search to Video and every video with either "Susan" or "Hayward" comes up.

I recently commented on problems with smart searches of the web site (see ADDITIONAL NOTE) and I've since discovered another problem. Title searches are no longer exact. This complaint is very similar to my earlier complaint about keyword searches not being smart enough in boolean terms. For example, if I entered "I Want to Live" in the old search function and limited the search parameters to "Title" the search results would only return records with the EXACT title: "I Want to Live." The new search function returns every single title with "I" or "Want" or "Live" in the title.

ADDITIONAL NOTE: Here's my previous comment about a similar problem.

There are several things I'm used to doing on the old web site that I'm having problems with on the new site. First of all, there used to be a description of the book (or CD, or DVD, etc) in the catalog record. For example a book or movie might have a short description of the plot or story line. I can't seem to find that in the current catalog.

Secondly, the old keyword search seemed to be smarter. It seemed to have boolean algorithms built in. For example, let's say that I was looking for a movie with Susan Hayward and I used the "key word" parameter of the search function. Under the old search function, I would put Susan Hayward in the "key word" field and limit the search to DVD and all DVDs with Susan Hayward would be displayed. In the new search function, DVD is no longer a choice. I put Susan Hayward in the search field and limit the search to Video and every video with either "Susan" or "Hayward" comes up.

I'm glad the personal card catalog is coming back, like the other user, I also use it for books I want to check out some day. There was a lot of room for improvement on this feature. It was handy, but not fun to use. What I want to know, is the data still available? I had quite a list on it and I would rather not lose it.

As to the site itself, after a quick look, I think it is better and easier to read. I haven't used it much yet so time will tell.

I tried to look at Ypsi Gleanings at


and got the error

You are not authorized to access this page.

I'm sure it's somewhere still...

I really wish you had left this site alone. The results one gets when you ask for a specific author show too many irrelevant titles. I asked for author Alan Bradley (as cited on NPR this AM) and I finally got a reference to C. Alan Bradley, which was no. 6 in the list of titles. The list started off with Alan Perlis, then Jeff Bradley, Marion Zimmer Bradley, and then Alan Ayckbourn - none of these had any relevance to what I am looking for. A card catalog should act like a card catalog, and there ought to have been a cross reference from Bradley, Alan to SEE Bradley, C. Alan. I may be old fashioned, but I rather liked the serendipity of the old printed card catalog, and the former on line search engine allowed at least some of that. Other titles and authors which I requested also displayed irrelevant and non-connected information. If I know what I want, I ought to be able to get it on the first try. Please do away with this new site - it is truly not helpful.

Eli, per your request, I checked all the links under "Browse the Catalog, New Items" and everything worked! Great!

However, the vitally important "Reviews and Summaries" are still not available. When is the date by which you expect that these will be restored?

Last year I documented a problem I regularly had with the catalog (at least using Firefox, not sure on IE) wherein I pulled up a page of search results, and opened several of them in new tabs. When I would request them, sometimes it would request another book, AND the search results reordered themselves while I was looking at them (including when going to the next page of search results, some of the results from the previous page would appear -- begging the question, what items had moved to take their place that I then had missed?). I sincerely hope that this glitch has been addressed, as it was persistent and irritating.

I also am not entirely sure I like having to click to see where the item is located and is available. There's a world of difference between an item not being available because all 10 copies are checked out, and not being available because there are no physical items for that entry in the system. I rather think this should be immediately available -- or at least that's my preference.

It seems that there is now a feature in sorting that distinguishes between newness of the item -- new to AADL vs. just published. Thank you for making that distinction.

Thanks for all your hard work.

As you've hopefully noticed, Checkout history is back with some improvements, and reviews and summaries are back on the results list on the items for which they are available. We're continuing the tune the search engine based on your feedback and our next target is getting volume and episode info back in the title, and restoring some of the extended information from our title records to the full item record pages.

Keith Hood, I'm sure you got my email, but just to respond here, you can now use quotes around your search to get only those hits that match your terms exactly. We've found that many times our patrons searches are being sunk by missing, mistaken, or misspelled words, so making our search more forgiving was a primary design goal. That said, we know that too many hits are coming up and the relevance ranking still has much room for improvement, and we are continuing to work on that. But if you're looking for the exact title "I Want To Live", just put quotes around your search and you'll only get the titles that contain that exact phrase.

Your other concern, Keith, is mostly a result of the missing extra data from our records. We've got it all but the search engine wasn't picking it up. We're changing the configuration and reindexing the collection but it's a slow process. With checkout history and reviews and summaries back in action, this is among our top issues at the moment.

jlmasters, we still have your saved catalog cards and we agree completely that the usability of that feature left much to be desired. Also, we know that it was being used as a wishlist in the absence of a real wishlist feature. Let's just say that the personal card catalog will return soon, complete with your already saved cards, but we hope that people won't need to use it to emulate a wishlist for long. =)

Ed, ypsigleanings.aadl.org should be fixed. One of the changes was moving to a domain model to better support our numerous subsites and redirects from their old URLs. Those should be all cleaned up.

GunnL, we like the serendipity of the old card catalog too, and we've got some ideas about that, but we're working to make the catalog perform optimally in as many situations as possible, and your search is an excellent test case for us, where the author's common name is only somewhat related to his official name in the catalog. We've got some ideas on how best to handle that building on the SEE THIS tradition, and thanks for providing an excellent test case for that.

Willow, we know exactly the problem you're talking about, with inconsistent results and links that go to the wrong title. This was an extremely difficult problem to eliminate in the old system and caused constant frustration for our patrons. We're happy to say that this problem is completely gone and the code responsible is no longer used. This is one of many excellent reasons that sticking with the previous catalog was not an option. With the copies, if there are any available copies, the 'Where to Find It' box says what locations have copies available and what the call numbers are. We'll think about how that functionality can be made clearer; I think our patrons are so used to having to parse the copies table themselves to figure out availability, it's a hard habit to break. So we'll look for a way it can work for everybody.

Thanks again for all your feedback and suggestions. We'll be posting some more changes tomorrow and then we'll make a new post next week to continue the conversation.

Well my history is back! But.........when I ask for book/books it shows only one book checked out in 2007. Yikes!

Sorry, Ruth, how are you asking for books? The search box on the checkout history page searches the titles of the items in your history; I'm afraid there isn't a way to sort your history by material type yet. The one book checked out in1997 shows up because I'm guessing it has book in the title. I was confused for a moment because it seemed to work as you expected on my history, but that's only because almost everything my kids check out has "book" in the title. =)

There is something very wrong when I enter the name Mitchell, Margaret and there are 1707 entries following! I thought this woulld be easy because she wrote so few books (only one, really).This search engine totally mystifies me - why does it show items that have absolutely no relation to the request? Check this one out and see what I mean. This will drive me mad.

Hi, Eli -- Yes, In the New Items lists, (New Fiction, New Non-Fiction), what I was referring to that I hope can be brought back was the Subject Headings that were in the previous New Items lists. Without this, just looking through the titles of new books is not very useful at all for those of us searching for books that interest us. Also, I second what others have said that it is hoped the New Items search can show 100 books per page.

A question: When I look in this new Catalog for a book, and the computer says the library does not have such a book (not surprising, since the couple I looked up are not published yet or just published), there is a Choice called "Save This Search". This feature sounds promising. Could you tell me what it does and how to use it?

Thanks for your help and your efforts to please all of us out here who use the catalog constantly.

Gunnl, that's an excellent example and we're working on a change that should address the too many results problem. In the meantime, you can use quotes around any search to limit your results to that exact phrase, like most other search engines. Thanks very much for your feedback on this.

ruth, we've got subject headings on the list to add to new items searches, and we will indeed offer selectable number of hits per page. If you click save this search, you can save your search to your account for later use. You can view and return to your saved searches under My Library in the *right* column of your myaccount page (we need to put that in a better place). There's an RSS icon there, but the RSS feeds don't yet work. At some point a ways down the road, you'll be able to set your saved searches to run periodically and email you any new results. So there is a lot of promise but it's just sketched-out at this point. However, unlike the previous catalog's almost-hidden save item feature, you can trust this one to save your searches to the right place.

And, you're very welcome, ruth, just doin' my job. =)

This discussion of wish lists has made me realize that, since I didn't like how the personal card catalog worked, I bookmarked several item records (by several I mean a hundred or so) that I want to request one of these days. Some of them I put the title or author in when I made the bookmark, but most, no.

I see now that all these old links such as this one to a book called "In The Bleak Midwinter"


go nowhere.

Any chance of recovering them, or do I start rebuilding my "to check out" list from scratch? Not all of them are intuitive from the html link.

I'm still curious about the decision to search for "any" of the words entered in the search box versus "all" of the words. You said that some people didn't find what they were looking for because they entered in a word wrong or something like that. Did you track searches to get an idea of success rate or is this observation purely anecdotal. I'm wondering of adding more noise (results) will make the success rate decrease. Do you have some sort of logging in place now to compare success rates with the new version to the old one?

When you think of using search engines like google, you don't use it because it returns the most results, you use it because the one you want is usually the first on the list and if what you want isn't there, you change your search term. You want the one that matches best to be first which isn't the case just looking for all words. For example, searching for the Alex Haley book "Roots" by title doesn't list it on the first page. Also searching for "Blink" returns a book about a trauma center first rather than the best seller by Malcom Gladwell. Maybe its just a problem with the "relevance" result sorting.

I would just be interested to see any data (or other research) that shows the new system to be measurably better than the old one.

Eli, I've read all the comments, and I'd like to thank you for all your work in responding to questions. It makes a huge difference to me as a patron to know if an upgrade causes or reveals problems - which, of course, is the very nature of upgrades! - AADL will be there to hear what patrons have to say, explain what's happening, and fix the problems.

I haven't had any search difficulties, but I would like to lobby once more for a simple catalog search box on the front page. I have www.aadl.org set up as my browser's home page, since I like to check the front page blog frequently. I'd like it even better if I could save that click to the catalog page several times a day, especially when I'm doing an uncomplicated search.


What's the difference between the message I saw on my account yesterday for a requested item, "Waiting for your copy," and the message I see today, "In transit" ?

May I recommend to all frequent searchers, such as dfisch, the Firefox search plug-in that was developed (I believe by a patron, not by AADL itself)? I think it's been rendered inoperable at present, but I adore that feature as it eliminates even having to go to the AADL site to summon a catalog search.

Eli, I just browsed through the first three pages of the "New Books" under "New Items". Sorry, but the "reviews and summaries" are not there. I requested several books, but I have no idea if they are what I wanted. You know the perils of judging a book by its cover. 8-)

I miss having the track listings for CD's. Will this feature be coming back? It's hard to make the right selection without it! Thanks

Thanks to all your feedback, we've just rolled out a change that should vastly decrease the number of loose hits you get on your searches. For example, Gunnl, a search for Margaret Mitchell now gets 23 hits instead of 1707. Searches that get no hits on all the search terms will automatically retry on any of the search terms. Thanks for your patience as we got to a point where we had time to do some testing and implement a better solution. So, hopefully those of you who have been stunned by high hit counts will find your results more helpful.

Jenifer, I'm afraid we can't support those old links. We offered a 'permalink' on the hitlist for every item in the old catalog, and if you saved any of those links, those will work. But unfortunately, there's no way to support those old links deep into the catalog, and we're sorry for the hassle.

mflick, thanks for your feedback. Part of the challenges posed by the old system was that it was very difficult to collect solid data about use, so our design goal of a more forgiving search was definitely based upon direct patron feedback, staff experience helping patrons search, and the few logs we were able to see. While the change we've just rolled out should help a great deal, single word titles of a common word are still a challenge as we don't have the whole web of links to rank relevance like google does. But Blink and Roots both occur on the first page, in your example, and we've got some ideas that we may use to address this challenge. We may pursue some quantitative analysis of the catalog at some point, but I'd want more than 4 days of use data before we proceeded with that study. =)

Dfisch, thanks very much for your feedback! We'll keep your suggestion for a front page search box in mind as we continue to improve the catalog, and willow's suggestion to use the firefox plugin, which will be updated once things settle down a bit, is a good one, it's a joy to use if you're a firefox user.

Willow, "Waiting for your copy" was some old language for 'In Transit' that snuck back in during the upgrade, and we changed it back to 'In Transit' last night. They're the same status, just different labels, and most of our patrons are accustomed to the 'In Transit' label. Thanks for asking this excellent question.

David, we had a data problem with the reviews and summaries cache so we had to throw it out and start over. It's reharvesting right now, starting with newest items first, just for you. =) So those items should have reviews and summaries later this evening. Subject headings are coming back to that view as well.

alsgal, CD track listings are absolutely coming back, and better then ever once we get everything working right. For an example, check out Big Dave and the Ultrasonics, our test record for a feature in development: 30-second audio previews of each CD track! This won't ever cover every CD in the collection, but we have a good number of them available once we get this feature a little further down the road.

Thanks again to everyone for your feedback and suggestions. I'll make a new post on monday with updates and a fresh start to the conversation.

I am getting frustrated. Amongst all the other issues, I am having trouble renewing ANY of my items. The items are not on hold and I do not have too much owed in late fees, but the items will not renew.

I have NEVER had trouble with your site until this "upgrade". The site is just too buggy, difficult to navigate, slow, the catalogue barely works, and now I can't renew my items without having to ring the renewals desk?!

Is someone even looking into the renewal problem?


Hi tsarist, sorry you're still having trouble. It appears that there was a problem with your account that I've since resolved. I've also renewed your renewable items and waived your fines. We have a fix in testing right now that significantly improves myaccount page performance, especially for patrons with large numbers of items. This should improve your renewal performace as well. Thanks for letting us know about the problem you were having and don't hesitate to contactus or post in this thread if you run into more trouble.

Had an unexpected thing happen: Starting from the Catalog page, I selected Browse New Books. Then I filtered by series ("For Dummies"), and changed my mind and deleted the filter from the search criteria. And then all I could look at were catalogs. I tested this a bit, and it doesn't seem to matter which filter I add -- once I remove it the search box says "You searched for catalog"

Wow, that's a good one! Thanks logista, we'll figure out what's going on with that.

The reviews and summaries are back on the search results page! Though not on the individual item page. (Just a quibble). Thanks, Eli!

I can't resist mentioning that it's midday Saturday and you're still working. A normal person would have taken the weekend off. Lucky for us you're not normal. Are you working on the Traverwood floors, too? 8-)

I'm happy to say that the site works without a glitch so far on my blackberry, which means I can now reserve or renew books whereever I am. Thanks for that! Ed.

You're welcome, David; we do plan to add the reviews and summaries back onto the item page as well; we working on a bunch of additional information for that page and we have some formatting issues to work out. But they will be back! I'm running a tournament at the Downtown library today, and all our pools are currently seated, so I had a few minutes. =) Also, logista, the canceling of a facet should work properly now. Thanks very much for bringing that one to our attention. Ed, we're glad the site works well on the blackberry browser. We do plan a mobile app / skin but that is a ways down the line.

I came to look for an event (the time for today's Smash Kart tournament) but the home page says "Today's Events at the Ann Arbor District Library
No futher events scheduled for today. Please browse upcoming events in our events listings"

[aside: "further" is misspelled as "futher" in that notice]

When I went to "events listing" I found the item and saw that it started just under 2 hours ago. Perhaps that's why it's not listed as current, but then why is it upcoming? For what it's worth, I also looked for this under the main "Events" menu/tab, and then in "Contests" and didn't see it either place. I just now saw that it is under "Browse Events". But it was entirely too hard to find this.

For what it's worth, I remember having a similar problem in the past month or so but can't remember details. (Maybe trying to find details on the Lego contest? I was thinking it should be in Events but it was only listed in contests - or something like that.)

I do not like the new look, at all, for the website. It is ugly and diffficult to use. Also where are the story descriptions that were given in the DVD listings. Now there is nothing.

I'm so sorry you made the upgrade. I do not like it at all.

Good luck with your rollout!!! change is tough on everyone.

A couple of glitches
- I picked up on paradise drive, brooks on Thursday but it looks like it is still ready to pickup and I have 0 items checked out
- I just put a book on hold, The Sparrow; it doesn't show on my account but I can't put a hold on it a second time (assuming user error on the hold) and it says it is already on hold by me. so... good errorchecking but bad display

using Firefox 3.0 on win xp.

I think I'll grow to love the new interface; I already appreciate the responsiveness


I was *very* happy to see that now, on the self-check out machines, MEL loans that are ready are included in the number listed as requested items that are ready to pick up -- that is so helpful. Thank you!

Thank you for trying to fix my problem. I appreciate your hard work and attention. However, I'm still having problems.

1). I appreciate you renewing my items, but unfortunately you renewed my MeL loans too, and I can only renew them ONCE. I may have a lot of items out, but I really do actually use each item (even if I'm very slow doing it). I renew MeLs at the last minute so I can get through them all. Could you go through an UNrenew the MeL loans that have 1 renewal (the ones that say they have 2 renewals have already been renewed).

2). I STILL cannot renew my own items. Without renewing all my items, can you fix it so I can pick and choose what I want to renew? I have MeL's I want to wait to renew.

The old system gave me control over my account. I have almost no control over my account anymore.

By the way, I really like how the "my account" display flags upcoming due dates.

Now about an error: I went to look up a picture book called The Inch Boy (ISBN 0140506772), and the associated photo is Guitar Chord Songbook - The Beach Boys. Bizarre.

I'll work on it, but so far the new catalog has been disappointing, largely because much detail seems to be missing. For example, I've searched for several CD's (always a difficult expeidition) that appear only with cover titles, but no hint of content. When classical music is so often scattered through collections of piano or quartet performances, it's not very practical to drive to the library to check the package insert, instead of pulling it up on the catalog. The old catalog shared a common problem -we really need a set of cataloging rules, to discern the logic of the search. A very simple example: now, CDs and sheet music appear collectively as "music" in the search box. That's a nuisance.

What happened to the reviews and summaries? Are they not up yet?

Another change in the "My Account" display is that the item type has disappeared from the "requested items" section. The items that are out still show sound recording, video recording, etc. but the requested items no longer do. It's handy to have to confirm that I've requested an item in the format I meant to - audiobook vs. print book, for example.

Camelsamba, thanks for your feedback. We're looking at tweaking the event display so that in-progress events will show up. We'll fix the typo too. We're glad you like the approach to the due date display, that's been a hit all around. The Inch Boy cover has already been fixed, thanks for bringing that to our attention!

Solantra, I'm sorry you don't like the new look of the catalog search and results. The DVD descriptions are coming back, they weren't supposed to disappear. They were indexed over the weekend and we're working on the display this week.

drewburton, thanks for the good wishes, and we're glad you appreciate the responsiveness! As for your missing checkout, it's most likely that's our error as it does indeed appear to not be on your record. Your request did go through, however, did it show up on your request list? Let us know if this is still causing trouble.

Willow, we're happy that MeL holds show up on the selfchecks too, although we've also discovered a new bug in the selfcheck software that sometimes tells people they have holds waiting when they don't. What fun, huh? That's described by the vendor as a 'known issue' that will be fixed in the next upgrade. Oh well.

Tsarist, I'm sorry you're still having trouble. Nothing's changed in the amount of control you have over your account, and I'm sorry I accidentally renewed your MeL items. I'll contact you via email and we can figure out what's going on.

allanstillwagon, thanks very much for your willingness to work with the new catalog. The missing information you mention is still in the database and will be returned to the item pages and indexes as soon as possible, hopefully later this week. Music allows you to search our music-related items; you can refine your search results by media on the right edge of the screen to see only CDs or other formats, or you can click advanced search and choose only the format you're looking for. We are actively looking at these options for refinement and your feedback is very helpful.

mbuhalis, reviews and summaries show up in the hitlist for the items that have them. We'll be adding them back onto the item page shortly. Thanks for your feedback and your patience!

jenifer, that's an excellent suggestion and it's already done.

Thanks again to everyone for your feedback and patience. Can you believe it's only been 6 days?

Thanks for your kind reply and your effort. Could you please contact me by e-mail. I really have almost no control over my account. I hate to be a bother, but this new "upgrade" is really beating me up. Thank you very much.

First - thanks for hanging in with all these questions! It's been almost a week - and most of my would-be questions have been answered.

However, I'd like to put in a plug for "check-out history". Hoping the feature that allows one to limit material to books, DVD's, etc., will reappear. As a frequent library user, I often use this feature when I've forgotten the name of something I want to recommend. Limiting the items to the specific material I'm looking for is quite helpful. Thanks again!

The Cancel Selected Holds option doesn't seem to work for Melcat items. Aside from that, though, I haven't been having any trouble with the new aadl.org.