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A student waves her student iden­ti­fi­cation card.
Sean Callaghan | Collegian

Mossey Library has added a new card-acti­vated feature to its printers and it hopes to restore the con­nection to MelCat, the Michigan eLi­brary Catalog and Resource Sharing System, by mid-semester. 

MelCat is a statewide inter­li­brary catalog and resource sharing service created to share mate­rials among all types of libraries in Michigan, according to its website.

“We are looking at the pos­si­bility of being back on MelCat early in the semester,” Public Ser­vices Librarian Brenna Wade said. “It should be running by at least midterms, but maybe as soon as the end of January.”

In the meantime, stu­dents can still request books through the Inter­li­brary Loan, which stu­dents can access through a form on the library’s website, Wade said.

“MelCat is only a sup­plement, and will con­tinue to be used as such,” Library Director Maurine McCourry said.

“We can still get whatever anyone needs. It is just going through a dif­ferent process,” she said.

McCourry said the library had to stop using the MelCat con­nection last year when it upgraded its catalog to a new system. It ini­tially hoped to return the con­nection last October but has expe­ri­enced delays in receiving the new software — an appli­cation pro­gramming interface or API that allows the library and MelCat to interact with each other.

“We have been waiting on a software com­ponent that has still been in devel­opment. We have only been able to move as fast as that,” Wade said. “We are only the ones using it, not the ones imple­menting it. We don’t know exactly how long it is going to take.”

Once it is back and running, MelCat will ini­tially use a beta version of the software, which cur­rently runs on one other similar-sized college in Michigan, McCourry said. The beta should allow stu­dents to interact with MelCat like they used to.

Wade said the library chose to implement the card-acti­vated feature on the printers in order to cut down on paper waste, where someone might acci­den­tally send more than one copy to the printer by accident.

“You now have to release the print job, she said. “They were auto­mat­i­cally released before.”

Wade also noted it allows more security with con­fi­dential doc­u­ments since the new system elim­i­nates the mixing and scram­bling of jobs.

To print, stu­dents can hover their card over the printer’s reader before choosing a print job. If stu­dents forget their Hillsdale iden­ti­fi­cation cards, they can use a touch­screen keypad to enter their Hillsdale user­names and pass­words by tapping a key­board icon. Non-student library patrons from the sur­rounding com­munity can also access the printer through a username and password given by the library, McCourry said.

“Everyone will still be able to print even without an I.D. card,” she said.

While Wade said the new printing system will be a big change at first, it has been working out well so far.

“There will always be a few wrinkles, but things have been going smoothly so far,” she said.