David Walker<br />California State University<br />From metasearch to metaservices<br />
Introduction<br />Part philosophy<br />What are we trying to do w/ metasearch?<br />Where are the problems?<br />How might...
Rethinking metasearch?<br />We’ve been at it long enough now<br />Google Scholar<br />Newer systems<br />Next-generation c...
New metasearch models<br />Metalib X-Server<br />Design your own interface<br />Incorporate other systems and data<br />Ex...
Xerxes<br />PHP /  XSLT / MySQL<br />DB<br />X-Server<br />Metalib<br />KB<br />
What are we trying to accomplish?<br />“We offer a fragmented set of systems to search for published information . . . eac...
Overview of the literature<br />1990-1999<br />“Is There a Chance for a Standardized User Interface?” –Fletcher<br />2000-...
Overview of the literature<br />2004-2008<br />“Is Metasearching Dead?” –Tennant<br />“Metasearching: Not as Good as We&ap...
Arguing about metasearch<br />“[C]ross-database search tools . . . are the correct solution for unifying access to a varie...
Arguing about metasearch<br />Broadcast argument (pro)<br />“You can search multiple databases simultaneously!”<br />Nativ...
Isn’t it ironic?<br />Some librarians dislike metasearch because it is too much like Google; othersbecause it is not enoug...
Usage statistics<br />SFX as a proxy measure?<br />Query # 2: Requests by source (SID)<br />Not all databases or clicks<br...
Usage statistics<br />Fullerton<br />Native: 297,602  (54%)<br />Xerxes: 252,238  (45%)<br />Google: 5,340         (1%)<br...
Native: 22,654   (48%)
Xerxes: 22,275    (48%)
Google: 1,944       (4%)</li></ul>Native:  416,141 	52%<br />Xerxes:  367,047 	46%<br />Google: 20,98	   3%<br />
Isn’t it ironic?<br />Usage of Google Scholar may depend in large part on whether librarians promote it or not!<br />
Usability studies<br />Universities<br />Boston College –BYU – Carnegie Mellon – Maryland – Mississippi – Northwestern – O...
Usability studies<br />70% of the students in BYU study preferred metasearch over native interfaces<br />“[B]oth [metasear...
On search times<br />“Eight [out of 18] students measured the speed of the search processing as reasonable and only five f...
On the interface<br />“I found that both were not very user friendly.” – BYU  Student<br />“[Non-federated search] lent it...
Broadening our goals<br />“[T]he point of federated searching is to make searching as simple as possible” –Cervone<br />Is...
Selecting the right resources<br />“Nothing slows the user&apos;s scanning momentum more than encountering results that ar...
Selecting the right resources<br />Why not search everything?<br />Impractical technically<br />Impractical presentational...
Once you start down the Quick Search path, forever will it dominate your destiny.<br />
Desperately seeking search box<br />“I just want a search box on the homepage.” 					– Your users<br />First Rule of Usabi...
Desperately seeking search box<br />“[T]here is something inherent in the site&apos;s design that causes users to choose t...
Isn’t it ironic?<br />The search box dominates the opening screens, then disappears!<br />
Changing queries<br />“Nearly all students repeated their searches, changing terms or subject categories, so the interface...
Services for results<br />Spell check<br />Peer reviewed flag<br />Full-text look-up<br />Full-text linking<br />Format<br...
Avoid pogosticking<br />“66% of purchases on [e-commerce] sites happened without any pogosticking . . . the more [users] p...
Services with results<br />Save and export<br />Citation formatting<br />Tagging, editing, and sharing<br />Expert researc...
Going back to search<br />Problems with broadcast searching<br />Slow, dropped connections<br />Lowest-common denominator ...
Metasearch<br />Not all targets are created equal<br />
Not all targets are created equal<br />Metasearch<br />
Problems searching the catalog<br />Z39.50 searching not great<br />Limited search options<br />Browse searching not inher...
WorldCat and Ebsco APIs<br />WorldCat API<br />Free (to OCLC members) web service to WorldCat<br />Just ended pilot phase<...
A-9 style Search Results Page<br />Catalog(s)<br />Acad Search<br />Metalib<br />
A-9 style Psychology Search Results Page<br />Catalog(s)<br />PsycInfo<br />Metalib<br />
Hybrid<br />System<br />Metasearch<br />Other databases<br />Catalog<br />Main database<br />
From the catalog out?<br />Endecca<br />VUFind<br />Primo<br />Encore<br />WorldCat Local<br />
Todd Miller, Webfeat<br />
Library portal?<br />Metalib not flexible enough<br />Interface<br />Adding functionality<br />Integrating with other syst...
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From metasearch to metaservices

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Rethinking the goals and benefits of federated search

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From metasearch to metaservices

  1. 1. David Walker<br />California State University<br />From metasearch to metaservices<br />
  2. 2. Introduction<br />Part philosophy<br />What are we trying to do w/ metasearch?<br />Where are the problems?<br />How might we do it better?<br />Part practical<br />Waxing philosophical is not enough!<br />What can we do now with the tech we have?<br />
  3. 3. Rethinking metasearch?<br />We’ve been at it long enough now<br />Google Scholar<br />Newer systems<br />Next-generation catalogs? <br />Enterprise search? <br />Discovery layers?<br />
  4. 4. New metasearch models<br />Metalib X-Server<br />Design your own interface<br />Incorporate other systems and data<br />Experiment!<br />Xerxes Project<br />Developed by CSU and John Hopkins<br />Implemented at 20+ universities<br />
  5. 5. Xerxes<br />PHP / XSLT / MySQL<br />DB<br />X-Server<br />Metalib<br />KB<br />
  6. 6. What are we trying to accomplish?<br />“We offer a fragmented set of systems to search for published information . . . each with very different tools for identifying and obtaining materials. For the user, these distinctions are arbitrary.” – UC Bib Serv Taskforce<br />
  7. 7. Overview of the literature<br />1990-1999<br />“Is There a Chance for a Standardized User Interface?” –Fletcher<br />2000-2004<br />“Trumping Google? . . .” –Luther<br />“Talking about a Revolution? . . . ” –Nicholas<br />“The Answer to all of our Problems? . . .” –Groenewegen<br />“The Right Solution . . .” –Tennant<br />
  8. 8. Overview of the literature<br />2004-2008<br />“Is Metasearching Dead?” –Tennant<br />“Metasearching: Not as Good as We&apos;d Like It” –NLAQ<br />“Why Librarians Hate Metasearch” –McHale<br />“Plotting a New Course for Metasearch” –Breeding<br />
  9. 9. Arguing about metasearch<br />“[C]ross-database search tools . . . are the correct solution for unifying access to a variety of information resources.” –Roy Tennant<br />“Metasearching, then, is a step backward, a way of avoiding the learning process.” – William Frost<br />“[M]etasearch … cannot stand up to search systems based on centralized indexes” –Marshall Breeding<br />“Part of me keeps hoping [metasearch] will go away, but nope, it&apos;s still there.” – Andrew Pace<br />
  10. 10. Arguing about metasearch<br />Broadcast argument (pro)<br />“You can search multiple databases simultaneously!”<br />Nativist argument (anti)<br />“The search is not advanced enough!”<br />Immature technology argument (anti)<br />“The search is too slow!”<br />“Google Scholar is faster!”<br />
  11. 11. Isn’t it ironic?<br />Some librarians dislike metasearch because it is too much like Google; othersbecause it is not enough like Google.<br />
  12. 12. Usage statistics<br />SFX as a proxy measure?<br />Query # 2: Requests by source (SID)<br />Not all databases or clicks<br />Apples-to-apples comparison<br />Example Cal State campuses<br />Cal State Fullerton – general – 38,000 students<br />Cal Poly – science + engineering – 20,000 students<br />Sonoma State – liberal arts – 8,500 students<br />
  13. 13. Usage statistics<br />Fullerton<br />Native: 297,602 (54%)<br />Xerxes: 252,238 (45%)<br />Google: 5,340 (1%)<br />Cal Poly<br />Native: 95,885 (47%)<br />Xerxes: 92,534 (46%)<br />Google: 13,697 (7%)<br /><ul><li>Sonoma
  14. 14. Native: 22,654 (48%)
  15. 15. Xerxes: 22,275 (48%)
  16. 16. Google: 1,944 (4%)</li></ul>Native: 416,141 52%<br />Xerxes: 367,047 46%<br />Google: 20,98 3%<br />
  17. 17. Isn’t it ironic?<br />Usage of Google Scholar may depend in large part on whether librarians promote it or not!<br />
  18. 18. Usability studies<br />Universities<br />Boston College –BYU – Carnegie Mellon – Maryland – Mississippi – Northwestern – Oregon State – Rochester – Texas A & M –Colorado, Denver –California, Santa Cruz<br />Systems<br />Metalib – Encompass – Serials Solutions – Webfeat – LibraryFind <br />
  19. 19. Usability studies<br />70% of the students in BYU study preferred metasearch over native interfaces<br />“[B]oth [metasearch and searching native interfaces individually] produce citation sets of similar quality” – BYU <br />“Graduate students and faculty . . . all located citations they had not previously found” –Texas A&M<br />
  20. 20. On search times<br />“Eight [out of 18] students measured the speed of the search processing as reasonable and only five found the system too slow.” –Maryland<br />“Users are willing to wait as long as they think that they will get useful results. Their perceptions of time depend on this belief.” –Santa Cruz<br />“When people accomplish what they set out to do on a site, they perceive that site to be fast . . . If people can&apos;t find what they want on a site, they will regard the site as a waste of time (and slow).” – Perfetti, Landesman<br />
  21. 21. On the interface<br />“I found that both were not very user friendly.” – BYU Student<br />“[Non-federated search] lent itself to more abstracts . . . With [federated search] I was relying more on the title which can sometimes be misleading.” –BYU Student<br />“I would have to search through every single one of these to find which one is a scholarly article and which one is just a newspaper article.” – Maryland Student<br />
  22. 22. Broadening our goals<br />“[T]he point of federated searching is to make searching as simple as possible” –Cervone<br />Is it all about search?<br />What happens before you search?<br />What happens after you search?<br />Re-search is more than just searching<br />
  23. 23. Selecting the right resources<br />“Nothing slows the user&apos;s scanning momentum more than encountering results that are irrelevant . . . many users view it as a digital equivalent of Tourette&apos;s Syndrome, where the system just spits out random items, unrelated to their search.”<br /> – Jared Spool <br />
  24. 24. Selecting the right resources<br />Why not search everything?<br />Impractical technically<br />Impractical presentationally<br />What you don’t search is equally as important as what you do search<br />Why metasearch systems get this wrong<br />(Overly-) focused on the search box<br />Defining is not the same as limiting<br />
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  28. 28. Once you start down the Quick Search path, forever will it dominate your destiny.<br />
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  31. 31.
  32. 32. Desperately seeking search box<br />“I just want a search box on the homepage.” – Your users<br />First Rule of Usability? Don&apos;t Listen to Users!<br />What users say they do is sometimes different from what they actually do<br />“The Google phenomenon”?<br />
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  36. 36. Desperately seeking search box<br />“[T]here is something inherent in the site&apos;s design that causes users to choose the search engine or the links, not a hard-and-fast preference of the user” <br />“[U]sers often gravitated to the search engine when the links on the page didn&apos;t satisfy them in some way.”<br /> – Jared Spool <br />
  37. 37. Isn’t it ironic?<br />The search box dominates the opening screens, then disappears!<br />
  38. 38.
  39. 39.
  40. 40.
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  42. 42. Changing queries<br />“Nearly all students repeated their searches, changing terms or subject categories, so the interface needs to make this easy.”– Maryland <br />“Each new piece of information [users] encounter gives them new ideas and directions to follow and, consequently, a new conception of the query …  [T]he query itself (as well as the search terms used) is continually shifting, in part or whole.” –Bates <br />
  43. 43. Services for results<br />Spell check<br />Peer reviewed flag<br />Full-text look-up<br />Full-text linking<br />Format<br />Foreign language<br />
  44. 44. Avoid pogosticking<br />“66% of purchases on [e-commerce] sites happened without any pogosticking . . . the more [users] pogosticked, the less likely the session would result in a purchase.”<br />“The best search results pages will prevent pogosticking by providing the relevant content before the user chooses a specific result.”<br /> – Jared Spool <br />
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  47. 47. Services with results<br />Save and export<br />Citation formatting<br />Tagging, editing, and sharing<br />Expert research help<br />
  48. 48. Going back to search<br />Problems with broadcast searching<br />Slow, dropped connections<br />Lowest-common denominator searching<br />Problems with central indexing<br />Not easy<br />Requires software, hardware, money, haggling<br />A middle ground?<br />
  49. 49. Metasearch<br />Not all targets are created equal<br />
  50. 50. Not all targets are created equal<br />Metasearch<br />
  51. 51.
  52. 52. Problems searching the catalog<br />Z39.50 searching not great<br />Limited search options<br />Browse searching not inherent in Metalib<br />Innovative ILS<br />Hit counts are wrong<br />Keyword results return results in bib id order<br />Not getting fixed any time soon.<br />
  53. 53. WorldCat and Ebsco APIs<br />WorldCat API<br />Free (to OCLC members) web service to WorldCat<br />Just ended pilot phase<br />Ebsco Integration Toolkit<br />Free (to Ebsco customers) web service to all Ebsco databases<br />Available now<br />
  54. 54.
  55. 55. A-9 style Search Results Page<br />Catalog(s)<br />Acad Search<br />Metalib<br />
  56. 56. A-9 style Psychology Search Results Page<br />Catalog(s)<br />PsycInfo<br />Metalib<br />
  57. 57. Hybrid<br />System<br />Metasearch<br />Other databases<br />Catalog<br />Main database<br />
  58. 58.
  59. 59.
  60. 60. From the catalog out?<br />Endecca<br />VUFind<br />Primo<br />Encore<br />WorldCat Local<br />
  61. 61. Todd Miller, Webfeat<br />
  62. 62.
  63. 63.
  64. 64.
  65. 65.
  66. 66.
  67. 67.
  68. 68. Library portal?<br />Metalib not flexible enough<br />Interface<br />Adding functionality<br />Integrating with other systems<br />Xerxes should be<br />Everything is XML-based<br />Open source<br />
  69. 69. Toward a services layer<br />Adding value beyond the native interface<br />Consolidation before distribution<br />Come to the RSS presentation on Friday<br />Saving, tagging, sharing<br />The interface is the system<br />Metasearch, centrally indexed, hybrid . . .<br />Still need a good interface<br />
  70. 70. Conclusion<br />“You can search multiple databases at the same time” is not a compelling enough argument<br />We need to focus on the whole research process , not just search<br />Add value and layer functionality on top of the results<br />
  71. 71. Conclusion<br />We need an experimental platform to try new things, and an open source community to allow that to happen<br />xerxes.calstate.edu<br />
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