Interest began late 2008. Discovery Services, led by SerialsSolutions, was in full swing with beta sites rolled out in that time period. ASU considered Summon along with services provided by III and Ex-Libris.
ASU’s emphasis since 2008 has been to outsource server services to private companies.
With Google—and unlike federated search—Summon exhibits quick retrieval times. Results display almost immediately.
Having worked with Serialssolutions on A-Z and marc products, ASU was familiar with their client center approach and staff.
Serialssolutions is a leader in “backend” data services. Proquest has deep pockets. Perfect combination.
ASU was challenged about what to name the service and where to place it on our “portal.” Summon is a powerful tool—bringing a Google like search to library resources, but how to convey this simply? After trying out various names and icons, we settled on Library One Search. Original icon included a book but that was dropped to allow a more general scope of what was searched.
Location was a key issue. Most library portals—as did ours—prominently featured the online catalog as a distinctive search feature. By substituting Library One Search were we emphasizing multi-database search at the expensive of the catalog? However Summon does integrate marc record searching with meta-data from key resources so the “what it does” aspect seemed a distinct advantage we wanted to explore.
What it doesn’t do—this is, of course a key concern among librarians especially those teaching Library One. Most feel uninformed about what content it indexes. Librarians think in terms of “databases”. Discovery Services thinks in terms of subscribed content and its meta-data. They aren’t, as far as we know, a tight fit.
Faculty complain that it isn’t a specific enough tool and generally returns to many irrelevant citations. No one argues, though, that it returns some fast, great results for certain types of searches but it is anyone’s guess if there is a predicatble pattern. This unpredicatability with results fits well into undergraduate requirements for a few articles about something. It “satisfices”.
Just Right: haven’t met any user who hasn’t gotten search value out of Library One Search. Searching from a unified index of prominent content returns great results—some of the time for the right search by the right user. For the scholar, though, it returns too much that is not relevant to their specific subject or field. At times this can be a perfect storm of not getting enough of what is probably there.
Most librarians feel it is a great tool to get a few quick articles. All like that book records pop up in early results—helps book use. Teaches easily to undergraduates at lower level but this ease lessens when upper levels and grads involved. They require subject specific finding tools pointing to relevant content in their fields.
Link resolver is key to brining our content to what is found in any search. When the link resolver doesn’t work or is confusing then problems arise that lower overall quality and perception of quality of library services in general and the search engine in particular.
Mobile app development—accessing library materials from smartphones—is rapidly evolving. A powerful yet simple “one search” is key to consolidating an important search function on mobile scale.
Summon at ASU: The Library One Search Experience by Dennis Brunning, Arizona State University
Arizona State University
Summon at ASU: The Library One
Why Discovery Services?
Students wanted easier library search
Administrators wanted library search integrated into
student web site
Librarians always want what users want…