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Discovery System Evaluation - some background information

Emily Singley
September 06, 2019

Discovery System Evaluation - some background information

Some background on discovery systems - what they are and how they work - targeted to an audience of librarians about to embark on evaluating different discovery systems for their Library.

Emily Singley

September 06, 2019

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  1. Topics: • What is a discovery service • What is

    an article index • What parts of discovery come from Alma • What is an OPAC (and why can’t we buy one?) • The discovery system marketplace
  2. What is a discovery service? • a discovery service is

    a system that provides search across both local library content as well as vendor content • defined by Marshall Breeding as: • “tools that search seamlessly across a wide range of local and remote content and provide relevance-ranked results—have the ambitious goal of providing a single point of entry into a library’s collections. The four major vendors are OCLC, EBSCO, ProQuest, and Ex Libris. Ideally all possible online content providers are indexed, as well as the library’s local holdings.” • see also: • https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/2014/01/14/web-scale-discovery- services/
  3. How does a discovery system work? • discovery systems load

    records from: • our local ILS system (Alma) • other local sources (Miraspace, eScholarship, etc.) • discovery services also include another source of records called an article index. • both local records and article index records can be combined in a single result list • To see combined search in action, go to library.bc.edu/catalog and search for “otters” and choose “anything” from the dropdown to the right of the search box:
  4. “Books” and “Articles” • at BC, we have chosen to

    present local source records and article index records separately. • We have dubbed these two sources “Books” and “Articles” • the article index contains many more records then the local source records • our current discovery system (Primo) indexes approximately: • 3 million “books” • about a billion “articles” “books” “articles”
  5. Search interface “Books” “Articles” • the local records and article

    index can be thought of as two separate “buckets” of content that the discovery service combines into a single search experience
  6. “Articles” = Primo Central Index (PCI) What is an article

    index? • an article index is a vast database created by library vendors by harvesting content from across a wide variety of publishers and aggregators • An article index contains a wide variety of records from vendors – including articles, e-books, encyclopedia entries, institutional repositories, newspapers, etc. • all discovery systems have article indices – but they may cover different sources because different vendors have agreements with different publishers • the article index used by Primo is called the “Primo Central Index” or “PCI” • the discovery system vendor (for Primo, Ex Libris) is responsible for loading metadata into the article index. • the library has no control over the content or metadata in article indices
  7. PCI (“Articles”) Important: • PCI is NOT the same as

    Library databases • There may be overlap in coverage, but our subscriptions to databases are completely separate from PCI • EBSCO content is *not* indexed in PCI – however, some journals indexed in EBSCO databases may also be included in PCI, but are being loaded from a different source
  8. • Here is an example of an article that can

    be discovered from both PCI and from an EBSCO database. • To see this in Primo, go to library.bc.edu/catalog and search for this title in the “articles” search. Once you find the record, scroll down to the “details” section and look at the “Source” field. You’ll see that the source of this metadata is Cengage Learning, not EBSCO
  9. What parts of discovery come from Alma? • It is

    important to understand that not everything users experience in Primo are actually Primo – many parts of the discovery service are in fact Alma. As we evaluate discovery services, we need to understand which parts of the user experience will continue to rely on Alma. These are: • Local metadata: discovery services harvest local metadata from Alma. These are records created or loaded into Alma by our local catalogers. They may include physical items, e-books, journal records, and special collections records • E-resource holdings: e-resource holdings are maintained in Alma and display within the discovery service • Location and availability: “real time availability” and shelf location for physical items come directly from Alma • Requesting: the ability to place holds and ILL requests is Alma functionality • If/when we were to switch to a different discovery service, these pieces of the discovery system may not change, as we would still be using Alma • Examples of these integrations begin on the next slide
  10. Local metadata example • look at this record: https://bc-primo.hosted.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/f/10hr773/ALMA- BC21421261320001021

    • in the “Details” section, you can see the source is “ALMA-BC” • This metadata was added to Alma by our local catalogers • This metadata can be edited in Alma by our catalogers and will sync to Primo nightly
  11. E-resource holdings example • look at this record: https://bc-primo.hosted.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/f/10hr773/ALMA- BC51389664640001021

    • The “Find Online” section displays holdings that are pulled in from Alma • e-resource holdings are managed in Alma, as are the links to these resources • other discovery services may display this section differently, but the underlying data will be the same
  12. Location and availability • look at this record: https://bc-primo.hosted.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/f/l6ucgu/ALMA- BC21345046670001021

    • The “Find in Library” section displays location, availability, and request links that are pulled in from Alma • Request links rely on Alma’s OpenURL resolver. This would likely continue with another discovery service • other discovery services may display this section differently, but the underlying data will be the same
  13. What is an OPAC (and why can’t we buy one?)

    • OPACs (Online Public Access Catalog) were the search interfaces built into old ILS systems (BC had the Aleph OPAC, which we called “Quest.” • OPACs are no longer available for purchase, as library vendors now only sell ILS systems that do not include a public search interface. Alma has no public-facing search system, only a staff-facing one • OPACs indexed local catalog records and did not provide discovery for other library resources, such as articles • You can still see an OPAC in action at Wellesley, as they have an older ILS system. Go to https://luna.wellesley.edu/search/ to try it out.
  14. But….will the OPAC make a comeback?? • There have been

    recent indications that some libraries are moving away from “discovery” search, and prefer a more narrow and more precise search such as was available via OPACs • A new OPAC is currently being developed as part of the FOLIO open source ILS project. The first library to adopt this new OPAC will be Simmons College • It remains to be seen if such an OPAC could work with Alma, but it is unlikely
  15. The Discovery Service marketplace There are 3 commercial discovery services

    on the marketplace that could work with Alma: • EBSCO Discovery Service (EDS) • Summon • WorldCat Discovery
  16. Examples of different discovery services Check out the three available

    discovery services by going to these links: EDS: https://library.gsu.edu/ https://libraries.mit.edu/ - homegrown frontend built using EDS APIs Summon: https://library.syr.edu/ WorldCat: we already have this at BC: https://bc.on.worldcat.org/discovery