ucbooks march newsletter


News brief - March 2019

The site now has an all new design!

  1. The Vrije Universiteit's catalogue has been intergrated into the system. Unlike the UvA and the HvA which use ALMA, the VU is OCLC based.
  2. When a book is searched, the library catalogues of the HvA, UvA and the VU are simultaneously searched along with second hand books being sold, lent, or searched for by students.
On clicking an institution icon, a student would arrive at the full list of locations along with their availability status.
The App

The last update was on March 31st.

This month saw 6 updates in total. Along with other performance improvements, the major changes include:
  1. Logged out search was enabled. Students can now search the database and library catalogues without the need to sign in to the app. Only if they find what they are searching for would they be prompted to log in. (Illustration below)
  2. VU's OCLC based cataloguing system has fully been integrated into the app and website. UvA students have already clicked on VU links quite a few times already to view and borrow VU library books. With time, hopefully the same would happen at the VU. Please visit your librarian portal for the exact details.
  3. The HvA and the UvA library locations now appear separately in library search results.
  4. Institutional context search has been enabled; Now, just like on the website, in the app, book posts from a student's institution appear before any other. (Illustration below)
  5. Performance improvements to the iPad version were made.
ucbooks was 173rd in the app store yesterday. Earlier this month, it peaked at 60th position. App rankings are calculated based on user engagement duration, frequency of opening an app and of course, the frequency of downloads.

Below are illustrations of the app ranking and the context search:

Tentative goals in the upcoming month:

  1. Translating the updated site into Dutch.
  2. Designing the email templates. Right now, they are just in plain text, this month, I'll make them look like this newsletter.
  3. Writing a program to obtain a subset of books that students request and sell, but that aren't available in the library. Hopefully this could help with future library acquisitions.
  4. Migrating to a more scalable database system.
  5. The communication for the VU will commence.
Please don't hesitate to reach out if you have suggestions, feature requests, or feedback for improvement!
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