After two years of study and implementation, the Kansas City Public Library’s new on-line catalog – known as Enterprise – hits the Internet this month.
Digital Branch manager David LaCrone, the man in charge of implementing the new system, says that while patrons will notice some new bells and whistles, most of the changes aren’t obvious – except that they make searches of the catalog more accessible and easier.
Q. Lots of us users feel that the current online catalog works fine. Why change it?
LaCrone: “From a purely technical standpoint, our current catalog has been so heavily customized over the years that we just could no longer update it effectively.
“It also bears noting that our current software isn‘t compatible with newer Internet Explorer browsers. If you are using Windows 7 or 8, major portions of our catalog are ‘broken.’ You can’t use them properly. That certainly doesn’t make us look very good. We needed to go to a next-generation platform that would serve the future, not just the present.”
Q. What about new bells and whistles?
LaCrone: “One of the things the current catalog doesn’t offer – something that people have been asking for – is the ability to create wish lists. Now you’ll be able to keep track of titles that interest you, even if you’re not ready to put a hold on them right now.
“This is a really practical feature. I’ve worked at a library desk and you are always getting people coming in who say they want to find a book they saw reviewed, but cannot remember the title or the author. Now as soon as you read about a book or CD or movie you think you’ll like, you can add it to your wish list. It will be there when you’re ready to order it.”
Q. Will the new catalog look or behave differently from the one we’re accustomed to?
LaCrone: “Visually, it will be less crowded. We’re getting rid of the word cloud feature that ate up a big part of the screen. It’s a much cleaner look.
“And we think the new search function is a piece of cake. There are dropdown functions that allow you to search in a particular branch, by subject, author, title…that allow you to limit the search to books, movies, music., e-books, young readers…
“Really, if you can use our current catalog, this shouldn’t pose many problems. There will be a bit of a learning curve, but people will find that navigating their accounts is now much more intuitive.”
Q. When can we take the new catalog out for a test drive?
LaCrone: “Very shortly we’ll have it up on the site, alongside the current web catalog. For a while you’ll be able to use both the old and new catalogs. There will be a link to a survey where patrons can provide feedback. We’re happy to do some tinkering to make it even better.”
June 21, 2013 – Editor's Note: Our new catalog is available  to try out and provide feedback. Let us know what you think!
About the Author
Robert W. Butler  is a lifelong Kansas City area resident, a graduate of Shawnee Mission East High School and the William Allen White School of Journalism at the University of Kansas. For several decades he was the movie editor of the Kansas City Star; he now writes a movie-themed blog at butlerscinemascene.com . He joined the Library's Public Affairs team in 2012.