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.