Oct. 6 , 2006

McMaster becomes first Canadian library to secure "radical" online catalogue

Hamilton, ON - McMaster University will radically transform its online library catalogue becoming the first Canadian library to use a vibrant, revolutionary software; the same interface used by such retailers as Home Depot and Chapters/Indigo.


“In library circles we referred to previous updates to online catalogues as akin to putting lipstick on a pig,” said Jeffrey Trzeciak, chief librarian at McMaster University. “This is a radical change. As we say in the library world, ‘We’ve gone from swine to divine’: You’ll find a far more lively and vibrant website than traditional library catalogues, and it’s much easier for students to navigate.”


The changes, based on the Endeca Information Access Platform (IAP), eclipses earlier approaches to online catalogues by adding capabilities students expect from web browsing. They can now search results ranked by relevance, and refine navigation by topic, author, genre, language, material type, format, and availability.


Endeca, a private company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, mainly sells its software to retailers, but Trzeciak worked directly with the company to secure the rights for McMaster University. In doing so, the Unviersity becomes the first Canadian research library to use the software, and the second in North America (after North Carolina State University.) Other Endeca clients include Bank of America, Boeing, Cox Newspapers, The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, Hyatt, IBM, John Deere, The Library of Congress, and Nike.


With a long-standing reputation as Canada's "most innovative" university, McMaster has pioneered a number of programs that have changed how professors teach and students learn. Students and other patrons will be able to interchangeably search and browse the University’s vast collection of materials and information in unprecedented ways. The project, which is slated to start this month will be the first of its kind in Canada. 


 “As students turn increasingly to the internet to find information, this easy-to-use approach reinvigorates interest in library collections,” says Trzeciak. “Endeca’s IAP transforms our virtual environment into a space where students can inquire, discover and learn. It also shows McMaster’s commitment to being a leader in the Library community as well as in higher education.”


McMaster University, a world-renowned, research-intensive university, fosters a culture of innovation, and a commitment to discovery and learning in teaching, research and scholarship. Based in Hamilton, the University, one of only four Canadian universities to be listed on the Top 100 universities in the world, has a student population of more than 23,000, and an alumni population of more than 120,000 in 128 countries.