Students searching for sources on the library's home page can now see the holdings of Colby, Bates and Bowdoin at first glance. The default search catalog was recently changed to the Colby-Bates-Bowdoin catalog (CBBcat) instead of the Bowdoin Catalog.
"We hope it will be an improvement to students in many ways," said Associate Librarian for Public Services Judith Montgomery.
While CBBcat has been a search option for years, the idea to make it the default search catalog was born in the fall semester and was implemented on March 2.
The Colby, Bates and Bowdoin libraries collectively received a $280,000 grant from the Mellon Foundation in 2006.
"Part of our Mellon grant project was to merge all three plans into one plan so that we covered the profiles of all three of us and even expanded it to include new areas of the curriculum," said Montgomery.
"[CBBcat] is a way for us to duplicate materials less so we can have more funds in order to increase breadth of our information," Montgomery said.
The goal of the merged catalog is to increase access to books, according to Montgomery.
"CBBcat allows students to immediately see the holdings in all three of the libraries," she said. "Everyone has an equal chance to every book."
"I think it's more convenient to look at other databases," said Emma Ullvin '12. "The service and the change are encouraging us to use other libraries and resources."
According to Montgomery, CBBcat is considered a Next Generation catalog (NextGen) because it uses Web 2.0 technology to "improve search and to integrate other newer functionality such as a Google-like single search box, improved pre- and post-search limiting of results, and integrated search of tables of contents."
CBBcat features allow users to "find materials with a lot more limiters and filters to narrow" searches, said Montgomery. "It allows you to search for info in a more detailed manner."
Using these facets, students can limit their search to narrow the holdings of Colby, Bates, Bowdoin, topic, author, new materials, publishing date, geographic location, language, and time period.
Another advantage of CBBcat is that it has one search box, "so students can pop in one term and see what comes up," said Montgomery. "These days people are more interested in one search box, like Google," said Montgomery.
Advanced searches can also be conducted with various scopes, including books, journals, scores, music, video, audio books, government documents, as well as manuscripts and archives.
According to Montgomery, every year the library purchases 40 percent of all new books through an approval plan from Yankee Book Peddler (YBP), while the other 60 percent of the books are ordered based on librarian or faculty requests.
In the past, each college library had its own approval plans, and often acquired the same books. Now, because Bowdoin has merged its approval plan with that of Colby and Bates, it shares one-third of the entire collection.
"Approval plans allow the libraries to purchase a core collection of books without ordering each title individually," said Montgomery. "We have been able to save a numerous amount of money [by merging]."
"We have not finished implementation," Montgomery continued. There are many features, such as text messaging and Cast-A-Net, yet to be incorporated in the CBBcat search catalog.
So far, the new default search seems to have increased the amount of book borrowing.
"Loaning has increased," said Montgomery. "We hope that's an indication that CBBcat is working."
"We're very glad to help anyone learn the software," said Montgomery. "We offered classes, but since there were no takers, we're hoping it's because people are finding it easy to use."
Montgomery said that the she would appreciate any feedback from students regarding the CBBcat search.
Students can leave a comment directly on the CBBcat Web site or e-mail Montgomery at firstname.lastname@example.org.