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Tag Archives: Discovery tools
Primo vs. Summon vs. EBSCO Discovery Service
We watched a video from Ex Libris about Primo, a web-scale discovery tool that CUNY is working on a licensing for all of the CUNY libraries. We compared the interface with that of Summon (Bearcat Search) and with a trial we have from EBSCO of EBSCO Discovery Service.
We next looked at the nearly content-free video from Ex Libris about Alma, the company’s uniform resource management system (actual details of the system can be found on the Ex Libris site). Boston College is the first Alma customer to go live (details in this Digital Shift article from Library Journal).
As a group, we thought it would interesting to poke around in the PolicyMap database we have a trial for (a link to it can be found on the “Trials” tab on the Databases page).
I’m not sure sure if there’s a name for these homegrown federated search services that let a library offer a single search box that serves up search results bento-box style from the catalog, a discovery tool, the library website, etc. The libraries at the University of Michigan and North Carolina State University have had such search tools for a while; now it looks like Columbia University is testing one out, too: CLIO Beta.
Announcing CLIO Beta (video intro)
For the “Articles” search piece, it looks like Columbia is using the API from their Summon subscription. For the “Catalog” search and the “Academic Commons” (the institutional repository) search pieces, they seem to be using Blacklight, an open source discovery layer developed by the University of Virginia.
I’m intrigued by libraries that are trying to find creative ways to cut down on the number of places users have to go to search for information. First, we had federated search tools that sent out searches to a bunch of places and aggregated the results; now we’re seeing discovery layers (like Summon, Primo, EBSCO Discovery, WorldCat Local, VuFind, Project Blacklight, etc.) that aggregate content into a single index and offer search results more quickly than federated search typically can. Still, these new discovery layers may not be the ideal search tool for every silo the library owns or licenses.
Our students, trained by Google to look for a single search box to rule them all, are probably looking for unified search tools on our site. While discovery layers are great and all the rage now, it seems like some libraries have accepted that discovery layers may not be the ideal solution for searching all the silos or presenting results from those silos. If you take a look at what the libraries at North Carolina State University have done, you’ll see that the “Search All” box on the library home page presents results from different silos and spreads those results out on the search results page into different clusters. Check out what happens if you do a search there for “market share.” Notice the way that the articles are presented via the discovery tool (Summon), the books via the catalog, and other categories of content via other search tools:
This federated “search all” feature on the NCSU libraries web site actually pulls together a number of different search tools, which are explained more fully elsewhere on the site.
Librarians at the Leddy Library at the University of Windsor are at work now on a tool called Jamun that does something similar: it gives the user a single search box that will do a federated search across several different silos and present those results spread across the page in different categories. This project is being built using a Google Custom Search engine. You can learn more about it from the video recording the presentation about it at the recent Code4Lib North event and by checking out Mita Williams’ blog post about it (which includes an embedded slidecast) and Art Rhyno’s blog post from April.
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/aZGqCFSZGAg" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
Robert Drzewicki, Stephen Francoeur, Gerry Jiao, Ellen Kaufman, Louise Klusek, Wilcina Longdon, Jin Ma, Kannan Mohan, Ryan Phillips, Linda Rath, Mike Waldman
Database Trial Reviews
We discussed briefly the pros and cons of writing up reviews of database trials on the reference blog and the library’s internal mailing list.
Bike Route Maps and Directions
In celebration of Bike to Work day, we looked at a number of options for finding bike route maps and directions:
- maps can be downloaded and added to Google Earth
- recently added biking directions
- it would be nice if the maps displayed info from Twitter feed for different bridges in NYC
- missing some of the human element (insider knowledge about safest, easiest routes, etc.)
Call Numbers in Catalogs and Library Floorplans
We tried in vain to recall what library has a catalog that lets you click on a call number in the catalog to show you the location of that item on a floorplan. As we tried to remember which library has this feature in its catalog, we looked at the catalog from the library at the University of Huddersfield (UK), which offers on the item record a visual shelf browse feature, a QR code for the book (which probably leads to the permalink for the item), and circulation stats for that item (see for example this record for The Iliad of Homer).
At the recent OpenSciNY conference at the Bobst Library at NYU, a group of librarians, scientists, and publishers got together to talk about open access publishing, open source software, and opens notebook science. Among the more interesting things talked about were:
- Flickr and Astrometry.net: amateur astronomers are uploading images they’ve taken with their telescopes to Flickr. One of the presenters at OpenSciNY, David Hogg, worked with some colleagues to put together a service that uses the Flickr API to identify any images that have been recently tagged with “astrometry.” Once tagged in this way, an image on Flickr will be analzyed by the Astrometry service and a comment appended to the image that details the celestial objects visible in the image (see this one from Flickr as an example)
- ChemSpider: Antony Williams from the Royal Society of Chemistry talked about the problem of finding reliable and comprehensive information on chemical structures on the web. ChemSpider describes itself as a “chemistry search engine” that “has been built with the intention of aggregating and indexing chemical structures and their associated information into a single searchable repository and make it available to everybody, at no charge.”
Substitute for EtherPad
EtherPad, a recently shuttered free service that allowed for collaborative editing of documents, released its source code, thereby allowing a number of clone services to be created. One such service is Sync.in
We talked a while about the difference between discovery tools (like Summon and EBSCO Discovery Service) and federated search tools (like 360 Search, which we use for our own Bearcat Search). It was noted that with the new discovery tools, the thing that takes the longest to set up is getting your catalog records into the system. What makes a discovery tool different from a federated search one is:
- With a discovery tool, you are searching one, centralized index of records that the vendor has assembled; with federated search, your query is being transmitted simultaneously to all the vendors that you can connected to your fed search tool. Search results are returned faster in discovery tools because of this difference.
- The vendor of a discovery tool can normalize all the data stored in its index, making results more consistent (and helping to speed up the delivery of search results) and manipulable (the facetting of results works better in discovery tools).
We wondered if many faculty outside the library use Bearcat as a means to identifying databases that were previously unknown to them but might be useful for their research needs.
We might have demos of two different ERM (electronic resource management) products this June.
Citation Management Tools
We wondered to what extent faculty and students are aware of and maybe use citation management options available to them: