Discovery

The future of library Discovery services:
Ken Chad keynote at the EDS (Ebsco Discovery Services) conference at Regents University, London in July 2016.
He reviewed future trends for Google and enterprise search including factors such as voice (‘conversational’) search, the ‘ultimate assistant’, entities (‘things not strings’), visual search and the role of big data, context and intention. He then looked and some trends in library discovery services. There will continue to be a multiplicity of approaches open to users and Ken recommended that libraries do more to focus on the needs of users– the ‘jobs’ they were trying to do– in order to acquire and/or innovate new approaches to library discovery services.

Note:

Products available

To see what UK HE institutions are use for search and discovery see the page on LMS and related systems which includes a column for 'Search and Discovery interfaces'. It lists OPAC and Discovery products.

Some Discovery products are:-

Discovery products reviews


Discovery services White paper. Texas State Library & Archives Commission (Revised edition August 2015)
"This paper attempts to provide an overview of discovery services, including their advantages, disadvantages, limitations and best practices. In addition, a synopsis of the major discovery vendors is provided in Appendix A"

The Future of Library Resource Discovery: A white paper commissioned by the NISO Discovery to Delivery (D2D) Topic Committee
By Marshall Breeding February 2015
"This paper provides an overview of the current resource discovery environment and discusses some of the possibilities regarding how these technologies, methodologies, and products might be able to adapt to changes in the evolving information landscape in scholarly communications and to take advantage of new technologies, metadata models, or linking environments to better accomplish the needs of libraries to provide access to resources".

Discovery layers and discovery services: a review
Andrew Christison, LIS Systems Manager, Sheffield Hallam University
IN - Catalogue and Index.Periodical of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) Cataloguing and Indexing Group
March 2013, Issue 170

"Blacklight: a next-generation discovery interface". By Chris Awre, Head of Information Management, & Diane Leeson, Content and Access Team Leader, Information Management, Library and Learning Innovation, University of Hull
IN - Catalogue and Index.Periodical of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) Cataloguing and Indexing Group
March 2013, Issue 170

Investigations into Library Web-Scale Discovery Services, By Jason Vaughan. Information Technology and Libraries. March 2012. P32-82
ABSTRACT: Web-scale discovery services for libraries provide deep discovery to a library’s local and licensed content and represent an evolution—perhaps a revolution—for end-user information discovery as pertains to library collections. This article frames the topic of web-scale discovery and begins by illuminating web-scale discovery from an academic library’s perspective—that is, the internal perspective seeking widespread staff participation in the discovery conversation. This included the creation of the Discovery Task Force, a group that educated library staff, conducted internal staff surveys, and gathered observations from early adopters. The article next addresses the substantial research conducted with library vendors that have developed these services. Such work included drafting of multiple comprehensive question lists distributed to the vendors, onsite vendor visits, and continual tracking of service enhancements. Together, feedback gained from library staff, insights arrived at by the Discovery Task Force, and information gathered from vendors collectively informed the recommendation of a service for the UNLV (University of Nevada, Las Vegas) Libraries.

Library Technology Reports: January 2011 (47:1)
Jason Vaughn wrote a review of web-scale . He covered several commercial products in detail, including Summon, Primo Central, OCLC WorldCat Local, and EBSCO Discovery Service.

Ronda Rowe, Resource Acquisitions Coordinator University of Texas Libraries published two comparative reviews on web-scale discovery tools for The Charleston Advisor.
Web-Scale Discovery: A Review of Summon, EBSCO Discovery Service, and WorldCat Local
The Charleston Advisor, Volume 12, Number 1, July 2010 , pp. 5-10(6)

More on Web-Scale Discovery: A Review of Encore Synergy and Primo Central
The Charleston Advisor, Volume 12, Number 4, April 2011 , pp. 11-15(5)

Librarians from four different UK universities gave practical, pros-and-cons descriptions of how they implemented and are now running four different commercial next-gen resource-discovery tools
How commercial next-generation library discovery tools have *nearly* got it right'. by Paul Stainthorp Technology in the library blog 17th May 2011
  • Serials Solutions Summon (University of Huddersfield)
  • EBSCO Discovery Service (University of Liverpool)
  • Ex Libris Primo (University of Oxford – Bodleian Libraries)
  • OCLC WorldCat Local (York St John University)

Articles, reports,blogs and other resources


Discovery Tools, a Bibliography
"This bibliography aims to give a selected overview of what librarians have written or said about discovery tools"
As part of the Unified Resource Discovery Comparison wiki Aaron Tay (twitter @aarontay) curates a list of articles on discovery

The Future of Library Resource Discovery: A white paper commissioned by the NISO Discovery to Delivery (D2D) Topic Committee
By Marshall Breeding February 2015
"This paper provides an overview of the current resource discovery environment and discusses some of the possibilities regarding how these technologies, methodologies, and products might be able to adapt to changes in the evolving information landscape in scholarly communications and to take advantage of new technologies, metadata models, or linking environments to better accomplish the needs of libraries to provide access to resources".

**Discovery services: a white paper for the Texas State Library & Archives commission**
by Arta Kabashi, Christine Peterson, and Tim Prather. Amigos Library Services. August 2014
The Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) contracted with Amigos Library Services to write a white paper that would include basic information concerning discovery services, as well as an overview of the major discovery vendors.
It includes the following appendices
Appendix A: major vendors for discovery services
Appendix B: What to look for in a discovery service
Appendix C: Evaluating your discovery service
Appendix D: Bibliography

**Thinking the Unthinkable – Doing Away with the Library Catalogue** ( Free UKSG webinar June 2014 )
This webinar has now passed but the following resources are available
a link to a recording of the webinar
A PDF of the webinar's Q&As
Slides of the webinar. "Please use the correct attribution if you wish to use them". A PDF version is
An article "Doing away with the library catalogue | Simone Kortekaas and Bianca Kramer. Insights – 27(3), November 2014"

'Thinking the unthinkable - doing away with the library catalogue' By Simone Kortekaas Utrecht University. Plenary presentation at the 2014 UKSG conference (s.kortekaas@uu.nl @simonekortekaas)
"University libraries have lost their role in discovery.......they better focus on delivery" Simone discusses why the university has got rid of its discovery service and is retiring it library catalogue to better focus on improved *delivery* of resources

Top 5 problems with library websites – a review of recent usability studies
Emily Singley Usable Libraries Blog. 1st October 2014 @emilysingley
While this is about library websites and not narrowly Discovery systems it is a useful summary of usability issues
From the blog post:-
"What are the most common UX problems with academic library websites and library tools? I looked at 16 studies conducted over the past two years, and here is what I learned:
1. What does that mean? Library jargon.
This was by far the most cited problem, Not surprising, considering a recent review of library web sites that found only 49% to be jargon-free. Terms that were problematic:
  • Catalog or discovery tool: “catalog,” “COPAC,” “LINK+,” “Engine Orange”
  • Fulfillment: “Find It @ UIC”, “360Link”, “Get it,” “location”
  • Journal and database terminology: “Databases,” “Periodical,” “Serial”
  • Research links: “Research guides,” “Reference Sources,” “E-shelf,” “Collections”
  • Locations: “Course reserves,” “Reference”

2.What am I searching? Understanding search tools
In 7 of the studies, users did not understand what was included in search tools.
3.Where am I? Getting lost in silos
six studies found usability problems when users were transferred to external sites.
4. What is it? Understanding bibliographic formats and relationships
five studies found that students had difficulty understanding the relationship between “articles” and “journals”
5 How do I get it? Difficulty Finding Full-Text
five studies found that users had difficulty getting to resources
Where is it? Navigating with tabs
four studies noticed that users often did not see or use tabs in search tools and LibGuides

Open Discovery Initiative: Promoting Transparency in Discovery (NISO RP-19-2014) NISO June 2014
"... provides specific guidelines on participation in the new generation of library discovery services. The NISO Open Discovery Initiative (ODI) began work in 2011 to develop recommendations that would increase transparency across all aspects of indexed discovery services. The group’s final publication includes guidelines to content providers on disclosure of level of participation, the minimum set of metadata elements provided for indexing, linking practices, and technical formats. Recommendations for discovery service providers address content listings, linking practices, file formats and methods of transfer to be supported, and usage statistics. The document also provides background information on the evolution of discovery and delivery technology and a standard set of terminology and definitions for this technology area.
“An increasing number of libraries, especially those that serve academic or research institutions, have invested in the new generation of discovery services that use an aggregated central index to enable searching across a wide range of library related resources,” explains Marshall Breeding, an independent library consultant and Co-chair of the ODI Working Group. “These libraries expect their entire collection, including licensed and purchased electronic content, to be made available within their discovery service of choice. But it is often not clear which resources are available and which are indexed in full text, by citations only, or both. Libraries deserve a clear explanation of the degree of availability of the content they license in their discovery service—and they need usage statistics to help assess the effectiveness of their discovery tool.”
“Index-based discovery services involve a complex ecosystem of interrelating issues and interests among content providers, libraries, and discovery service creators,” states Jenny Walker, an independent publishing consultant and Co-chair of the ODI Working Group. “The ODI Working Group included participation and input from all three stakeholders in the development of these recommendations. These recommendations are intended to encourage participation by the content providers in providing their content for indexing, transparency for libraries with regard to the level of indexing for different collections in the discovery services, and implementation of best practice by the discovery services regarding unbiased linking to source material, the neutrality of algorithms for generating result sets, relevance rankings, and link order.”
“NISO and the ODI Working Group intend to support the Recommended Practice with follow-up efforts,” states Todd Carpenter, NISO Executive Director. “Areas of further investigation potentially include collaborative discussion mechanisms, discovery of content via application programming interfaces, handling of restricted content, on-demand lookup, and interaction with COUNTER about usage statistics related to discovery services.”


Impact of library discovery technologies. A report for UKSG. By Valérie Spezi, Claire Creaser. LISU. Loughborough University. November 2013
From the report :
RDS is becoming a major element of the academic library landscape, with 77% of survey respondents having already implemented an RDS at their institution, and a further 11% in the process of doing so, at the time of the survey.Summon, Primo and EDS are the most frequently used, together accounting for over 76% of systems in use."
Libraries
•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 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.
•Only half of the libraries in the survey felt that the content covered in the RDS was
provided on a neutral basis but the libraries in the case studies did not rate this as a
major concern. Vendor rivalries and concerns over data control are seenas unhelpful by libraries and publishers.
•Libraries do not routinely analyse the usage of RDS

Publishers and content providers
•Visibility of content is a key motivation for publishers to engage with RDS. While libraries generally see an increase in journal downloads following implementation of RDS, the picture for individual publishers is more mixed. Smaller publishers may benefit more from RDS than bigger publishers.
•Some publishers need to do some work to ensure their data are compatible with and optimised for RDS
•Publishers have concerns that they are not being well served by RDS providers who are
primarily concerned with their library customers
•Publishers and content providers have no evidence as to whether their usage has been
affected by RDS–traffic from RDS seems to remain very low and publishers and content providers cannot always tell from their analytics whether traffic to their site is mediated via an RDS.
•The impact of RDS is diluted by the use of Web-search engines (on a sector-wide scale)The research found that there is a case for libraries to invest in library discovery technologies, despite some limitations on their ability to exploit the full benefits of discovery technologies. It was also found that there is a case for publishers and others in the academic information chain supply to engage with discovery technologies. To this end, a set of recommendations for the various stakeholder groups has been drawn to best support and advance the discovery of academic information

'Is Summon alone good enough for systematic reviews? Some thoughts'. By Aaron Tay. Musing about Librarianship blog.10 November 2013
This blog pots is some considerations following on from his reading of the recent paper "Google Scholar as replacement for systematic literature searches: good relative recall and precision are not enough" by Martin Boeker, Werner Vach and Edith Motschall.

He notes: "Read these speculations with caution, actual tests needs to be done. After posting this speculations, I did a couple of actual tests duplicating the *exact* limited searches done for Google Scholar but in Summon, and the results in a few examples (not all) exploded even with restrictions to journal articles + limited disciplines (e.g Medicine), so precision with Summon might even be *worse* than Google Scholar with the very same search statement!
In other cases, Summon yielded less results than Google Scholar with the exact same search statement but at a big decrease in recall.
Attempts to use the more advanced search features in Summon to include wildcards and longer search statements not possible in Google Scholar, actually exploded the search even further".

8 things we know about web scale discovery systems in 2013. By Aaron Tay. Musings about librarianship [blog] 15 June 15, 2013.
From the blog post:-
1. Web Scale Discovery Services increase accessibility of eresources and will definitely on the whole increase full-text downloads
2. Undergraduates generally love discovery services
3. Librarians reactions towards discovery services are mixed at best.
4. Advanced searchers generally mirror the attitudes of librarians and are not as satisfied
5. Relevancy ranking can still be improved
6. Adding Federated search does not add much to web scale discovery (currently)
7. Content providers are generally eager to cooperate with discovery vendors to have their content indexed.
8. Problems of broken links are still an issue though the problem is less serious and likely to be so in future

Random musing on the ‘headless library’ and other search trends' By Ed Chamberlain.( @edchamberlain)
Ed's blog 16 July 2013
From the blog post:
Running and improving library search services has been the core of my job for the past few years, but recently I’ve been involved in discussions on search with colleagues from a non-library background. I’ve spent time explaining (often seemingly justifying) why we’ve taken the routes we have.
I can understand their point of view. For those not familiar with the way libraries work, search is a ubiquitous commodity and normally done via Google, Wikipedia and Facebook. We’ve developed our own parallel sets of data standards, tools and approaches to the rest of the world and are involved in something of a course correction.
Why do we need to be different, and if we don’t, what does it mean for us?

Trends in, and reflections on, library discovery services’. Keynote from at the February 2013 JIBS event: ‘New dawn: the changing resource discovery landscape’. The presentation looks at technology trends and how they might impact library discovery services, the future of search generally and some significant library discovery related initiatives

'When Worlds collide. Metasearching meets local indexes' by Mike Taylor of Indexdata

Online Catalogue and Repository Interoperability Study (OCRIS) September 2009
The harmonisation of metadata (e.g. variant forms of names or subject descriptors) across a diverse range of resources may also cause problems. Some of the issues were described and analysed in the JISC

'The Next Generation of Discovery The stage is set for a simpler search for users, but choosing a product is much more complex.' By Judy Luther & Maureen C. Kelly Library Journal. 15th March 2011. Short extract below......
'A casual Google search may well be good enough for a daily task. But if you are a college student conducting his or her first search for peer-reviewed content, or an established scholar taking up a new line of inquiry, then the stakes are a lot higher. The challenge for academic libraries, caught in the seismic shift from print to electronic resources, is to offer an experience that has the simplicity of Google—which users expect—while searching the library’s rich digital and print collections—which users need. Increasingly, they are turning to a new generation of search tools, called discovery, for help'

Discovery initiatives


NISO Open Discovery initiative

'The Open Discovery Initiative (ODI) aims at defining standards and/or best practices for the new generation of library discovery services that are based on indexed search. These discovery services are primarily based upon indexes derived from journals, ebooks and other electronic information of a scholarly nature. The content comes from a range of information providers and products--commercial, open access, institutional, etc. Given the growing interest and activity in the interactions between information providers and discovery services, this group is interested in establishing a more standard set of practices for the ways that content is represented in discovery services and for the interactions between the creators of these services and the information providers whose resources they represent.' The ODI working group was formed in late 2011 and held its first meeting in January 2012.

'NISO Launches Open Discovery Initiative. By Marshall Breeding Information Today. 17 November 2011
From the article:
'The Concept of Index-based Search
The basic model of these index-based discovery products involves three major types of participants: those that develop and support the discovery products, the publishers and providers of content products, and the libraries that purchase and implement them. Of course, library patrons represent another set of stakeholders as the ultimate end users of these discovery services.
As these index-based search products become strategic tools in which libraries make major investments, it is important to identify best practices and develop appropriate standards. The Open Discovery Initiative addresses several areas of interest in the arena of index-based discovery tools, including transparency of the content of the indexes, consistent terms and vocabularies, and standard mechanisms for transferring content from publishers to discovery service providers.

For example, one area of interest would be providing consistent vocabulary and terms to help libraries evaluate the quality and quantity of the indexes that underlie each discovery service. The effectiveness of these discovery products depends on how fully they index the materials represented in the library’s subscriptions to content products. It is also important to have consistent ways to express whether the indexing of any given resource is based on citation metadata or whether it also indexes the full text of the materials and the frequency of updates. Clarity and transparency in this area should put libraries in a stronger position to make valid comparisons among the discovery products relative to their potential search performance for their collections. Some of the vendors have already begun publishing detailed reports disclosing the materials represented in their indexes. (See, for example, www.serialssolutions.com/discovery/summon/content-and-coverage/ or www.oclc.org/worldcatlocal/overview/content/)'

UK Discovery

In May 2011 the Discovery initiative was launched. It 'will help to mobilise and energise the community, engaging stakeholders to create a critical mass of open and reusable data, and explore what open data makes possible through real-world exemplars and case studies' . Discovery is advocating the adoption of open metadata for the furtherance of scholarship and innovation. That's an important business case for UK plc – but what could that mean for individual cultural and educational institutions and agencies? Is there a local business case for open data?

//Discovery// Open Metadata principles

The Discovery principles, launched by the Resource Discovery Task Force on 26 May 2011, propose that 'Open metadata creates the opportunity for enhancing impact through the release of descriptive data about library, archival and museum resources. It allows such data to be made freely available and innovatively reused to serve researchers, teachers, students, service providers and the wider community in the UK and internationally.'

Resource Discovery Taskforce (RDTF)

The JISC and RLUK Resource Discovery Taskforce was formed to focus on defining the requirements for the provision of a shared UK resource discovery infrastructure for libraries, archives, museums and related resources to support education and research. The taskforce focused on metadata that can assist in access to resources, with a special reference to serials, books, archives/special collections and museum collections.
RDTF Vision
The taskforce vision is 'UK researchers and students will have easy, flexible and ongoing access to content and
services through a collaborative, aggregated and integrated resource discovery and delivery framework which is comprehensive, open and sustainable' The vision addresses the following JISC strategic objectives:
  • Provide cost-effective and sustainable shared national services and resources
  • Help institutions to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their corporate and business systems
  • Help institutions to improve the quality of learning and teaching and the student experience
  • Help institutions to improve the quality, impact and productivity of academic research