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A student explores Seymour Library's resources and services, including Knox Primo.

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New Knox Primo Catalog Transforms Library Research Opportunities

A student explores Seymour Library's resources and services, including Knox Primo.

With the importance of remote teaching and learning this fall, Knox’s new library catalog, Knox Primo, could not have come at a better time. 

Knox Primo is a single site that enables people to search for books, journal articles, or other content. Finding the perfect source is clear and easy because Knox Primo can search the library database, I-Share catalog, and digital materials all at once. The search refinement capabilities allow users to find sources in a particular language, medium, timeframe, location, and more. Seymour Library announced the debut of Knox Primo to the Knox community during the summer. 

Director of the Library Jeff Douglas said that “Knox Primo is a big step away from thinking about institutional ‘library collections’ and toward thinking instead about a more complex and comprehensive universe of content or resources supporting research and study at Knox.”

“I hope that it makes all of our digital collections much more visible to everyone—students, faculty, everybody,” Douglas said. “There are all kinds of ways to manipulate and refine the items that you retrieve by doing a search. And that’s always been true with our databases, but I think this makes it more visible.”

Isaac Hughes ‘21 has been using Knox Primo during fall term to complete daily class assignments and longer-range research projects. 

“The nice thing about it is now it’s all on one platform. There are a lot of services Knox offers, and this is more streamlined,” Hughes said. “It’s easy to use, and that’s helpful.”

Knox professors who used Knox Primo for summer research and class preparation also provided positive reviews of the new resource. Echoing what Hughes said, Professor of Modern Languages (Spanish) Robin Ragan noted that Knox Primo “is much faster and streamlined.” This enables her to use her time more efficiently.

The previous catalog system at Seymour Library, known as Voyager, was as comprehensive as Knox Primo, but it was designed in a way that often required users to check multiple search platforms to find the best sources.

“So much of what I need is in a foreign language or harder to get to, and I needed to order a lot of Interlibrary Loan and I-Share. These two systems were in separate spheres that didn't really communicate with each other before,” said Ragan. “Now, there is one spot to go to check for everything. That's my favorite part.”

Professor of Modern Languages (Spanish) Antonio Prado used Knox Primo to find journal articles as part of his summer research related to the Spanish Civil War and Francoist dictatorship. “I have found almost everything I was looking for, and instantly. This is wonderful because this means there is no delay in my work when I need a specific source to continue. And less interruption means I can continue focusing with less distractions,” he said. “In the previous system, I also found most of what I was looking for, but only after I used multiple routes and it was more time-consuming.” 

Douglas said one of his favorite aspects of Knox Primo is “the virtual browse feature” that shows users what other books are on the shelf along with the book they’re seeking. “Instead of going into the stacks to browse around, you can do that online, and just go from one book to the next and open up the descriptions of those books instead of going down the shelves.”

Because of the pandemic, Seymour Library has made adjustments to safeguard everyone's health. For example, the library is encouraging everyone to request books for pickup through Knox Primo, and half of the building’s seating has been removed to ensure physical distancing. Anyone who needs research and reference services may continue to get help from librarians either in the library or through the library’s chat service.

Photo at top of the page: Priyanka Gurung '21 explores the library's resources and services, including Knox Primo.

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Printed on Monday, November 30, 2020