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Using Discover

A guide that highlights features and functions in Discover as the Five Colleges move to the new FOLIO library platform and reitre the current library catalog (Aleph)

Context

FOLIO (The Future Of Libraries Is Open) is a collaboration of libraries, developers and vendors building an open source library services platform that supports traditional resource management functionality while also opening the door for innovation in an increasingly digital world. In July 2022, the Five Colleges Consortium will move backend operations from the current Five Colleges library system (Aleph) to FOLIO. We will also retire the separate Five Colleges Libraries Catalog search interface and consolidate the discovery and access of library materials in Discover. As of July 2022, users will need to use Discover rather than the old catalog when searching for library items.

This change will benefit library users in several ways:

  • The policies of the Five Colleges Libraries will be closely aligned and less restrictive (e.g., longer loan periods, reduced fines and fees).
  • We will continue using a reliable interface known as Discover; we've been using Discover since 2012.
  • Discover includes records from not just the Five Colleges Libraries Catalog, but also from most of our subject-specific databases.
  • Discover will include user empowerment tools (making requests, renewing items, etc.). When you request an item, you'll be able to see where you are in the queue, something you cannot do in the catalog (Aleph).

Rationale

The Five Colleges Libraries Council decided to move from our existing library system to a new system for the following reasons:

  • Existing library systems (like Aleph) are based on a decades-old, pre-digital model meant for physical items under a single metadata standard. As noted in a 2015 Five College study, "Our current ILS [integrated library system] and all its attendant and supporting systems are fundamentally ill-equipped for the digitally-oriented and hyper-networked modern library and library user."
  • The market for library systems is consolidating with fewer vendors, and it remains proprietary.
  • Aleph is aging and is no longer the focus of its vendor (Ex Libris).
  • We need a system that is flexible, extensible (easily modified by changing or adding features), and highly interoperable. 
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