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CWRU library catalog redesign to debut July 27

The Case Western Reserve University libraries’ public catalog will debut a new look on Monday, July 27, coinciding with Kelvin Smith Library’s reopening to the university community. Library staff worked with a team of developers from University Technology ([U]Tech) to update the catalog with a cleaner, more modern look and feel that maintains all its existing functionality while adding several new features and improving its accessibility. 

The first major difference users will notice is the more user-friendly basic search on the catalog landing page. The basic search page offers more indexes to choose from in a drop-down menu alongside a Google-style search box. Another new feature of the redesigned catalog is a Google Books preview. This feature is seamlessly integrated with Google Books to determine if a title is available online in their library. If an electronic version is available, it then displays in the preview pane beneath the catalog record.

Special Collections will debut Aeon, a new streamlined method for requesting rare books and manuscript materials from the collections directly from the catalog in late August.

The [U]Tech developers, led by Thomas Seeber and Marie Vibbert, greatly improved the catalog’s accessibility to ensure that it is usable by everyone. Some of the accessibility standards implemented include:

  • Removing all icons with text as images and replacing them with scalable text;
  • Changing the use of header tags to the current standard practice of stepping down within content;
  • Adding defined structure zones (header, menu, search, footer) so a screen-reading program can present items in a logical way to the listener;
  • Increasing contrast between text and backgrounds so viewers with impairment have an easier time reading without a screen reader; and
  • Adding labels and descriptions to elements for a screen reader to convey what they are to the listener.

These improvements to the library catalog’s accessibility standards align with CWRU libraries’ commitment to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all users.

If you have any questions about the new and improved CWRU libraries’ catalog, email asksl@case.edu.