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LCCOS staff news



Customer Online Payments Now Live

Bethan Smith24 August 2022

We would like to inform colleagues that the ability for customers to pay fines and fees online has now been made live. Customers can now pay their outstanding fines and fees by navigating to the payment portal from their library accounts in Explore.

As a reminder, a training guide has been created to act as a refresher for colleagues involved in online payments. It contains a detailed breakdown of the online payment process, as well as the procedures associated with our new way of paying fines and fees.

We would also like to remind all colleagues that, from now on, all testing and training which involves online payments (including any training for new starters) should be completed on the Alma Sandbox rather than the live production version of Alma, in order to ensure that all future financial reporting is accurate.

If you have any questions about the online payment process, please contact Bethan Smith or Jonathan Fowles.

Customer Online Payments – Upcoming Training Sessions

Bethan Smith13 July 2022

Following on from the recent blog post reminding staff of the existence of the Explore Upgrade SharePoint in relation to online payments, we would like to now advertise the online payments training sessions which will be commencing in the next few weeks.

These training sessions will allow staff to become familiar with the online payment portal, so that they can assist our customers in navigating the platform and answer customer queries where needed.

Training will take place from 26th July through to 18th August. The first few sessions outlined below will have an Issue Desk Heads focus, so if you identify as a member of this group, we would particularly encourage you to sign up to one of these sessions.

The training sessions will include the following:

  • A demo of the online payment process
  • An opportunity for staff to try out the payment platform using test payments
  • Troubleshooting, process outlines and FAQs (including refunds and the new lost item procedure)

We would recommend that all interested staff sign up to one live session. Colleagues can sign up to training sessions via the Eventbrite links below:

Additional training documentation which can be used for reference will be provided and made available on the Explore Upgrade SharePoint once live training sessions are underway.

In the meantime, if you have any questions about Online Payments, please email bethan.smith@ucl.ac.uk.

Customer Online Payments Update 

Bethan Smith7 July 2022

As we are now well into the summer period, we would like to take the opportunity to update you on the progress on the Online Payments strand of the Explore Upgrade Project, which addresses the online payment of fines and fees by library customers. 

Having set up the testing environment, User Acceptance Testing is now underway to test the basic functionalities of the online payment portal. This period of testing will last the next few weeks; following on a successful period of testing, we will aim to launch the online payments platform for customers in time for the start of the next academic year, by the end of August 2022.

In preparation for go-live, we would like to remind you of the existence of the Explore Upgrade SharePoint, which will continue to be updated with new information regarding online payments in the coming days and weeks. The updates will include training documentation and an outline of processes associated with online payments. Colleagues are advised to periodically check the SharePoint for any updates and information. 

We are also aware that colleagues will want to familiarise themselves with the workings of the platform well in advance of the go-live date. To facilitate this, online payments training sessions for staff will shortly be advertised. Colleagues will be asked to sign up to live, virtual training sessions via an Eventbrite link. Training will cover the following elements: 

  • A demo of the online payment process 
  • An opportunity for staff to try out the payment platform using test payments

  • Troubleshooting and FAQs 

Please do keep an eye out for the training sessions, which will be advertised on the blog next week. In the meantime, if you have any questions about Online Payments, please email bethan.smith@ucl.ac.uk 

Explore Upgrade: 8th March Go-Live and Exam Papers

Bethan Smith3 March 2022

Following on from our previous blogpost regarding the first phase of the Explore upgrade, and the launch of our staff SharePoint, we would like to remind staff that the upgrade to Explore will be happening next week on Tuesday 8th March. We have recently been updating our customers with social media, OneLan messaging and other communications, and will continue to advertise the upgrade in the run up to launch.

In today’s blogpost, we would also like to provide some clarification on how exam papers and will be accessed post go-live, as we know that our customers (and colleagues!) will be particularly interested in ensuring that access to this feature is uninterrupted by the changes.

8th March go-live

As a reminder, we will be going live with the upgrade to the new version of Primo on Tuesday 8th March. This will encompass the upgrade to the way we view digital collections, as well as the Explore interface update.  You can find out more about these elements on their respective pages on the staff SharePoint 

Please note that online payments will be released at a later date, with more information on the timeline for implementing this feature to be provided soon.  

Exam papers

Once the upgrade is live, Explore will become the default method for accessing exam papers.  To search for exam papers in the new version of Explore, users can type in the relevant search term, using the exam papers search scope to filter results as shown below: 

Alternatively, customers can browse through the UCL Exam Papers collection, and its associated sub collections, via Digital Collections:

Although the upgrade will mean that exam papers are more easily discoverable, we appreciate that it may take some time for our customers to get used to this new way of finding information. We have therefore made the decision to retain a link from our web pages to exam papers in DigiTool for a time, though we will retire this feature after the current exam period. 

Differences between classic Primo and Primo VE

As a reminder, for colleagues who support Explore users as part of their role, there is a dedicated page on the SharePoint which lists the differences between the classic and updated version of Primo, as well as ongoing technical fixes. This page will be updated regularly over the next few days and weeks. 

If you have any questions about the upgrade project, or are unable to access the SharePoint site, please contact Bethan Smith 

For more general queries regarding Explore, please contact the appropriate Explore functional lead.  

Explore Upgrade 2022 – Information for Library Services staff

Bethan Smith3 February 2022

In the coming weeks, we will be upgrading Explore by implementing a number of new features to enhance the customer experience of using the platform. A SharePoint site has been created to update staff on the progress and key information regarding this project.

The upgrade will focus on three main areas of development: the migration of our online digital collections and exam papers from Digitool to Alma and Explore, the Explore interface update, and the introduction of online payments of library fines and fees.  

Upgrading these applications will mean that we are supported technically by Ex Libris, and that any future system upgrades or enhancements are enabled. These upgrades will facilitate improved searching and browsing of our digital collections, dynamic updates to catalogue records in Explore, and the ability to pay fines and fees online. 

These features will be released in two stages, with the explore interface update and changes to digital collections going live in early March 2022; we are currently aiming for an 8th March release date. Online payments will be added at a later date, following on from testing. We will communicate the go-live date of online payments closer to the time.   

In the next few weeks, we will be releasing communications and training in order to keep colleagues and customers informed. This will include any required actions our customers need to take, such as the need to save their searches. Customers will be informed of the upgrade through social media, newsletters, QR codes, and a webpage on the library website, as well as via messaging in Explore itself. 


Please keep an eye out for further communication related to the project. In the meantime, colleagues can find out more about the upgrades in the new project Sharepoint for Library Services staff, which contains information regarding each separate strand.  


The SharePoint is accessible now and will also be signposted on LibNet. It will be a central point for training, contain useful FAQs, and a list of previous communications. We would encourage you to check the SharePoint periodically to find out information about the project as it emerges

If you have any questions about the project, or are unable to access the SharePoint site, please contact Bethan Smith.

We would also like to take the opportunity to remind you of the Functional Lead structure. If you have any queries about Explore in general, please use the self-service form to find out how to contact an Explore Functional Lead.

Explore – soft launch of new interface

Margaret Stone29 August 2017

explore_nuiA new version of the Explore search tool will be made available on Monday 4 September, in a ‘soft’ launch alongside the current interface.  The new mobile-friendly version will be reviewed and developed over the coming months in preparation for replacing the old interface at an appropriate time.

You can try out the new interface now and send your feedback through the form on the information page, or by commenting on this post.

The new interface searches all of the same content as Explore, and connects to the same library user accounts, but delivers some key benefits:

  • New look and feel, which adapts to your screen size
  • Single screen for each search result, reducing the number of clicks
  • On-screen text stripped back to essentials, for a cleaner view

It is still a work in progress and we are already aware of some issues with the new interface, which are being addressed with the supplier.  The two searches will run in parallel whilst we evaluate the new version, including consulting library users, and we will notify everyone well in advance of plans to retire the old version.

The new interface is based on an out-of-the box version from the suppliers, Ex Libris, and has been adapted by a working group of members from the Digital Libraries Team and Explore Advisory Group.

Explore: Citation Trail

uczcsvi18 July 2016

Later this week, we’ll be starting a month-long trial of some new functionality in Explore. The Citation Trail is intended to improve resource discovery for users by making it possible to look up an article’s citations/cited-by information without leaving Explore – probably a familiar process for anyone who has used Web of Science or Google Scholar.

How does it work?

On some article-level results, the two buttons highlighted below will appear:


Selecting the ‘Citations’ button will return a list of articles cited by the first article:


Selecting the ‘Cited by’ button will return a list of articles that cite the first article:


For a better idea of how it’ll look in action, see this short video from Ex Libris.

Things to note: 

  • The list of citations/citing articles may not be complete – this functionality is not intended to replace subject-specific, bibliographic databases and shouldn’t be relied upon for comprehensive literature searching. There will be a note about this at the top of the results screen, which we can re-word or emphasise as necessary
  • We may not have full-text access to all results returned by following the citation trail – please encourage users to check the full-text indicator highlighted in the screenshot above. For these results, clicking the ‘Services’ tab will redirect the user to an SFX page with links to ILL services and union catalogues
  • The citation buttons will only appear for some article-level, online content
  • The citation data itself comes from CrossRef – more information about how it is generated can be found here

We’ll be calling for feedback about this feature in mid-August, but if you have any thoughts/questions/suggestions before that or would like to pass along any user comments, please do so by emailing digital-library-support@ucl.ac.uk.

Explore: Enhancements and Fixes

uczcsvi19 May 2016

Update applied 13/05/16 – 18/05/2016:

  • Contributor and Subject fields have been reauthorised and standardised in Aleph. Cross-searching using these links in Explore will bring back larger, more accurate record sets.
  • Canned searches for Aleph items allows users to easily extend their search to COPAC and Senate House Library.
Explore screenshot

Click the image above to see the live version

  • ‘Eastman Dental Institute’ label changed to ‘Eastman Dental’ in facets and location tab
  • ‘UCL Journals’ dropdown scope renamed to ‘Journal titles’
  • View Online/SFX links to Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO) eBooks are now resolving correctly
  • Records with diacritic characters can now be retrieved by searches including non-plain Latin characters
  • Hebrew Inflections are now also performed on the Subject field.
  • Misleading information about eBook holdings/availability has been removed

Please direct any queries or comments to digital-library-support@ucl.ac.uk

Reminder: saving from Explore Access Points

Margaret Stone9 December 2014

A quick reminder about the process of saving to USB stick from the Explore Access Points, and some hints and tips.

  • It is possible to save to a USB stick from any Explore Access Point (EAP).  Users should however observe the terms and conditions displayed via the link on the EAP homepage.  These include copyright guidance.
  • A few e-resources are only licensed for UCL members – these will present a UCL  login box when accessed via the EAPs.
  • Occasionally, a user’s USB stick may not be compatible with the EAP and will therefore not show up as available in the ‘Save’ dialogue box.  In this case, the user is able to purchase a basic USB stick at the nearest issue desk.
  • Journals from some publishers may take some time to download for viewing in the PDF viewer.  In these cases, we advise users to try and save direct to their USB stick for later viewing.  During the save process, it is possible to monitor progress to ensure the whole file is downloaded.  There is also an ‘Open’ button on the EAPs which users may like to try in order to view the downloaded file on the EAP.  See the help on downloading to USB.
  • If there are problems with a particular publisher’s resources which cannot be fixed as above, please use the problem report form to notify staff in the E-resources and Digital Libraries teams.