New Library Catalog debuts June 24, 2020

In late June, the University Library will introduce its new catalog, Primo. The Primo Catalog is the search interface of a state-of-the-art library management system called Ex Libris Alma. The Alma/Primo system was designed to provide better access to, and management of, 21st-century library collections. It has been adopted by a number of research libraries including Harvard and Northwestern.

Here at the University of Illinois, and across Illinois at all I-Share libraries, Primo will replace the current Library catalogs (VuFind Catalog and the Voyager Classic Catalog), which draw from an obsolete library management system. The old system was installed 18 years ago, and can no longer support access to the Library’s complex collections.

Both Vufind and Voyager Classic will be retired permanently once the new catalog is live. Primo’s appearance is markedly different from the current catalogs, especially Voyager Classic. However, some of the best features of Vufind and Voyager Classic have been recreated in Primo.

Here are some of the features of the Primo Library Catalog:

  • A streamlined basic search interface
  • Robust Advanced Search and “Refine my results” options
  • Improved access to the Library’s online collections, including electronic journals, databases, collections of digitized primary source materials, and ebooks
  • Two ways to browse: in alphabetical lists of subjects, authors, etc, and a virtual shelf browse –across library locations! (we are especially excited about this feature)
  • Sign-on with U of I NetID and NetID password (instead of a separate login) to request books from any I-Share Library, review/renew checked out items, and save favorites

Unlike some peer libraries, we will not be implementing Primo’s article search features, but instead will continue to rely on Easy Search and subject-specific article databases such as Historical Abstracts. Primo will be integrated with our other search databases to ensure seamless access to electronic journal content.

For more information, see the official Primo announcement at Questions? Contact Michael Norman, (Discovery Services Librarian and ILS Coordinator) at

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