Colombo: Detective of the book world

Colombo: Detective of the book world McGill University

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McGill Reporter
May 18, 2006 - Volume 38 Number 17
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Home > McGill Reporter > Volume 38: 2005-2006 > May 18, 2006 > Colombo: Detective of the book world

Colombo: Detective of the book world

Close in spelling and closer in mission to the once-popular detective series, the new interlibrary loan (ILL) system, aka Colombo, will soon help students and faculty hunt-down those hard-to-find titles on the shelves of Canadian universities. On May 24, Colombo will be launched at the McGill Library and simultaneously at 20 Québec university libraries in seven institutions.

Colombo logo

Colombo is an interlibrary loan system that will allow McGill students, faculty and staff, as well as those from the six other universities, to search multiple library catalogues, then request books, articles, or other materials not owned at McGill with the simple click of a mouse, instead of the past procedure which involved filling out webforms. It even allows users to techno-track the progress of their interlibrary loan requests.

"We've never had a project like this before," says Valerie Mayman, the librarian responsible for central inter-library loan service, and one of the McGill representatives on the Colombo project. "This is the first time in the history of university libraries in Quebec that we've implemented such a cooperative project on this scale."

Do not be fooled, this system does not replace MUSE, the McGill library catalogue, which is the most accurate search tool for McGill libraries. MUSE enables you to search and borrow from the McGill collections; Colombo enables you to search and borrow from libraries external to McGill.

"Each university has a different library catalogue. Though Colombo is not as detailed as MUSE, the exciting thing about the new system is that other university library catalogues can be simultaneously searched and requests placed using one system," says Mayman.

By the end of 2006, Mayham predicts that most Quebec libraries will be connected to Colombo. The seven universities to launch next week include: Concordia, McGill, U de M, Sherbrooke, HEC, Ecole Polytechnique, and Laval.

The project was carried out under the auspices of the Sous-Comité des bibiothèques of La Conférence des recteurs et des principaux des universités du Québec (CREPUQ), and implemented by representatives from each of the participating universities. CREPUQ is an organization which brings together Quebec universities, through various initiatives like Colombo.

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