Compilation of FAQs about the New Library System

Transition to the new system 

  • Why is the library switching to a new search system?
    The current library system is 20 years old and was primarily designed to manage physical collections. While the old system has served us well, the new one offers a library search tool that is in use by many academic libraries around the world. This new tool is part of a complete new system that allows us to improve: 

    • Management and preservation of library collections  

    • Discovery of and access to collections at Queen’s, other university libraries across Ontario, and beyond 

    • Streamlined discoverability of resources using new filters for refining results 

  • Why a shared system? 
    By implementing the new system together with our 13 partner institutions, we’ll have the common infrastructure needed to work together in new ways, share expertise, collaborate more efficiently in managing and preserving our collections, and offer broader access to resources for our communities.  

  • When does the new system go live?
    The new system, including the new search tool, will go live Dec. 12, 2019. This is a go-live date that we share with our 13 other Ontario university partners. 

Impact of the new search tool 

  • What will the new search interface look like? 
    Instead of having both Summon and QCAT, the library catalogue, we will provide a single integrated search tool.  Highlights of the new search include the option to: 

    • Discover collections at Queen's and all 14 Ontario partner institutions.  

    • Refine by resource type, library collection, focused subjects, availability, and more. 

    • Browse physical materials on the shelf using Virtual Browse. 

    • Follow citation trails from references within an article, and those that cite it. 

    • Request materials beyond Queen's as you discover them. 

    • Pin, collate, and tag materials in your favourites file for easy retrieval.  

    • Cite, email, and export to a citation tool to manage your information. 

  • What does a new library search tool mean for you?  
    For students, faculty and staff, it will mean broader and more streamlined access to resources both in our collections as well as in those of our partner university libraries across Ontario. It will also mean the replacement of the Library’s catalogue with a modern discovery and content delivery system with powerful new features for both novice and advanced researchers.   

  • Can I still link to material in Ares (e-reserves)? 
    Yes, however, links to QCAT and Summon will not move over to the new system.  Please follow the information below: 

    • ‘Permanent’ links to QCAT records will not work as of Dec. 12, 2019.   
      i.e. Links beginning with 

    • Summon links will not work as of Dec. 12, 2019.  
      i.e. Links beginning with  

We recommend you use the library’s reserves service (Ares) to ensure that links to course readings are not affected by the transition. For detailed instructions and further information about placing course materials on reserve, please visit Course Reserves.  Additional information:

Creating permanent links to online articles (*not affected by the Dec. 12 roll-over.)

Please contact the reserves staff ( for more information.

  • When should I order course materials for the winter term? 
    Please order winter term course materials as early as you can. As part of the implementation of the new system, the library will need to pause some of its activities, including the normal acquisition of information resources. Throughout this period, the library will continue to support information resource needs that are time-sensitive, such as those related to the upcoming winter term. Rush ordering will still be available. Please consult your Subject Librarian.

  • How will borrowing, lending, fines and fees policies be impacted?

Starting December 12

  • ALL regular loans will be 120 days for our Queen’s Community (Undergraduate, Graduate, Faculty and Staff), RMC, local teachers, and partners (excludes reserves, limited loans, and multimedia).
  • Late/overdue fines will no longer apply to the Queen’s Community (Undergraduate, Graduate, Faculty and Staff), RMC, local teachers and our partners (excludes lost, recalls, and reserves)
  • Borrowing limits of 500 items for all borrowers (with some exceptions).
  • If an item is out at Queen’s, you may request it through Interlibrary loan (RACER). By Spring 2020, more streamlined requests from our partners will be available in Omni.

Some local changes:

  • Reserves:  Items that are not returned within 7 days will be listed as “lost” and will incur $150 fines ($125 for the item and $25 processing fee).
  • All previously assessed fines will remain on your account based on policies at the time they were accrued.

Before the December 12 launch, please be aware of some changes and short-term service interruptions that will occur as part of the work being done to implement Omni.

December 5-11

  • Fines cannot be paid in person
  • In-person renewals will only be possible with the item in hand
  • Self-check kiosks will be unavailable
  • Recalls, renewals and holds will be unavailable.  You may request an item that is currently “out” by submitting an interlibrary loan request (RACER)
  • Access to “My Library account” will be unavailable


  • How can the Queen's community learn more about the new system? 
    You can refer to the Omni Search Tips guide and/or attend a drop-in session.

Scheduled Drop In Sessions
Year and Location Month Day Time


Stauffer Library 105A

(behind the Information

Services Desk)


November 28th 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
December 3rd 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
5th 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
12th 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
13th 10:00 am - 11:00 am
16th 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
17th 10:00 am - 11:00 am


Stauffer Seminar Rm 121

(right side, main floor)


January 7th 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
9th 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
10th 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
13th 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
14th 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
16th 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
21st 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
22nd 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
24th 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
27th 10:00 am - 11:00 am
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
28th 11:00 am - 12:00 pm


  • What happens to My Bookbag and my Saved Searches in QCAT? 
    These will not be migrated over into the new search tool. Please save this data. 

  • Does the new system integrate with citation management tools (e.g., Mendeley, Zotero and EndNote)? 
    Yes. It integrates with citation management options.  The process involves downloading a citation file, then uploading it to your preferred citation management system. 

  • Since the new system is cloud based, what happens if the Internet goes down? 
    An unplanned outage is rare and circulation can continue offline if necessary. If there is no Internet at Queen’s (highly unlikely and if so, for a very short time) then users could gain access wherever Internet is available – that is one of the benefits of a fully web-based system.

  • Who do I contact for further information? 
    Please contact Ask Us (

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