General Catalog Gets New Look, New Features

Students, faculty members, prospective students and others will soon be able to use the general catalog in a whole new way.

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

“The last catalog was just another evolution from paper,” said Randall Larson-Maynard, the senior editor, curriculum coordinator and webmaster in the Office of the University Registrar who oversees the catalog. “This is more web-designed and so it’s thought of in a different way. It’s more what our students would expect.”

The catalog is switching to a new vendor, Iowa-based Leepfrog Technologies, and the switch will require a two-day outage this Thursday and Friday (April 21-22). After that, the catalog will have a new URL, Any pages bookmarked in the previous catalog will redirect to the new home page.

Advanced search function allows for course searching by subject, college, course type, department or general education requirement

The web interface was last overhauled about five years ago, and the biggest change this time around is a course search function that allows users to search by a number of criteria, like which general education requirement a course fulfills, then narrow the search down by criteria like keyword or department.

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

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

The general catalog will also make things easier for prospective students browsing potential future classes, with a new, prominent “Apply Now” button.

While the catalog is still web-only, users can save PDFs of individual pages or the full general catalog, which will be about 1,700 pages.

The process of redesigning the general catalog took about eight months, and the registrar’s office sought input from student focus groups, college advising groups and faculty members.

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

“I think the campus will receive it really well,” he said. “The sample size we’ve shown it to, no one has had a complaint.”

The new format will also make updates much easier — the site tracks updates and approvals from colleges, which Larson-Maynard previously tracked with a spreadsheet and hundreds of Word documents. That shortened this year’s editing process by about three weeks, but that doesn’t mean staff members who work on the catalog will get an extended vacation this time around.

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

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Cody Kitaura is a News and Media Relations Specialist in the Office of Strategic Communications, and can be reached by email or at 530-752-1932.

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