After 57 years of publishing the PSU Bulletin in hard copy, the University will replace the printed catalog with a web-based version. Beginning with the 2014-15 Bulletin, students, staff, and faculty will access the Bulletin directly online using their smartphones, tablets, PCs or campus computers. The online catalog is tentatively scheduled to go live sometime in spring 2014.
The web-based Bulletin will use a new software tool provided by SmartCatalog, a vendor with extensive higher education catalog experience. Using the SmartCatalog tool, students will be able to easily access information by searching the entire catalog, or concentrate their search on just programs or just courses. Users also will have access to “MyCatalog,” which allows them to create links to specific pages within the University’s e-catalog. They can create links for specific courses that they are interested in, or major requirements, or the calendar of important dates. These links can be arranged in folders which can be emailed to friends, advisors/advisees, professors or family.
The SmartCatalog tool also will allow individual pages or sections of the e-catalog to be printed as needed. In fact, those who need or desire a complete hard copy of the official PSU Bulletin will be able to purchase a printed copy through a couple of print-on-demand venues. As part of PSU’s collaboration with SmartCatalog, the University will work with Lulu.com, a subsidiary of Amazon.com, to create an online ordering interface. Users will log in, place their order, pay, and the book will be shipped directly to them. PSU also is working directly with the Portland State University Bookstore on the feasibility of using its print-on-demand process to print copies of the Bulletin for those campus users who may want one.
The demand for the printed hard copy of the PSU catalog has been diminishing over the last five years. Sales of the catalog through the PSU Bookstore have gone from a high of almost 750 in 2009 to less than 200 in 2012. Fewer and fewer students want to carry around a 400-page catalog which they may refer to once or twice a year. With the advent of the web-based e-catalog at PSU, students will easily access the Bulletin anytime, anywhere, using the latest in high-tech devices.