Retreat from Advance

On Friday 8th July, the library management system used by most libraries at the University of Oxford will enter a 10-day downtime period, during which all the data will be migrated from the old system, Geac Advance, to the new LMS, Aleph.

For more information about the impact of the downtime, please refer to this post on the switchover of the library management system.

Here are some screenshots of Geac Advance, lest we forget.

The login screen.  Nothing appears next to ‘password’ as you type, no asterisks, nothing.  If you make a mistake when entering the username or password here, you have to begin again – you can’t delete or backspace:

Login screen
The main menu for Circulation.  Keyboard navigation – no clicking!

Circulation main menu

This is what the first page of a MARC record looks like:

MARC record in Geac

Some people may lament the loss of the feature which allowed you to change the font and background colours:

Changing font and background colours in Geac

Mmm… magenta text on cyan background.

I’m looking forward to the new system – being able to click, use keyboard shortcuts to copy and paste, and being able to move between circulation and cataloguing modules in the same session.  Nice!



  1. You can delete and backspace on the Advance login/password screen by pressing Ctrl+H. Not so useful for the password, as you can’t see how many characters you’ve typed or deleted. But hey, it’s something.

    I’ve learnt so many Advance shortcuts the past few weeks, by people saying “Advance was rubbish, you couldn’t do X” and someone else saying “Oh, you just do this…”

  2. Hi James,
    No way – I never knew!
    Perhaps we should start a knowledge repository of Aleph tricks and tips from 18th July to try to stop this happening again in the future (#aleph on Twitter perhaps?). It’s especially difficult in libraries with a small staff, as there are fewer people to pitch in with this kind of advice.
    Enjoy the last 2 days!

  3. My favourite Advance shortcut I’ve learnt this week is that you can go from a checkout screen to the checkin screen by typing “IN” – and then when you exit that checkin screen it takes you back to the checkout. It would have saved me from having to go back to the main menu all the time! It would have been great! If only I’d known…

    A place to complain about Aleph and have people suggest ways around your problems sounds a very good idea.

  4. Pingback: Aleph shortcut keys template « Laura's Dark Archive

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