Primo takes off!

2 Aug 2018 - 14:45

The Main Library foyer was a hive of activity on Wednesday as UCT Libraries launched Primo – a one stop search tool for finding resources and #PrimoOnTheGo to showcase its mobility for students on the move. From pop quizzes and goodie bag draws to sweets handouts with a Primo tip, students enroute to the Library grabbed the opportunity to enter draws and ask their pressing Primo questions to ready Libraries staff and student advisors.

The launch then was opened by UCT Libraries' acting executive director, Dr Reggie Raju to a crowd of awaiting staff, students and academics who gathered. Primo was launched in December 2017 as a "NextGen Library management system". Raju explained how far the system has come since then in terms of user experience and functionality; as Libraries staff used this period to conduct usability studies to ensure that user needs are met.


Primo was introduced as a cloud-based system and users will therefore have access to information anywhere and anytime. "How exciting it is that while we are sitting in the Jammie, we can access the full content of the digital library", Raju added. He added that #PrimoOnTheGo will be seen in the coming days as Libraries staff mobilise to demonstrate to students how accessible Primo is on their journey in and around campus.

"How exciting it is that while we are sitting in the Jammie, we can access the full content of the digital library"


PrimoOnTheGo on the Plaza and Molly Backburn

#PrimoOnTheGo There was a big buzz around Molly Blackburn as students arrived at the stall and were informed about #PrimoOnTheGo. Many of them on were on their mobiles in a flash trying to find a title of a book or journal in order to claim a cupcake. The mood was festive and students enjoyed searching on their devices. A few librarians went out onto the Plaza to hand out fizzes as well.

A tool for novice to expert

The audience was reminded that Primo is for everyone from novice to expert – search once access all Library databases. Due to its minimalist interface and powerful search functionality, Primo provides a wealth of material and access for all – students, researchers, academics, everyone.

Where does Primo and knowledge meet?

Associate Professor Lis Lange, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Teaching and Learning took to the podium and expressed her excitement about Primo as a knowledge tool. First by unpacking how knowledge is created; through "spotting gaps" and "connecting ideas". She went on to explain the importance of the materials needed to “spark” this creation and that ultimately, “knowledge is created through other knowledge and Primo allows you to walk into a world of knowledge.”

"Knowledge is created through other knowledge and Primo allows you to walk into a world of knowledge."

What is exciting about Primo?

Lange emphasised the relevance of Primo for academics developing curricula, who will appreciate easy access to a wide range of material and the relevance during this time of curriculum change, calling it a “21st century mining tool”.

She also shared accounts of her student years while studying at the University of Bueno Aires, where many books were removed during the military dictatorship of Argentina. So, it’s a privilege to have access to information on a computer and this is what excited her the most.

She jokingly added to Raju’s comments about taking Primo on the Jammie with you, saying “You may find something to read before you write, and think before you right which is not a bad thing” and so “don’t Facebook Primo!”.

On closing, Lange said that Primo is another way to increase how students engage with their learning, widening the breadth of the type of knowledge we can access and providing new possibilities around curriculum review.

Primo launches at UCT Libraries branches

Primo Launch at Hiddingh Hall Library
Primo launches were held at many UCT Libraries branches on the day. Students try out #PrimoOnTheGo at Hiddingh Hall Library. Photo credit: Hiddingh Hall Library. View more Launch photos

Story Carmen Louw and Amina Adam. Photos Theresa Schoeman