Library launches search engine amidst delay

Photo by Angela Kelling

On Feb. 1, Tech announced their switch to PRIMO for its search and catalog system. 

This system replaces the former Voyager system and will eventually replace all of the library search systems within the University System of Georgia (USG), with Georgia Southern University and the University of Georgia scheduled to adopt the system next.

The new system includes many features that were present with the Voyager system, but were third-party tools running alongside the system under Voyager.

These features included the “Find @ GT” function that allowed members of Tech to quickly access scholarly content provided to them due to their association with the Institute.

The library has also installed a custom user interface for PRIMO to make it accessible to users familiar with the Voyager interface.

PRIMO was selected in part due to the upcoming movement of library materials to a joint storage facility with Emory University.

Emory’s library uses PRIMO as its catalog tool and will be storing materials alongside Tech.

Some of these materials will be available to members of both institutions. PRIMO additionally features a built-in request system that will be used to facilitate the rapid request and transport of materials to both Emory and Tech.

PRIMO is a slightly more expensive tool than Voyager in terms of the year-to-year maintenance costs.

The USG has an agreement with the product’s vendor, ExLibris, to supply it at a discounted rate. Tech volunteered to internally cover the costs of initial setup and migration for their system in order to act as a pilot for PRIMO and to accommodate its upcoming partnership with the Emory library.

The switch to PRIMO comes alongside the physical rebuilding of both Crosland Tower and the Price Gilbert Library.

Tech recently deferred its request for funding supporting these remodeling efforts, with the expectation to reapply within the next 6–12 months.

According to a letter from President G.P. “Bud” Peterson to USG Chancellor Henry Huckaby, the delay was in part due to concerns about the amount of asbestos still present in the building.

According to Lori Critz, director of Collections Strategy, and Dean Catherine Murray-Rust, the delay gives the library more time to take into consideration a number of concerns, many of which have been discussed since the initial stages of planning.

These concerns included the amount of asbestos in Crosland as well as a number of concerns about seating space and library services that will be reduced during the reconstruction.

The library project personnel also have concerns about the logistics of the construction. The physical location of the building is right in the heart of campus. Furthermore, its proximity to Freshman Hill and Skiles Walkway, major pedestrian areas on campus, means that this area will be congested while construction takes place.

It is not yet known how long it will take for Tech to reapply for funds, but Critz and Murray-Rust indicated that there are a number of logistical issues concerning the physical structure of the building, as it is a high-rise according to Georgia fire code. It is also unknown if this will have significant impact on the current timetable of renovations for the library.