Questions & Answers from AskGCPL
What is POLARIS?
Polaris is GCPL's new customer-friendly online library catalog. It has lots of great features and enhanced searching!
Check back to this page to keep updated on the countdown to your new library catalog.
New Catalog Features
Here is a preview of a few of the best new features of POLARIS.
Did you mean? In our current catalog (HiP) if you type in “John Gresham” as an author keyword search you will receive no results and no suggestions. In Polaris the name “John Gresham” results in the response “Did you mean John Grisham?”
Autofill Options. Like Google, Polaris will offer autofill suggestions based on what you have initially typed. Say you are looking for a novel by Graham Greene but you did not know his name is spelled with “e” on the end. “Graham Green” in our current catalog will result in a list of completely irrelevant results. Polaris will offer you the correct spelling as an autofill option.
Improved Relevancy Ranking. Try searching for the novel Gone With the Wind in the current catalog. As a title keyword search the novel shows up in 22nd place on the results list. Add the Fiction Only limiter and the novel comes up in 6th place. In Polaris the novel should appear at or near the top of the list, even in a general keyword search.
Reading History. One of customers’ most requested features, Polaris will be able to retain users’ reading history. Each customer will need to activate the feature in the My Account section of the catalog if they wish to retain their history. It will not retroactively retain their history; it will only retain it from the time the feature is activated.
Faceted Searching. Like Amazon, Polaris will offer customers the option to narrow their search results through facets on the left side of the screen. In the current catalog the limiters only appear on the initial search screen. In Polaris if your search produces a long list of results you will be able to reduce the results based on format, author, publication date, and other factors.
When will the library go-live with Polaris?
Will I need a new library card?
No, GCPL will continue to use the same library cards
Will the new catalog do a better job of sorting and ranking results?
Yes, relevancy ranking will be much improved and you should no longer have to sort through long lists of irrelevant results
Will the new catalog offer spelling corrections?
Yes, the catalog will offer “Did you mean?” responses which will help correct misspellings of titles or author names
If I know part of a title will the catalog help me complete my search?
Yes, like Google the new catalog will offer autofill suggestions based on what you have initially typed.
Will I be able to narrow my search results?
Yes, in a manner similar to Amazon, the catalog with offer options to narrow your search results by author, subject, publication date, and other factors
Will I be able to access my reading history?
Yes!, by selecting an option under My Account Polaris will retain you check-out history for you. The history will include titles, authors, check-out dates, and which location the item was checked-out from. You can delete individual items from the history or turn the option off at any time, but if you do you will lose all the saved history.
Will I be able to get text message notifications?
Yes, text message options will be available for check-out receipts, hold notifications, and catalog entries
Will I be able to receive RSS updates about new books by my favorite authors?
Yes, customers will be able to set up RSS feeds on new titles from the catalog directly to their RSS reader.
Will I be able to check out eBooks directly from the catalog?
Not at this time. eBooks will be listed in the library catalog but for now it will still be necessary to click through to another site in order to download the item. We are actively looking for ways to more fully integrate eBook downloading with our catalog.
Will my lists carry over from the old catalog?
No, lists will not carry over from the old catalog to the new. We recommend that you print off lists you are using before the old catalog becomes unavailable on January 10. If you need assistance with this please check with the Help Desk at your local library branch.
Will renewals work the same way in the new system?
The library renews items based on the date of the renewal request, not based on the due date. For example, when items are checked out on Day One, they are due in three weeks. If "Renew" is selected on Day One, i.e., the same day, no additional time is granted because three weeks from Day One is still the same due date. Customers will need to wait until closer to the due date to request a renewal in order to get additional time.