Web-Scale Discovery in an Academic Medical Library: Our Experience with EBSCO's Discovery Service

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Web-Scale Discovery in an Academic Medical Library: Our Experience with EBSCO's Discovery Service

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Title: Web-Scale Discovery in an Academic Medical Library: Our Experience with EBSCO's Discovery Service
Author: Thompson, JoLinda L.; Obrig, Kathe S.; Abate, Laura
Abstract: Objectives: To determine if a highly tailored version of EBSCO's Discovery Service (EDS) aimed at an academic health sciences audience will be an appealing and effective tool for searching the library's collections and to compare its use to that of the current federated search tool. Methods: Funds made available at the close of the 2010/11 fiscal year allowed purchase of EDS for a year-long trial. The appeal of this web-scale discovery product that offers a Google-like interface to library resources is counter-balanced by concerns about quality of search results in a medical setting and the challenges of configuring an interface that will serve the needs of a diverse group of library users. After initial configuration, library staff members tested the system internally. A focus group was held at conclusion of the internal trial period to identify issues and elicit feedback. The focus group participants determined that usability testing with library users should be done before moving forward with rollout to the user base. Usability testing with users representing the broad spectrum of students, staff, and faculty was conducted. Results: Usability tests showed that EDS needs further work before being ready for release to library users. Of greatest concern are continuing issues, identified by user searches, with the relevance of items retrieved. Additional changes to the interface are in progress in the library or submitted to EBSCO as enhancement requests, including a more prominent English language limiter, a facet for medical reviews, reduction of subject facets offered to one, and removal of other facets that are irrelevant in a medical setting. User difficulties with navigating the interface are being addressed whenever possible to improve the search experience. Users indicated they preferred EDS over federated searching. EBSCO has worked with the library to better understand and identify problems and solutions. External roll-out to users is planned when outstanding issues have been satisfactorily addressed for effective use in a health sciences environment.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1961/10413
Date: 2012-05-19

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