Discovery Service@ EBSCO Mary Alice Osborne IST 616, Final Project: Informational Retrieval System Professor Barbara Kwasnik November 29, 2010
Searcher’s Frustration… “I don’t want to search…. I just want to find!” “Just give me the Answer…. And make sure it’s right!”
Research has always been challenging, but there are so many resources available online today that findingan importantarticle can feel like an impossible task.
Enter the “Discovery Service” from EBSCO Offering “One stop” searching
What is a Discovery Service? Search interface to pre-indexed metadata and/or full text documents. Single, simple entry point Discovery services don’t search live sources, like Federated Searches Search pre-indexed data: return search results more quickly. An evolution beyond federated search May provide integration with federated search or provide an API for others to do the integration. Uses a unified index.
Pre-indexing Discovery services, such as Summon (by Serials Solutions) and Ebsco Discovery Service, have searched the databases previously. These databases are searched at a regular time – perhaps once a day, once a week, or once a month. The services build up their own index of all the items in these other databases, so when the user searches, they’re not sending the search out anywhere – it’s all right there, on their own servers. This is called Pre-indexing, which allows the speed, de-duplication of records, and unified search index available in Discovery Services. http://llyfrgellydd.info/?p=212
What is a Unified Search Index? The terms “unified index” and “unified search index” are associated with discovery services.Discovery services use a unified search index to search content from all sources they have access to from one index or access point. The discovery service must deal with differences in the structure of metadata (e.g. names and contents of fields) from different sources to produce the unified search index.
What is a Federated Search? Federated search refers to the: brokered retrieval of content from a set of auxiliary retrieval systems instead of from a single, centralized retrieval system. Federated search tasks occur in, for example, digital libraries (where documents from several retrieval systems must be seamlessly merged) or peer-to-peer information retrieval (where documents distributed across a network of local indexes must be retrieved). (Diaz 2010)
Discoveryvs. Federated Unlike federated search that relies on limited access to remote resources via connectors, the Discovery Service product will rely on pre-indexed content and metadata. Through a single interface, users are able to search through all of the pre-indexed materials - including catalog records, subscription databases, and web content more quickly than with existing metasearch tools and with many more possibilities for the refinement of search results. Other discovery tools include Summon from Serials Solutions, Primo from Ex Libris, and Encore from Innovative Interfaces. (Hadro 2009)
Who Subscribes to & Uses Discovery Services? University Libraries Large Public Libraries Within these Libraries, Discovery Services are used by: Students Staff and Faculty Any library user who wants information Someone wanting a quick and easy solution Novice users
Discovery Strengths Detailed metadata (e.g., author-supplied abstracts, keywords, subjects) from the most comprehensive collection of primary publisher partners Complete indexing from EBSCOhost databases to which an institution subscribes Historical Abstracts Book jacket images, book records, entertainment records, annotations, family keys, subject headings, demand information, awards, review citations, etc., for hundreds of thousands of publications Complete indexing from important non-EBSCOhost databases, including resources from Alexander Street Press, LexisNexis, NewsBank, British Library, and many others Complete OPAC loaded directly into EDS, with real-time availability checks and daily updates Ability to include Institutional archives/repositories Consolidated, de-duplicated records Ability to limit searches to available full text (electronic & print) Full-featured user experience (EBSCOhost) Full-text searching
Harvests Metadata from Internal (Library) & External (Databases) Sources From in the Library From external vendors Discovery Strengths
Example of a Basic Search for “global warming” There are multiple access points for retrieving information, including: the Faceted search on the left side panel, the center panel with clickable titles and information, and the subject area in the lower left panel.
Controlled Vocabulary All resources in Discovery are pre-indexed using a controlled vocabulary for ease in searching. All resources are assigned subjects, and a thesaurus provides like terms.
Faceted Indexing Sorts results by type, such as academic journals, books, monographs, magazines Multimedia, newspapers, etc.
Enhanced Book Data Examples Book Jacket Subjects Abstract Contents Images Discovery Strengths
Many Types of Search in Discovery Basic: very easy in box Advanced Allows Boolean search Visual search Subject Clustering Sorting results by relevancy or date Date Slide limiter Add to Folder options Use of Custom Links Other search options include: Keyword, Title, author, subject, etc. Discovery Strengths
Customization: Ability to Tailor Look and Functionality build a custom index based on what the library wants included in the index Option of federating out parts via the integration service Can provide links, custom search boxes, feeds from other locations (webpages, course shells, learning content management systems) back into the platform from other locations It also reduces the number of platforms that need to be actively managed for mobility or ADA compliance issues lets libraries set up widgets (e.g., Library Guides) directly on the results page and export bits of functionality from the EBSCO experience to other sections of a university's website. Discovery Strengths
Simple search poses complex pedagogical problems “We’ve had Ebsco’s integrated search for a while and I don’t use it as a tool to teach Information Literacy. However, I do show it after-the-fact. I feel like any integrated tool is too much to absorb unless the basics of types of sources and credibility have already been covered. If you don’t understand the meanings of the different facets, how can you choose to use them effectively?” (Lisa Burley, Librarian 2010)
Easy to Use, But… Too Much Information? "All of these [discovery] tools help address what we see as a significant problem for a lot of our users-understanding where they need to go to search for information, with hundreds of [content] silos to pick from.” " But bringing all this content together now means the user has a fire hose to drink from… It creates a whole new set of problems.” Bill Clayton, assistant university librarian for systems, University of Georgia
One size fits all? Discovery Services provide uniform access to their index. Whether you are a student doing research for an astronomy paper, a psychology paper, or a history paper, the index being searched is the same. Discovery Services do not have the ability to allow the student to search a selected subset (selected by a librarian or by the professor teaching the course) of the available content through the particular Discovery Service. (Lederman 2010)
Not everything is going to be in the index Discovery Services indexes content that is of general enough interest that it makes business sense for these products to be indexed. Discovery Services also needs to establish business relationships with the owners of content in order to index it and may also require the owner of the content to expend effort in making their content available to the Discovery Service. This means that not all content is going to be in their indexes, particularly niche (long-tail) content. (Lederman 2010)
Federated Search still required If a library desires to provide their patrons with comprehensive, one-stop access to all the content that they subscribe to, the use of Federated Search is still required. EBSCO acknowledges this while Serials Solutions does not. (Lederman 2010)
Problems for Providers with Discovery Services Source lock-in: discovery services, if not integrated with federated search, force organizations that want a single search tool to choose one service or the other. Federated search is very important for organizations that have particular sources they want to search that are not available from one of the discovery services. Even if an organization is happy with the set of sources provided through a discovery service, the availability of sources is dependent on the relationship with the publishers (and/or aggregators.) Discovery services are too new to know how publisher relationships will evolve, especially given the competition. It’s also not clear how discovery services perform search. Let’s say that a particular discovery service has an index that’s built from meta data of its documents and not from its full text. In that case searching the index won’t produce results that are as relevant as results obtained by searching the native source, assuming the native source provides full-text search capability. Another concern with discovery services is how current their indexes are. When one searches a source via federated search, the content is current because it is searched live. It’s not clear how frequently the discovery service indexes are updated.
Are vendors Neutral? Both Summon and EBSCO are Discovery Services provided by multi-billion dollar publisher/aggregator companies whose main business is making sure that libraries purchase their content. Shouldn’t librarians worry whether results returned by Summon might be biased towards higher ranking of ProQuest results? Or even worse, shouldn’t librarians worry whether content from a competitor to the Discovery Service they are considering subscribing to is going to be missing. (Lederman 2010)
Lack of Transparency Providers of Discovery Services are not transparent Where are they getting the content that has been indexed by their Discovery Service? For each publisher’s content that are indexed, what: Journals / databases are they indexing? Is the period of coverage? Has been indexed: only an item’s meta-data or also its full-text? How much does the index typically lags behind current content available from each publisher ? (Lederman 2010)
Conclusion Discovery Services have added many new features that help users retrieve information faster and of better quality than ever before in a very simple search mechanism. This is great for the typical user who just wants an answer quickly and does not want in-depth materials. However, the simple mechanism does not allow users to learn how to search in an advanced manner suitable for scholarly work. Resources available in Discovery Services are controlled by the partnerships that vendors have with publishers and this can be problematic. Overall, Discovery Services are an exciting advance in the way that people have traditionally searched.
Works Cited List EBSCO Discovery Service™ - New Resource Will Provide Users with Definitive Starting Point for Research Geeking with Greg. (2007) Saturday, March 24, 2007. The end of federated search? http://glinden.blogspot.com/2007/03/end-of-federated-search.html Hane, P. (2010) The Truth About Federated Searching. WebFeat. Information Today. (http://www.webfeat.org) Hadro, J. (2009) EBSCOhost Debuting Discovery Service, Aims at One-Stop Search Interface. Library Journal. http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/slj/articlesbooks/854667-340/ebscohost_debuting_discovery_service_aims.html.csp Lederman, S. (2008) Federated Search Blog. Diagnosing federated search source problems: it’s harder than you think Quint, B. (2010) On Federated Search: Good Ideas Never Die, They Just Change Their Names. DCL News Blog. March 10, 2010. http://www.dclab.com/blog/2010/03/federated-search-good-ideas-never-die-they-just-change-their-names/
Works Cited (cont.) Burley, L. (2010) Tisch Library Instruction Program http://sites.tufts.edu/tischinstruction/classroom-strategies/federated-searching-pro-and-con/ Federated Search Blog. http://federatedsearchblog.com/2009/07/19/discovering-discovery-services/ Hane, PJ. (2010) E-Reader Developments, Discovery Tools, and Search Engine News Information Today. Vol. 27, no. 3, pp. 7,11-12. Mar 2010. Hane, P. (2010) EBSCO Publishing Releases Its EBSCO Discovery Service Information Today. Posted On January 11, 2010 . http://newsbreaks.infotoday.com/NewsBreaks/EBSCO-Publishing-Releases-Its-EBSCO-Discovery-Service-60540.asp Lederman, A. (2010) Discovery Services: Over-hyped and Under Performed. Deep Web Tech Blog. http://deepwebtechblog.com/discovery-services-over-hyped-and-under-performed/ Shih, W., Zazzau, V. (2010) "Pursuing Better Search Experience: Lessons Learned from Beta-Testing EBSCO Discovery Service" State University of New York Librarians Association Conference 2010. Brockport, NY. Jun. 2010. Available at: http://works.bepress.com/win_shih/20
Resources Beyond federated search? Beyond federated search? The conversation continues Beyond Federated Search – Winning the Battle and Losing the War? Extensible Catalog Project New Discovery Tools for Online Resources From OCLC and EBSCO Oregon State University Libraries WorldCat Local Task ForceReport to LAMP ProQuest Proposes Pathway to New Platform SLA2009: Unified Discovery Services The difference between federated search and discovery services Top Technology Trends: July 2009 Unified Discovery Services