Stack Locator: A New Tool to Discover Library Materials

Students, faculty, and staff now have a new tool to help find materials in the University Libraries collections. Stack Locator, developed by Victor B. Replogle and James W. Hammons, staff in University Libraries’ Library Information Technology Services (LITS), applies information from CardCat to locate items on maps of the stacks or shelves, and in the case of closed-stack items like videos and CDs, the service counter where the item can be requested.

Stack Locator uses the call number and other information about an item in CardCat to build a link under the Location field on the item details pages. The link text describes the item location and opens a new browser window or tab with a floor map highlighting the item’s location. If Stack Locator cannot determine the location – typically because the item is in circulation or otherwise unavailable – there will not be a link. Even so, users may still be able to request a hold or place a recall for the item.

Stack Locator contains the necessary information to find General Collection books and items in the Architecture Library and Science-Health Science Library. Maps and collection data are being assembled to support all of the physical collections. Links will begin to appear in CardCat for these materials as the data becomes available.

In addition to CardCat links, a Stack Locator search form will be published on the University Libraries’ Web site soon. Users with lists of CardCat records can enter call number and material/item type information for Stack Locator to find.

James W. Hammons and Victor B. Replogle began planning the Stack Locator project in Summer 2011. Victor began software development work shortly thereafter. Victor enlisted Jeff R. Koenker, Bookstacks Supervisor, to help develop the proof of concept. Jeff collected data for call numbers and item types on each range in the Bracken Library General Collections, and adapted his range maps for use in Stack Locator. The backbone of Stack Locator is an administrative data entry interface, which Jeff and the other collection managers will use to input and update the data so the results users see are up-to-date. Collection managers could also use this as a tool to help keep the stacks in order.

Stack Locator launched in early November. Within the first few days, it became popular. One user commented via the feedback form, “I have a lot of trouble knowing where to find things when CardCat lists them, and this has definitely helped. I now know exactly where I need to go instead of wandering around until I find it.” Another user told us, “This makes life so much easier! Thank you!”

You’re welcome! Simplifying access to the vast print collection in the University Libraries is exactly why Stack Locator was created.

For more information, contact Victor B. Replogle, Library Information Technology Services. ◙

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