New library catalog and discovery system to debut this summer

There are many changes in store for RLB Library in 2024. You may be aware of the University of Baltimore’s plan to implement Workday for many of its business functions and redesign its website. But did you know that before any of that happens, RLB Library will be deploying a new library catalog and discovery service? Starting with the Summer 2024 semester, when you do a search for books or articles on the RLB home page the result screen will look different.

The new library system is part of a collaboration that includes every library in the University System of Maryland. Even though the system will be shared, each library will have its own instance of the catalog and discovery service customized to meet the needs of its university community. We are excited that our version of this new service, which we are planning to brand as RoLoBo Search, is designed to support serendipitous discovery. As searching has become an almost exclusively online endeavor, many librarians and faculty have lamented the loss of the joy that comes from stumbling across a book in the stacks that you didn’t even know existed. Getting information that you might never have found adds a sense of adventure to the research process. In order to facilitate a similar experience online, RoLoBo Search’s enhanced search engine will provide multiple avenues for students, faculty, and staff to experience the joy of serendipitous discovery.

Instead of being able to enter multiple search terms to pinpoint resources relevant to your topic, RoLoBo Search will only allow you to enter in a few keywords and then select the type of results to see. For example, if you are looking for a feel-good article, you would select “vibe”. Other options include “fire”, “flex” or “shook” for when you want to be excited, impressed or have your mind blown. Once you get a list of results, you will be able to refine your search based on the physical characteristics of the print version. For example, you can limit your search to books and journals with blue covers (by using the color limiter) that use Helvetica (using the font limiter).

If you are still struggling with finding materials, RoLoBo search will offer a “what should I read next” quiz where you can answer some questions about your favorite food, place to hang out, 18th century philosopher, etc. After analyzing your responses, RoLoBo search will give you a personalized list of the next 5 books and articles you should read. This search functionality will bring the type of serendipity researchers used to experience to our online search environment.

A mockup of a RoLoBo search results screen for a search of April Fool's Day
This screenshot shows a “vibe” search in RoLoBo. Options to limit by the color of a book cover and the font are on the left. Who knew comic sans was so popular?

Do any of these features sound interesting? Maybe someone will implement them in the future. In reality, our new search service, which will definitely NOT be called RoLoBo Search, will continue to offer the same search functionality we have now, but in a different package. We will be sharing guides to the changes as the go-live date gets closer. Be sure to go to the RLB Home page at the end of May to check out the new search and let us know what you think!

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