Thursday, December 19, 2013

UK Report on Web-Scale Resource Discovery Tools

The information research organization UKSG, in cooperation with Loughborough University and Birmingham City University, has published a study that assesses the Impact of library discovery technologies in academic libraries. These technologies are also called web-scale discovery tools.

These tools allow users to search all of a library's offerings (databases,catalogue, dissertations, institutional repositories, e-book subscriptions) through a single interface and via a preharvested central index.

Among the findings of the study:
  • Increased usage is not the primary motivation for moving to a discovery technology – libraries are more concerned with user experience and providing a single search interface linked to full text. Undergraduate students are seen as the primary users and beneficiaries of library discovery technologies. 
  • RDS (reseource discovery services) appears to influence content usage, most visibly for e-books. The impact varies by resource, and across libraries. 
  • Library perceptions of increased usage following RDS implementation are borne out by the usage data. E-book usage appears to have accelerated in the case study libraries following RDS implementation, while e-journal usage have increased just a little or decreased in some instances. 
  • Database searches can be affected by how the RDS interacts with the multiple databases on some provider platforms, artificially increasing the apparent number of searches recorded. Database results were inconclusive, although there is some indication that the number of searches of some publisher’s databases may have fallen following RDS implementation. 
  • Other factors affecting usage include the link resolver and the options selected when libraries implement the RDS, increase in the volume of subscriptions, growing appetite for electronic content, particularly e-books, promotion of electronic content by libraries and academics, e.g. via reading lists etc. 
  • High levels of library satisfaction with RDS were reported in the survey and in the case studies. Similarly, user feedback is generally very positive. 
  • Libraries are unable to see how well their resources match the RDS index, although they believe the match to be 50% or more. There are gaps in the coverage of some collections, particularly Law, owing to the fact that the main publishers and content providers in this discipline do not contribute metadata.
Earlier Library Boy posts on the topic include:
  • Electronic Resources and Libraries Conference - Web Scale Discovery (March 3, 2011): "...another big theme that emerged at the conference is what is called 'web scale discovery' or WSD (...) Basically, WSD tools claim to offer a unified search of all of a library's offerings through a single interface. Contrary to federated search, WSD tools are based on a pre-harvested centralized unified index of an institution's licensed and local collections. Services such as Serials Solutions Summon, WorldCat Local, Primo Central or EBSCO Discovery pre-index material from subscription databases, library holdings, dissertations, institutional repositories, e-book subscriptions, etc. to allow fast, simultaneous searching. We briefly looked into WSD at my place of work but decided not to pursue things further for a few reasons. In particular, not all vendors of legal research materials play along and will allow their content and metadata to be harvested into a unified index. And these tend to be relatively expensive products."
  • OCLC Report on Single Search: The Quest for the Holy Grail (August 23, 2011): "The prominence of multidisciplinary research, the increase in the use of primary materials, and the desire to make new connections across disparate materials all would be advanced by the offering of single search to open up all the collections to the researcher (...) OCLC Research facilitated the working group of nine single search implementers through discussions about the opportunities for, and obstacles to, integrated access across an institution. They told their stories, categorized a list of issues, and created and answered a questionnaire looking for similarities and differences in their approaches. This brief report summarizes those discussions and highlights emerging practices in providing access to LAM [libraries, archives and museums] collections, with a particular emphasis on successful strategies in the quest for single search."
  • AALL Spectrum Article on Discovery Tools in Law Libraries (November 30, 2011): "The most recent issue of the AALL Spectrum, a monthly publication of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL), has an article on Discovery Layers in Law Libraries - A progress report on how our institutions are implementing this new technology (...) The author ... ran into some of the same problems we did at my place of work when we looked into discovery tools: 'Most concerning are the restrictive and expensive licensing policies of the largest legal information publishers [i.e. Westlaw and Lexis - my note], whose materials are by and large unrepresented in discovery layer systems because of these restrictions. What is the benefit of marketing such a tool to our students and faculty if their most vital sources of information are nowhere to be found in the system?' "
  • Evaluation of Single Search Implementation at North Carolina State University (January 10, 2012): "Academic libraries are turning increasingly to unified search solutions to simplify search and discovery of library resources. Unfortunately, very little research has been published on library user search behavior in single search box environments. This study examines how users search a large public university library using a prominent, single search box on the library website. The article examines two semesters of real-world data, totaling nearly 1.4 million transactions. Findings include that unified library search is about more than the catalog and articles, though these predominate. Additionally, a small number of the most popular search queries accounts for a disproportionate amount of the overall queries."
  • Evaluating Web-Scale Discovery Services (April 30, 2012): "The April 2012 issue of Computers in Libraries features an article by Athena Hoeppner on The Ins and Outs of Evaluating Web-Scale Discovery Services. Hoeppner is the electronic resources librarian at the University of Central Florida: (...) Librarians around the world are trying to learn what these services are and how they work, evaluating the services on the market, selecting and implementing a service, and then teaching colleagues and patrons all about it. (...) Based on my investigations, this article explains WSD concepts and terminology, shares findings from my interviews with major WSD vendors, and provides a template checklist, which librarians can use during their own exploration of these systems (...)"

Labels: , , ,

Bookmark and Share Subscribe
posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:49 pm

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home