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Challenges and opportunities in library discovery services gen

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A 2016 survey conducted by Simon Inger Consulting found that library web pages (i.e. search engines) are as important to many academics as abstracting and indexing sources. At the same time, library service platforms such as WMS and Alma have been widely adopted, but the “discovery of library-provided resources remains a complex issue with many unfulfilled expectations… and many challenges remain in improving discoverability” as noted by Marshall Breeding in his 2018 library systems report.

This short presentation was designed to highlight strengths and weaknesses of search discovery tool for libraries while identifying opportunities to improve the discoverability of our resources using the catalog.

Presentation & Discussion May 2018

Published in: Education
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Challenges and opportunities in library discovery services gen

  1. 1. Growing discovery: Challenges and opportunities in library discovery services Robin Fay robinfay.com | LibraryScope
  2. 2. Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats Where we are vs. where most users are Robin Fay robinfay.com | LibraryScope
  3. 3. Robin Fay robinfay.com | LibraryScope Images: CC licensed
  4. 4. We are one tiny part of the connected data landscape - bibliographic and descriptive data Robin Fay robinfay.com | LibraryScope
  5. 5. Our data still looks like this much of the time. Robin Fay robinfay.com | LibraryScope
  6. 6. Our users are here connected by data that is relational and dynamic, building relationships from the data as the user needs it Robin Fay robinfay.com | LibraryScope
  7. 7. Data challenges • The common thread in ILS – MARC • It defines indexing (whether or not a field of data is actually searched) and then display (whether that field shows up to the public in search results). • Not only must the person creating the data code it correctly, BUT the system must be able to interpret those codes correctly, which relies on the coding of the programmers, who build and maintain the ILS. Robin Fay robinfay.com | LibraryScope
  8. 8. More data challenges • Another challenge with MARC, is that it as a position based language, each space must be defined, e.g. character counting vs. word counting. • Most modern systems and programming languages do not use a position based language. Robin Fay robinfay.com | LibraryScope
  9. 9. Controlled vocabularies • Another branch in the discovery tree is topic searching. In the ILS, we use a controlled vocabulary instead of keywords. • Pros: Display a topics list; hierarchy from broad to detailed. • Cons: Linking between topics is more challenging and topics can get outdated. • In comparison, Google search results are a combination of location based identification (geo metadata), paid search results, and mining the entire website for content – not just keywords. Robin Fay robinfay.com | LibraryScope
  10. 10. How can we grow discovery of our resources?
  11. 11. Growing discovery through maximizing data Refine, optimize, enrich • Examine the relationship (mapping) between WMS and discovery tools, especially in terms of indexing. • Enrich records that are lacking data or very brief. Adding to the master record in OCLC, also provides a service to the profession as a whole (double win!) • Create new records for materials through the lens of users needs. • Clean up data where needed, especially in terms of those fields which impact searching. Inventory as needed. • Create and update LHR (Local Holdings Records in OCLC) for serials and periodicals. Impacts ILL and other services. • Metrics – statistics and reports This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND Robin Fay robinfay.com | LibraryScope
  12. 12. Growing discovery through maximizing data Refine, optimize, enrich • Minimize the deficiencies of MARC through expanding its capability. • Provide tools and resources along every step of the search process to assist the user in finding what they need. Main principles of metadata description (FRBR User Tasks) • Can they find their topic? • Can they identify appropriate resources? • Can they pick the best resource? • Can they acquire that resource? • How can we facilitate that process? This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND Robin Fay robinfay.com | LibraryScope
  13. 13. Growing discovery through personalized exploration Engage, Support, Lead (to resources) • Provide popup tool tips where possible to explain definitions and terms • Consider branding and terms – do users know what Libguides are? • Provide help everywhere – Didn’t find what you were looking for? On search results. Bib citation screens. Everywhere. • Using popups? Provide easy navigation out and help. • Provide more ways for feedback within the library website as a whole, including the catalog. Surprisingly enough, students and faculty WILL report when a record is wrong in the catalog. • Social logins? Interesting idea in academia. This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND Robin Fay robinfay.com | LibraryScope
  14. 14. A popup upon mouse over for definitions or information Growing discovery through personalized exploration Better, but why not more information? Robin Fay robinfay.com | LibraryScope
  15. 15. In many ILS, Help is a menu item which takes the user away from the search results; in some ILS the search history is not kept, meaning the user must start over. Growing discovery through personalized exploration Why not provide help on demand Robin Fay robinfay.com | LibraryScope
  16. 16. • Some ILS will pull editions and formats together, while others do not. Better – more FRBResque, but inaccurate (many more titles that would fall under work in this catalog) Growing discovery through personalized exploration Others rely on facets, but no grouping of actual titles by format. Why not support both? Searching and refinements by format, but also, allow the user to see all formats and editions for a particular title (the “work”?) Only the title is clickable
  17. 17. Support FRBR User Tasks in the catalog. Provide context. Provide enough information with appropriate terminology. • Is there enough information here to truly know if you’ve found what you are searching for? From this screen, could a user successfully perform the FRBR User Tasks? Growing discovery through personalized exploration
  18. 18. Growing discovery through personalized exploration Eliminate clutter and information that is not relevant to users. #2 is confusing. How would a user interpret this data? Held by: My library
  19. 19. Growing discovery through personalized exploration Meet the user in the space they are in at that moment in time. • Provide suggested resources. Newer cataloging rules allow for the linking of records by edition, translation, and other types. (For periodicals, too!) • Provided linking between print and electronic serials in MARC records – crosspollinate links • Provide help at the point of need. Don’t expect them to leave the space they are in and go look for help. This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND
  20. 20. Do back buttons work? How easy is it navigate between the ILS and 3rd party resources. In this example from a real library, the back button does not work. It is also not readily apparent how to get back to the library website. Provide lots of navigation choices to the extent possible.
  21. 21. Growing discovery through personalized exploration • Staying up to date as changes occur with the software that impact library work – OCLC recently rolled out Digby which is designed to assist student workers in shelving and other work. • Accessibility – ensure that the library catalog, any of its widgets or representations, as well as the digital resources are accessible ensuring that content is inclusive to all of the users. • About that… This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND
  22. 22. ILS Weakness Commonalities • Many ILS have some design issues – information architecture, navigation, help are inconsistent or inferior, with some accessibility issues. • Overall, they work well as long as you know what you are searching for. However, doing a very complex in a simple search is frustrating and often unsuccessful. • More embedding of library resources (help, etc.), more help baked in including Libguides, and a tightening up of display of data would be useful. Integration of more resources with the ILS – capitalize on student data where possible
  23. 23. Strengths... • Many modern ILS will pull editions together, but few pull formats, editions, and translations together (the work level) • Single signon where possible to create a seamless experience between 3rd party resources and the ILS. • Most ILS have a very similar feel which does provide a level of user comfort for those with experience with ILS. Easy to determine ebooks.
  24. 24. Growing discovery – final thoughts • Maximize the data (MARC) – it’s what we have for now • Embed support services where you can – help, Libguides, etc. into the catalog – more crosspollinating • Review accessibility and best design practices – where can they be supported in WMS?
  25. 25. Robin Fay, robinfay.com | LibraryScope @georgiawebgurl • ILS reviewed for this discussion • WMS • Alma • Voyager • Evergreen

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