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News about the new Orbis
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Connect to Orbis    Frequently Asked Questions    Highlights of Orbis     Searching Orbis     General Information

The Yale University Library introduced a new interface to Orbis, the library's online catalog, on July 23, 2002, as part of a two and a half year project to replace and enhance the computer system that manages library operations.

October 3, 2002 Update

For the past two months, the Library has been receiving some good suggestions for improving Orbis, many of which we have been able to implement. We conducted two usability studies with students, which also helped direct us to some problem areas early in August.

As of 10/03/2002, you can use a new feature: Bookbag. Bookbag allows you to save a search result for later use, much like an online shopping cart. You must be logged in to Your Library Account to access the Bookbag. More information about Bookbag.

Another new feature is Saved Searches. The Saved Searches feature allows you to save an Orbis search for later use. You must be logged in to Your Library Account during a search session to access your Saved Searches. More information about Saved Searches.

Below is a summary of some other recent changes to Orbis:

  • Font style and size. You may now use your browser to enlarge the font. We also changed the Holdings display on the Titles list from italic to normal font to improve readability.
  • Quick Limits. Quick Limit is now a drop down list instead of a fixed display of the five options. We also added text to the label to better explain when to use this feature.
  • Status information. We changed the wording for status information in the Request line for Charged Requests, Renewed Requests, Overdue Requests, and Recall Requests to make the information about outstanding requests clearer.
    c.1 Checked out - Due 10/25/2002 . Recalls: 1. (To request, click "PLACE REQUESTS")
  • Login screens. In August we modified the login screen for Place Requests and Your Library Account to explain how to login until a new release is installed in early 2003 (when you will be able to use your Yale NetIDs and passwords.)
  • Indexes: We renamed the Journal Title index to Journal/Newspaper/Magazine Title after the usability study revealed that some confusion about what constitutes a "journal."

    Thank you all for your suggestions and especially for the enthusiastic comments about many of the new features in OPAC. Please continue to send us feedback.


    Noteworthy features available immediately include:

    • Library account management and self-service requests, including interactive renewal of borrowed material, information on fees and fines, placing recalls for items checked out, and requesting Eli Express delivery from most Yale libraries
    • Display of non-Roman characters for Chinese, Japanese and Korean records
    • A title results list which provides location, call number, and circulation status without looking at specific records.
    • A wide variety of options for search limiting and refinement
    • Options for sorting search results
    • Ability to email search results
    • Ability to download records in a variety of formats
    • Relevance-ranked keyword searching
    • Easier searching of prolific authors and composers (Shakespeare or Mozart)
    • A separate journal titles search (for journals like Nature and Science)
    • Easier searching of uniform titles (like Bible or Arabian Nights)

    Throughout 2002, library staff will continue to develop the new Orbis interface. Planned enhancements include:

    • Login through NetID and password
    • Simultaneous searching of Orbis, Morris (the Yale Law Library's catalog), and other library databases
    • Support for additional non-Roman scripts such as Hebrew and Arabic
    • Ability to construct automatic searches that are run at specified intervals, with the results delivered via email


    Web access to Orbis:

    The Web-based version of Orbis is the full-featured and strongly recommended version because it supports new advanced features, foreign language capabilities, and self-service functions.

    Microsoft Internet Explorer version 5.0 or above is the recommended browser, especially for non-Roman language display. Recent versions of Netscape (4.7 or higher) also perform satisfactorily.

    View the help guide for Orbis.

    See a side-by-side comparison of search options in old Orbis and new Orbis.

    Telnet access to Orbis: telnet://

    From Telnet client software, connect to:
    Host Name:
    Port Number: 4000

    Instructions on configuring the Host Explorer Telnet client

    Help pages are available within Telnet: type ? while searching

    Text-based access to Orbis is available for those who prefer a traditional Telnet interface and for those seeking rapid response time when using slow dial-up connections. (Telnet access provides a limited set of Orbis features and is NOT recommended for most users).


    After a yearlong investigation, the library purchased Endeavor Information Systems' Voyager, a library management system used in over nine hundred academic and research libraries in North America, the United Kingdom, and Australia. These include Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, Cornell, the National Library of Medicine, and the Library of Congress.

    Staff throughout the Yale libraries have spent the past ten months customizing the software, testing the conversion of data from the current system to the new one, developing new workflows and designing the Orbis online catalog. For more information about the selection process or details about the implementation, see the System Migration Site.

    Connect to Orbis

    © 2007 Yale University Library
    This file last modified 10/03/02
    Send comments to Orbis PR Group

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