Working out the Future of Library Resource Discovery

Marshal Breeding, Website, @mbreeding


Online Catalog– part of ILS

  • Scope of search: books, journals, and media at the title level
  • Not in scope: articles, book chapters, digital objects

Next-gen Catalogs or Discovery Interface

  • single search box
  • query tools: did you mean; type-ahead
  • relevance ranked results
  • faceted navigation
  • enhanced visual displays (cover art; summaries, reviews)
  • Recommendation services
  • Scope of search: books, journals, and media at title level; other local and open access content
  • not in scope: articles, book chapters, digital objects
  • there are different needs bw academic discovery & public library discovery

Discovery interface search mode (metasearch/federated search)

  • Search results made up of:
  • Local index: ILS Data & Digital Collections
  • MetaSearch Engine: ProQuest; EBSCOhost; MLA bibliography; ABC-CLIO
  • Real-time query & responses (although not always timely, not organized the same way; irregular query speed)

Web-scale index-based discovery (2009-present)

  • Search box
  • Search Results: usage-generated data & customer profile
  • Consolidated Index made up of:
    • ILS Data
    • Digital Collections
    • Web Site Content
    • LibGuides
    • Institutional Repositories
    • Aggregated Content packages
    • Open Access
    • Ejournals
    • References sources & indexing
  • Pre-built harvesting and indexing
  • Ebsco EDS, Summon from Proquest, Primo from ExLibris, Worldcat
  • Have single search box that provides user access to everything the library is providing to them; complications: relevancy issues, weighting issues, content provided by vendors represented evenly
  • Gone from 10s of millions of things to billions of things
  • More complex relationships: Companies can be both content providers and discovery service providers…

Evaluating the performance of index-based discovery services

  • intense competition: how well the index covers the body of scholarly content stands as a key differentiator
  • difficult to evaluate based on numbers of items indexed alone
  • impt to ascertain how your library’s content packages are represented by the discovery service
  • impt to know what items are indexed by citation, which are full text, and how A&I (article & abstract) content is handled

ODI Recommended Practices: &

Discovery Paper:

Library Perspective

  • Strategic investments in subscriptions
  • Strategic investments in Discovery Solutions to provide access to their collections
  • Expect comprehensive representation of resources in discovery indexes
  • Need to be able to evaluate the coverage & performance of competing index-based discovery products

Values & Economy

  • Ever increasing costs of content exert pressure on budgets and demand more effective discovery and more efficient management

Role of the library in discovery

  • Acquisition and management of resources
  • Integrate content into campus enterprise infrastructure and information architecture
  • Provide general & specialized interfaces
  • Participate in production & publication
  • Participate more deeply in research process
  • Manage content on behalf of the institution in ways that optimize access & discovery

Bento Box Discovery Model — VuFind/Blacklight/Encore/Enterprise

  • ILS Data
  • Web Site Content
  • Digital Collections
  • Institutional Repositories
  • Consolidated Index: Aggregated content packages; open access; e-journals

State of Discovery indexes

  • very strong coverage of primary publishers of scholarly material (esp English & other Western languages)
  • Weaker coverage of scholarly content in other international regions (Asian languages, Arabic, etc.)
  • Mixed coverage of A&I resources
  • Mixed converge of non-textual resources

Some Key Areas for Publishers

  • Expose content appropriately
  • Trust that access to material will be controlled consistent with subscription terms
  • “Fair” Linking
  • Materials not disadvantaged or underrepresented in library discovery implementations
  • Usage reporting

Representation of A&I

  • Impt to understand how a discovery service incorporates A&I resources

Challenges for Relevancy

  • Technically feasible to index hundreds of millions or billions of records through Lucene or SOLR
  • Difficult to order records in ways that make sense
  • Expectation that relevancy be neutral relative to content source or publisher
  • Many fairly equivalent candidates returned for any given query
  • Must rely on use-based and social factors to improve relevancy rankings

Socially-powered discovery? 

Externalizing functionality

  • Provide tools & widgets in course management platforms
  • Reading list management
  • Improving presentation via mobile devices

Open access content

  • only a minority of scholarly resources available through open access licenses
  • difficult to id open access versions available

Interoperability of Discovery Services and Management Platforms

Opps for enhancements (maybe shorter term approach, than longer term approach)

  • improved delivery of APIs
  • more coherent ecosystem of APIs among discovery services and with resource management systems
  • social features & scholarly collaboration
  • address research data
  • spec collections & archival materials: hierarchical discovery & browsing
  • Expanded Analytics & Altmetrics

Which discovery system? It’s about assessing and evaluating & matching products to requirements & needs and preferences of your library.