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Waidner-Spahr Library

Waidner Spahr News and Events: New JumpStart & Catalog Coming Summer 2019!

How you can help

PLEASE RETURN YOUR LIBRARY MATERIALS as soon as they are no longer needed.  As part of this project, we need to conduct a thorough inventory of library collections.  Forgotten what you checked out?  Click on “My library account” from the library homepage. Thank you in advance for your assistance!  

Efficiency, Economy, and Improved Discovery: The Library Migrates to a New Library Management System

A modern library requires a great deal of behind-the-scenes technology to provide information and services, including an online catalog, ability to cross-search multiple databases, links to online full-text articles, and more. The Waidner-Spahr Library’s current catalog system, Sirsi, has been in place for over 20 years, and staff have had to add on separate systems to provide modern features, such as full-text linking and the JumpStart “discovery” search.

We began work on the year-long project of migrating to a new library management system in Summer 2018, although the changes will be largely invisible to library users until the new system goes “live” in June 2019. The new system will provide an integrated back-end for increased staff efficiency, as well as an improved JumpStart search interface for library users. As a single, integrated system, it will also save money compared to the multiple systems used now. More information will be shared with the Dickinson community as the work proceeds.

Please contact your liaison librarian or Theresa Arndt ( if you have any questions or concerns. 


Frequently Asked Questions

What is an Integrated Library System (ILS)?  An ILS provides the necessary infrastructure for library users to find books, films, journal articles and other materials available through the library; to link to full-text; and to place interlibrary loan requests.  The library’s staff use the ILS to manage materials ordering and payments; cataloging; inventory; electronic resources management; journals management; full-text linking; circulation of materials; library user records; and course reserves. The ILS connects with external systems (e.g., Interlibrary Loan, Finance/Banner) to improve efficiency and provides analytics for library administration and assessment.

Why is the Library changing systems now?   The library has pieced together 4 different systems to provide adequate research and management functions. This approach limits efficiency and results in redundant effort and increased costs.  We started researching alternatives several years ago, and in FY18 decided to move to the Alma-Primo system.

What are some of the advantages of the new system?   The new system is truly integrated, with a more modern discovery interface. It was designed to manage and display records for materials in all formats, both print and electronic. Newly cataloged materials will be findable immediately. It will make streamlined processes with external vendors and related systems (e.g., Banner) possible.  More than half of the Pennsylvania Academic Library Consortium members use the Alma-Primo system or are moving to it this year, providing potential for future collaboration.

What is the time table for this decision & project?   A contract was signed in March 2018 following a year-long review process, including input from the APSC Subcommittee on the Library.  Intensive preparations now underway began May 2018.  Active migration will start in January, with the new system going live on June 18, 2019.

Will the new system save money?    Although the main goal is to provide a more efficient system with an improved research experience, long-term cost-savings will also be achieved because the library will be moving from 4 separate systems to one system. 

Changes that may affect you: Summer service suspensions

Some Library Services Suspended
During System Migration May 22 – June 24


The library system migration is a major undertaking to replace and combine several current systems and create a merged JumpStart/catalog search interface.  To ensure the smooth migration of records, and to free staff to focus on the project, the following services will be suspended from May 22 to June 24:


New book and film purchase requests suspended

Please send order requests for books (both print and e-books) and films needed for summer use as far in advance as possible! Any book and film requests submitted during the suspension will be held and ordered after June 24.


EZ-Borrow (interlibrary loan for books) suspended, use ILLIAD instead

During the suspension, please submit all interlibrary loan requests through ILLIAD, which will continue uninterrupted.  (Please note that ILLIAD book requests may take longer to arrive.)

Record updates in JumpStart/catalog and journals list delayed 

Hundreds of thousands of records for library materials must be transferred to the new system and verified.  Therefore, the JumpStart/catalog and journals list may not accurately reflect recently acquired materials.  Please ask library staff for assistance if you are having difficulty locating what you need.

The following services will continue uninterrupted:

  • Borrowing library materials from the circulation desk 
  • online access to e-books, databases and e-journals
  • ILLIAD interlibrary loan service


Changes that may affect you: Separate "library catalog" interface going away

The separate "library catalog" interface (pictured below) will be gone once the library completes migration to our new system (June 2019).  Instead, a new JumpStart interface will serve as our exclusive interface for searching both the library catalog and for cross-searching many (though not all) of our databases. 

Old library catalog interface going away in June 2019

The current "library catalog" was designed when libraries consisted mostly of print books.  It does not effectively allow us to manage and deliver the array of formats expected today (e-books, streamed films, digital primary resources, etc.).   It is already possible to search the library "catalog" in JumpStart by going to "Advanced JumpStart" and checking the "Dickinson Library Catalog" box.  But many researchers will not want to limit their search to items only available in the "catalog" even if only looking for books.  JumpStart provides access to many contemporary full-text e-books not found in the "catalog", as well as records for all print books in the library collection.  

Changes That May Affect You: Finding digitized historical sources and streaming films

Finding digitized historical sources and streaming films as we transition from “catalog” to “discovery”

The 22 year old library catalog system is no longer the best way to deliver the library’s increasing volume of electronic materials alongside our print collection. As part of a year-long project to move to a more modern library management system, we have moved several online historical source sets and streaming film collections out of the older system.  Specific resources affected are listed here.

Use JumpStart to find:

  • Contemporary e-books (as well as all print books)

Go directly to the specific database to use these historical materials:

  • Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO)
  • Early English Books Online (EEBO)
  • Making of the Modern World
  • Nineteenth Century Collections Online (NCCO)

Use these individual film databases to access streaming films:

  • Academic Video Online: Premium (AVON)
  • Films on Demand
  • Kanopy (login required on or off campus; library pays based on amount of use, please check Films on Demand and AVON first for a film)

Use the Library Catalog or JumpStart to find:

  • Over 8,000 DVDs of documentaries and feature films

We appreciate your patience as we transition to a new library system going live in summer 2019. Information about the project will be updated here throughout the year.

Please contact your liaison librarian or Theresa Arndt ( if you have any questions or concerns.