Library systems upgrading catalogs this summer


The University Library System’s more than 20-year-old library catalog, PITTCat Classic, will get upgraded on July 28.

PITTCat Classic and the backroom software managing circulation, library databases, book purchasing and more will make way for the New PITTCat. The change is managed by and will affect the Law and Health Sciences library systems as well. 

Rachel Rubin, associate university librarian for research and learning, said that even though the system has been updated throughout the past 20 years, it’s time for a more sweeping change.

“The research and discovery needs have changed so much in the last 20 years and the speed and the depth of the information that folks are looking for — we really need to be able to serve them where they are with what they need as quickly and efficiently as possible,” Rubin said.

Pitt has two different systems that faculty and students use to gather information, PITTCat Classic and PITTCat+, which can make the search and discovery experience “jumpy,” Rubin said.

To make the process smoother, she said, the New PITTCat will combine both systems into one at

The upgrade improves “not just the search experience, it’s also that back end experience for both the staff here at the Library and for the patrons,” Rubin said. “We’re looking at the ability to have more robust analytics, more robust reporting so that we can make data-informed decisions about the services that we’re providing in a way that we can’t do now.” 

To help ease the transition, the library will host training sessions, both public and internal, for faculty and staff in the fall. Rubin said the library also will create training videos.

 “We’re doing it essentially so that we can take a system that is a little bit clunky and turn it into something that provides a seamless and much more efficient and effective search and discovery experience,” Rubin said.

Donovan Harrell is a writer for the University Times. Reach him at or 412-383-9905. 


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