Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Research Guides | Library | Amherst College

FOLIO Library Migration

Our FOLIO Migration This Summer

A new catalog is coming! Plan ahead: books can't be checked out June 25 - July 6

This summer the Five Colleges Libraries will implement the FOLIO library services platform. FOLIO (The Future Of Libraries Is Open) is a collaboration of libraries, developers and vendors building an open source library services platform that supports traditional resource management functionality while also opening the door for innovation in an increasingly digital world. Five Colleges will be the first library consortium to fully implement FOLIO, and we are excited about the opportunities this future-looking system will provide.    

At the end of June we will move back-end system operations from the current Five Colleges library system (ALEPH) to FOLIO. We will also retire the separate Five Colleges Libraries Catalog search interface and consolidate the discovery and access of library materials in Discover. Discover is a reliable interface that has been in use at Amherst since 2012, and it will continue to include all of the records held in the retiring Five Colleges Libraries catalog as well as from most of our subject-specific databases. Additional tools that enable users to request items and manage their accounts within Discover will also be implemented at the time of migration, streamlining the request process and allowing for increased functionality (you’ll be able to see where you are in the request queue for an item!). To learn more about the retirement of the Five Colleges Libraries catalog and Discover, visit our Using Discover page.

As the spring semester ends, final preparations for migration will begin. While we aim to complete this work with minimal system downtime for the community, some user services and staff work will pause in the lead up to migration, and as our new systems are connected and come online at the end of June.

Still have questions after reviewing this page? Contact us!

Timeline & Important Deadlines

  • May 25: Purchases of new items for the library collection will pause. We plan to resume processing requests submitted via the Request Service on 7/18.

  • June 21: Last day to request physical items from any of the Five College Libraries for pickup at Amherst before requesting is paused across the consortium. 

  • June 24: Last day to check out physical items (e.g., books, DVDs, etc.) at the Frost Front Desk and Multimedia Services before circulation activity is paused. Checkouts will resume in early July.

  • July 5-6: Circulation of physical materials resumes (anticipated).

  • July 18: Collection Management begins processing new purchase orders again.

Using Library Resources during Migration

  • Planning for your summer research and projects will help ensure that you have the library resources you need for your work during the system migration. Submit requests for books from the Five Colleges by June 21, and visit Frost Library to pick up the materials you need by June 24.

  • From June 29-July 8, Discover may have some errors or not be fully functional while we reconnect different systems. We recommend using the Databases A-Z list to use specific databases and the Publication Finder to find online access to specific journal articles and newspapers during this period. If you already have a stable, permanent link to an electronic resource, like a link to an ebook in your Moodle course, it will remain accessible throughout the transition. Get help from one of our Research & Instruction Librarians if you have any questions.

  • Library staff across multiple service areas will be working to make this as smooth a transition as possible. Some services will be temporarily unavailable and response times may be delayed. Keep an eye on the library website for the most up-to-date information about the status of the transition and services available during this period.

FAQ

What services can I use during the down window? 

  • Use the Amherst College Library Request Service to request books and films from outside of the Five Colleges Libraries, journal articles, and book chapters.

  • Use Databases A-Z list to access specific databases.

  • Use Publication Finder to find online access to specific journal articles and newspapers.

  • If you already have a stable, permanent link to an electronic resource, like a link to an ebook in your Moodle course, it will remain accessible throughout the transition.

  • Get help from one of our Research & Instruction Librarians if you have any questions.

  • Check the library website for the most up-to-date information about the status of the transition and services available during this period.


What is the last date I can request items from and check things out from the library? 

Request items

The last date you can request items from Amherst or one of the other Five College Libraries is June 21. This will ensure that information about your request is properly captured and maintained when we move circulation and user data into FOLIO the following week.

Check things out

The last date we can lend physical library resources using our legacy system is June 24. This will ensure that information about your active loans is properly captured and maintained when we move circulation and user data into FOLIO between June 30th and July 1st.


What if I request books but am not able to pick them up by June 24? 

We will continue to hold your requested items through the migration period. If you anticipate that you will not be able to pick up your items by July 19 and would like them held longer, please contact libcirc@amherst.edu for assistance.


Can I still borrow tech and media equipment after the cutoff date? 

Multimedia Services staff will be unable to lend equipment and other items in our legacy system after June 24 and into early July. We encourage you to plan for your needs in advance of June 24 whenever possible. 

If you have an urgent need for Multimedia Services equipment during the transition, contact askit@amherst.edu for assistance and we will do our best to help. Please note that staff will be largely focused on migration tasks during the transition, and response times may be delayed.


What if I have an urgent need for a book? Can I still check it out? 

Interlibrary loan (ILL) services will not be impacted by the system migration. Through interlibrary loan you can request books and films from outside of the Five Colleges Libraries, journal articles, and book chapters. If you have an urgent need for a book, please log in to your Request Service account and place a request. Contact interlibraryloan@amherst.edu if you need assistance.

If you already have a stable, permanent link to an electronic resource, such as a link to an ebook in your Moodle course, it will remain accessible throughout the transition.


Can I borrow books from the other Five College libraries instead? 

The Five Colleges Libraries are implementing FOLIO all together as a consortium, and share the same dates for service pauses as we prepare for migration. 

Specific services and access to spaces will vary by institution. Visit individual library websites to see what is available at each campus:


What if I need to return or renew books? 

The library will continue to accept material returns during the transition. These returns will be processed after FOLIO implementation, so please be aware that you may see them listed in your account for a brief time before they are processed.

Due dates will be extended before migration to ensure that no items are due while we are between systems.


Can purchase requests be submitted between May 25th and July 18th? 

The library’s Request Service will continue to gather requests throughout the transition. However, staff will not place new orders between May 25th and July 18th. This pause will allow time for orders from a variety of vendors to arrive and be processed prior to migration, and for remaining open order data to be properly captured and maintained as we move library acquisitions data into FOLIO.


What if I have an item I need purchased for fall course reserves? 

You can continue to use the library’s Request Service to submit purchase requests for reserves throughout the transition, including items that need to be purchased for your fall courses. We will begin processing these requests mid-July, when ordering resumes.


How will I know when the services can be used again? 

Check the library website for the most up-to-date information about the status of the transition and services available during this period. We will post updates to the Daily Mammoth, including when migration work is complete and services are fully restored.


Who can I contact if I have a problem finding or using materials during the transition? 

Get help from one of our Research & Instruction Librarians if you have any questions, or stop by the front desk in Frost.


Why is this happening now? 

Existing library systems (like ALEPH, our soon-to-be-retired online catalog) are based on a decades-old, pre-digital model meant for physical items that use a single metadata standard. In order to best serve the needs of our communities, the Five Colleges Libraries need a system that is flexible, extensible (easily modified by changing or adding features), and highly interoperable.

A summer migration allows the Five Colleges Libraries to complete this work outside of the core academic schedule, at a time that is least disruptive to our collective users. 


What can I expect after the migration is complete? 

When the migration from ALEPH to FOLIO is complete, circulation services will be fully restored and improved user account functions will be incorporated into our primary search system, Discover. Things will look different, but the services you know and use will continue to be available. 

The FOLIO implementation will help us consolidate and streamline our systems, both in the short and long term. And as part of our preparations, the Five Colleges Libraries have worked together to review and revise policies across the consortium. In addition to using Discover as your primary search and account management tool, you will immediately notice longer loan periods, an increased number of renewals, more flexible fee and fine policies, and automated notices that are more responsive to your due dates and times.

As with all major transitions there will be a period of adjustment. FOLIO is a young system being actively developed by the library community, and as the system evolves and becomes more robust we will continue to refine and improve our processes. Your feedback and patience are appreciated. Please do reach out if you need assistance before, during, or after the transition to FOLIO. We’re here to help!