Goodbye Heritage, Hello ‘Alma’ and iDiscover

It has been a somewhat hectic start to 2018 in the College library due largely to the  implementation of our new Library management System (Alma). Most Cambridge libraries have moved over to this new system. We have had the additional complication of moving from our standalone system Heritage, but I’m delighted to say that as of today Heritage is no more and your Magdalene library accounts and loans have been transferred over to Alma!

While there are very likely to be some glitches and problems to begin with we expect this move to bring a much improved experience to you all, particularly as we have combined the move to Alma with the installation of a brand new Self-Service machine.

There is more detail below but here are some of the key changes:

  1. You now only use iDiscover to search for and recall Magdalene books. ‘Heritage online’ should no longer be used and will eventually be switched off.
  2. Checking your account, make reservations/recalls and renewing your loans is all done now via iDiscover.
  3. There have been changes to the borrowing rules and fines structure. However, loans are still for 7 days.
  4. Different notification messages (one reminder message for loans in all the libraries you borrow from)
  5. Much improved self-issue machine!

Keep in contact! Let us know if you’re having problems!!!

Please do let us know if you are having problems using iDiscover or the Self-Service machine, or if you are confused about any messages you have been sent. We will be putting up guidance in the library but do come and ask us anything or contact us via

Borrowing items

Borrowing items is now done via the Self-Service Machine in Right Cloister (same location as old machine).

Photo 23-01-2018, 14 37 34

Select Borrow/Account using the touch screen.

Then scan the barcode on the back of your University card.

This will take you by default to the Borrowing screen, scan you book and it will appear on the screen. When you have scanned all your books press finish.

Photo 23-01-2018, 10 21 29

Scan barcode

Photo 23-01-2018, 10 25 53

Click finish when you have scanned all the books you want to borrow

Returning Books

You can return books directly to the Returns box/slots but if you want to remove them from your record yourself you can do this.

Selecting ‘Return’ on the front screen will take you straight to the Returns screen where you can scan in your books using the barcode scanner to the right of the machine. The Scanner does not need to be picked up or pressed to scan, placing the barcode on the inside of the page under the scanners green light will return the book. When you;ve finished all your returns press ‘Finish’.

Photo 23-01-2018, 10 21 09Photo-23-01-2018-10-21-29.jpgPhoto 23-01-2018, 10 24 55

Checking your account

You will most likely be checking your library account via iDiscover, but you can also check your loans via the self issue machine.


Go to


Hover over and then click on ‘Login to iDiscover’


Click on my library account (to see this option you may need to click on your name)


The first option covers most users (See guide linked too below if it does not work)


Your library account!

Please note that this is your Library account for all the Libraries you use in Cambridge. Your College books, requests and fines will appear alongside these items from other libraries.

You can tell which loans are from the College library by clicking on the ‘loans’ tab, which will tell you where the book is to be returned to.

on loan2

An official UL guide to checking your account can be found here

Self-Service Machine

Photo 23-01-2018, 14 37 34

Select ‘Borrow/Account’


Select ‘Account’ from the left side menu

Photo 23-01-2018, 14 37 58

The account screen

As with iDiscover your account will show the books you have on loan at ALL the libraries in Cambridge. Unfortunately we are not yet able to indicate on the screen which are your Magdalene books, this has to be done in iDiscover, but you can renew your books from this page (see below).

Renewing books

Your loans can be renewed from either iDiscover or the Self-Service machine. You can renew books from ANY library on both.

Please note that the renewal process for Magdalene College books has changes, please see changes in Borrowing rules section below.

Self-Service Machine

Log into the machine with your barcode and select ‘Account’ from the left hand menu.

Photo 23-01-2018, 10 26 32

Your loans and due dates will appear (for ALL libraries)

Photo 23-01-2018, 10 26 36

To renew individual or multiple books select them via the touch screen

Photo 23-01-2018, 10 26 42

Select ‘Renew Selected’

Photo 23-01-2018, 10 26 55

Alternatively you can ‘renew all’

Renewing via iDiscover

Please see the iDiscover guidance here.

Recalling Books

If a book is ‘On Loan’ then you can log into your account and Recall it if you require it. Depending on who has the book they will have to return it in 3 or 7 days. You will be notified when it is available.

Recalling a book

Recalls are done via iDiscover, please see the iDiscover guidance here.

Checking a Recall in iDiscover

It is likely that the main place you will check your reservations (recalls/requests) is in your iDiscover account.


It will tell you where to pick up each Reservation (Recall) and how long you have until it is returned to the Open Shelves.

Checking a Recall via Magdalene Self-Service

You can check on your Recalls on the Self-Service machine via the ‘Reservation’ option on the left sidebar.


Once you have ‘recalled’ a book it should appear with the Status ‘Charged’


Once a book has been returned to the library and made available by Library Staff the Status will change to ‘In transit between locations’. The locations being the dropbox and the Reserve shelf.

If an item is shown as ‘In Transit’ or ‘In Transit between locations’ then it should already be on the Reserve Shelf (to the left of the self-issue machine) and available for you to borrow via Self-Service.

Searching for Magdalene College Library books

iDiscover now contains up-to-date Magdalene College records. The records will now tell you if an item is on the shelf or on loan.

PLEASE ignore this message which will be removed shortly, it was incorrectly carried over from the old system: “(For current availability information please check Heritage or contact the Library)”


The iDiscover LibGuide has guides on the basics of finding things in iDisco and lots of useful search strategies

To check if  an item is available (once you’ve found the record)

On the initial results screen, under Request Options it will show how many copies are available to borrow, in the case below it is on loan as there are ‘0 available’


For further details, such as due date, click on ‘Magdalene College Library’

idisco item details2.jpg

further idisco record detail

Under ‘policy’ it lists  the borrowing policy that applies to you for this book i.e. loanable (Borrowable) or Reference. Under ‘Status’ it will tell you if it is on the shelf.

The Status will be either:

‘On loan’ (with due date)  = Book is out on loan to someone

‘Item in Place’ = Book is on the shelf

‘In Transit’ = The book has been recalled and is waiting to be picked up by the requester

If a book is ‘On Loan’ then you can log into your account and Recall it if you require it. Depending on who has the book they will have to return it in 4 or 7 days. You will be notified when it is available.

Check where the book is located in the Library

To find where a book is in the library you need to know the ‘Location’ and ‘Shelfmark’.


locating a book.jpg


There are a number of locations in the Library (see map):

Main Library: Ground Floor and 1st Floor right clositer and 6.Ga-P in Brooke Gallery

Wigglesworth Law Library: located in Left Cloister

Oversize: There are two oversize sections in Right Cloister; one in Parnell Room on Ground floor (to the right) and one under the window opposite the stairs on the first floor.

Reserve Collection: Located either in the Brooke Gallery open shelves or in the Wigglesworth Law Library (to the right of the door).

Special Collection: Special items kept in the College Library. Please ask staff to access these items.

Pepys Library: Items kept in the historic Pepys library. Please contact the Pepys Library to access these items:

Old Library: Items kept in the College’s Old library. Please contact the Old Library to access these items:


The shelfmark consists of a number, one or more letters, and a number, e.g. 4.D.20. The first number represents a broad subject area, the letter represents a more specific subject, and the final number is the place within that sequence. For example:

4 = English

D = Shakespeare,

20 = It is the 20th book in the Shakespeare sequence

Once you have the shelfmark, you can locate the books via the annotated map, or by looking at the numbering on the end and top of the stacks and on the shelves.


Please note: Your total fine amount (across ALL Cambridge libraries) currently displays on the Self-Service machine, this is not just your Magdalene fines. We plan to remove this notification to avoid confusion.

To check a full list of your fines you will need to log-in to your account in iDiscover and select the Fines/Fees tab.

Your fines from all the libraries you borrow from will be listed here. Methods for paying fines vary between libraries, your Magdalene College fine will be added to your College Bill at the end of each term and will be made inactive/cleared from that point.

50p fine

Clicking on the fines tab in iDiscover will list your fines, the type of fine (in this example ‘other’, the date fine was initially charged, if the fine is active and the amount. By clicking on the arrow to the right hand side you can tell which Library the fine is with.


Changes to Borrowing Rules

General Rules
loan rles
*Fellow may request additional loans beyond the limit on a case by case basis by contacting the Deputy librarian.


Items must be either returned or renewed at the end of the loan period (due date). An item can be renewed as many times as you like for the renewal period, but after the renewal period is up they must be returned.

If you want to retain a 7-day loan beyond the initial due date, then you must renew it. You can do this as many times as you like until a total period of 28 days, when it will then have to be returned. So, beyond 21 days renewing a 7 day loan will have no effect as it will be due back after 28 days.


Fines are listed below, please note that recalled books have a larger fine.


fines examples.JPG

Fines across all Cambridge Libraries

The maximum amount a user can owe across ALL the Libraries in Cambridge is £100.00. If you accrue £100 you will be blocked from borrowing in ALL libraries, including Magdalene.

Number of Overdue books across all Cambridge Libraries:

The maximum number of books overdue on your account across all the Libraries in Cambridge is now set to 50. If you have over 50 overdue books you will be blocked from borrowing in all libraries, including Magdalene.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.