Picture of Micquel Little
Micquel Little
Micquel is the Associate University Librarian for Research and Learning

Melvyl and UCSF Catalog Are Retiring

On July 27, UC Library Search will replace Melvyl and the UCSF Library Catalog and offer a single, UC-wide library discovery tool.

How we got here

Melvyl debuted in 1981 and revolutionized the UC Library system, allowing researchers to find books at other UC campuses through computer terminals on their own campuses. Behind the scenes, however, Melvyl relies on a complex patchwork system that connects multiple catalogs and databases. As several of these systems approach the end of their life spans, the UC Libraries recognize the technical unsustainability and inherent risks associated with keeping the Melvyl system. 

UCSF’s local online library catalog has been around since the 1990s. By merging the card catalog and the circulation system, it combined the holdings of the entire UC San Francisco Library into a single tool. Over time, however, the library collection has become more digital and in many ways has outgrown the system.

Improvements for 2021

UC Library Search will vastly improve the user experience for faculty, students, and researchers who need to access collections across the University of California system. Rather than using Melvyl, which linked separate catalogs from different institutions, all of the UC Libraries will now contribute to one unified discovery tool.

Previously, researchers had to search two places to locate library resources: UCSF Library Catalog and Melvyl. Additionally, some materials, like course reserves, could not be searched in Melvyl. Other resources, notably those held by other UC campus libraries, couldn’t be found in local catalogs. And finally, some resources could only be found in separate databases like HathiTrust.

UC Library Search will maximize the value of the UC collections by making resources much easier to find and borrow thanks to its improved inter-library resource sharing tools and simplified user interface.

As these older systems approach retirement, let’s celebrate the decades of service they have given to our users and welcome UC Library Search — the discovery tool of our future.

Have questions? Please contact Micquel.