Complete catalog gets a new look, new functions

Students, teachers, prospective students and others will soon be able to use the complete catalog in a completely new way.

The catalog, which has been online-only for the past decade, will launch a revised version on April 25 with new search capabilities, an updated look to match UC Davis’ main website, better mobile responsiveness, and improved accessibility.

“The last catalog was just another evolution of the paper,” said Randall Larson-Maynard, senior editor, curriculum coordinator, and webmaster in the university chancellery’s office, which oversees the catalog. “It’s more web-designed and therefore thought of differently. This is more than what our students would expect.”

The catalog is moving to a new vendor, Iowa-based Leepfrog Technologies, and the move requires a two-day hiatus this Thursday and Friday (April 21-22). After that, the catalog has a new URL, catalog.ucdavis.edu. All pages bookmarked in the previous catalog will be redirected to the new home page.

The web interface was last revised about five years ago, the biggest innovation this time is a course search function that allows users to search for various criteria, such as which general educational requirement a course meets, and then narrow the search by criteria such as keyword or department.

Another innovation makes the alphabetical lists of courses and programs easier to use: many course names are now links that open a small pop-up window with more information, so users don’t have to navigate to another page and lose their place.

“We’ve been asked to do this for 10 years,” Larson-Maynard said.

The general catalog will also make it easier for prospective students to browse potential future courses, with a new, prominent “Apply Now” button.

While the catalog is still web-only, users can save PDFs of individual pages or the entire catalogue, which will be approximately 1,700 pages.

The process of redesigning the master catalog took about eight months, and the Registrar’s Office sought input from student focus groups, college advisory groups, and faculty members.

The new features and updated look have been widely praised, Larson-Maynard said.

“I think the campus will take it really well,” he said. “With the sample size that we showed, no one complained.”

The new format will also make updates much easier — the site tracks updates and approvals from colleges that Larson-Maynard previously tracked with a spreadsheet and hundreds of Word documents. Although this shortened this year’s editorial process by around three weeks, it does not mean that the employees working on the catalog will be given longer holidays this time.

“I start working on the next version the day that version comes out,” said Larson-Maynard.

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