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3 - Discovery-systems

3 -- Discovery-systems

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3 - Discovery-systems

  1. 1. Are You Experienced? Exploring User Experience in Public Libraries Discovery Systems…to the Rescue? Going Beyond your ILS-Based OPAC
  2. 2. Discovery Systems If you read about ILS failure, you know that the OPAC seems to be the weak link. Why is that so? In brief, the ILS-based OPAC is a silo and has only its MARC metadata (bibliographic records, authority records, etc.)…
  3. 3. A MARC record can link to other metadata, of course, but this other metadata does not get searched. A well-done MARC record has excellent, controlled metadata, and a good search should be able to locate any library item. But when we search now, we expect to find things without much effort. And we expect to find all things associated with our search. Thank you, Google.
  4. 4. Thus the advent of the Discovery System in the evolution of library searching. Get us out of that library silo!
  5. 5. What is a Discovery System? “A discovery product consists of an interface directed toward the users of a library to find materials in its collections and subsequently to gain access to items of interest through the appropriate mechanisms. Discovery products tend to be independent from the specific applications that libraries implement to manage resources, such as integrated library systems, library services platforms, repository platforms, or electronic resource management systems. In most cases they provide access to multiple types of materials, independently of the management platform involved. Discovery products provide an interface with search and retrieval capabilities, often with features such as relevancy- based ordering of search results, facets presented that can be selected to narrow results according to specific categories, contributors, or date ranges, and tools to identify related materials or to refine search queries. Discovery products will use mechanisms appropriate to location, content type and license arrangement to provide access to materials. These mechanisms might include identifying the current location and status of a physical item with service options to request the item be held or delivered, to provide linking or direct viewing or download of articles, chapters, e-books, or other textual items available electronically, and presentation of digital images or multi-media content. Discovery products may also have social features that enable library patrons to comment, review, rate, or recommend content items or to interact dynamically with other patrons.” Marshall Breeding (
  6. 6. Er…what does all that mean? Think back to the so-called next-generation library catalogs ca. 2007 that promised such new features as federated searching, faceted navigation, relevancy ranking, the did-you-mean? feature, RSS, and more. Features that the traditional ILS-based OPAC did not deliver before then but that everyone on the web was getting used to!
  7. 7. But OPACs did start to include such features… Why not then stick with the good ‘ol OPAC? “…online catalogs eventually became less useful as libraries became increasingly invested in materials that were not directly represented in the ILS and as search and navigation capabilities became popular on other websites that made the interfaces within the online catalog seem in comparison much less modern and more difficult to use.“ -- Breeding, Marshall. (2014). Discovery product functionality. Library Technology Reports.
  8. 8. The advent of discovery interfaces Libraries got more holdings that were not in their ILS database…and patrons began to expect to find anything. Discovery interfaces that could work independently of an ILS were developed.
  9. 9. But how did they work without direct communication with the ILS database? --A Discovery interface worked with its own index as well as exported ILS records: a new index independent of the ILS
  10. 10. Why was this process unsatisfactory? Records had to be loaded and then synchronized. The Discovery interface results were thus often out of date until further synchronization. What was needed for the process to improve? --Real-time transactions needed to be reflected in Discovery interface results. Communication with the ILS was imperative.
  11. 11. Enter the Discovery Interface Task Group “In 2007-2008, the DLF convened a Task Group to recommend standard interfaces for integrating the data and services of the Integrated Library System (ILS) with new applications supporting user discovery.” --
  12. 12. Solutions were proposed… In 2008 the Task Group proposed four levels of integration: 1. Basic discovery interface depending on "handoffs" 2. Elementary OPAC supplement that still depends heavily on the ILS 3. Elementary OPAC alternative that takes care of all but advanced features 4. Robust or domain-specific discovery platforms, which fully replace the online catalog of the ILS
  13. 13. But technology moved forward… …and expectations developed beyond the proposed levels 1 thru 3 when the web (Google!) already offered: • Simple search features • Relevancy rankings • Recommendations • Did-you-mean? capability, etc…
  14. 14. And the “library” evolved… Even public libraries began to accumulate what could not easily be included in the ILS- based OPAC silo: • Articles • eBooks • Digital objects, etc. Metasearching offered some hope…but…
  15. 15. Metasearching fell out of favor Metasearching (searching more than one source at a time) depended on real-time responses from multiple targets…an inadequate model because of the immense logistics involved. Solutions? ca. 2009 a new model was developed
  16. 16. Independent indexes Indexes could be created from the content of content providers (targets)… Users could search these harvested indexes more efficiently than by metasearching. Proper content was delivered upon demand. Just like how Google works.
  17. 17. From Discovery to web-scale Discovery Google seems to index the entire web (it does not metasearch), so why can’t a Discovery service also become web-scale? i.e., web-scale Discovery “applies to the discovery services that, usually through massive indexes, aim to represent the full body of library content.” --Breeding, Marshall. (2014). Discovery product functionality. Library Technology Reports.
  18. 18. The challenge of web-scale? Goal: provide access to all the library’s local and remote resources (subscribed resources and locally managed resources) • A web-scale discovery service must partner with content providers to deliver licensed content (citation metadata or full text) • Content providers must partner with web-scale discovery services to makes their resources usable
  19. 19. …and the final challenge? Coordination and communication with the traditional ILS database was still necessary in order to reflect real-time activity.
  20. 20. Web-scale Discovery vs Discovery interface A web-scale Discovery service must: • harvest content from remote providers • harvest content from the local ILS • provide real-time library service (check out, place holds, etc.)
  21. 21. Have we moved from the OPAC to Discovery? Many products compete to deliver what users want (and OPACS are rebranding themselves as Discovery systems)… So what do users expect from them? See the following list of Discovery System features compiled by Chickering, William and Sharon Q. Yang. (2014). Evaluation and comparison of discovery tools: an update. Information Technology & Libraries 33(2): 5-30.
  22. 22. Discovery System Features • One-stop searching • State-of-the-art interface • Enriched content • Faceted navigation • Simple keyword search box • Relevancy • Did-you-mean? • Recommendations/related materials
  23. 23. Discovery System Features (cont.) • User contribution • RSS feeds • Integration with social networking sites • Persistent links • Auto-completion/stemming • Mobile compatibility • FRBR
  24. 24. Can we diagram these things? OPAC The traditional ILS-based OPAC does not search beyond what is in the ILS database. A library’s holding are MARC- based records in this database.
  25. 25. Can we diagram these things? Discovery System The Discovery System harvests and indexes metadata from the ILS database and other sources. Patrons search this index before going further. The Discovery System also communicates with the ILS in real time to reflect item status (e.g., availability).
  26. 26. Try Some! See Library technology Guides for Discovery Products:
  27. 27. Remember! A Discovery Product does not replace the complete ILS (it will not catalogue for you, for example!). But it can replace – or supplement – the ILS OPAC. For example…compare the following. Here are some libraries where you can use the “classic OPAC” as well as the new OPAC:
  28. 28. The New York Public Library uses Innovative’s (iii) Sierra as an ILS, and iii’s WebPacPro was its OPAC: But now a Discovery product, Bibliocommons, has become the new “OPAC”:
  29. 29. Berkeley Public Library uses Innovative’s Millennium and still has its WebPac Pro: But it also uses Innovative’s Discovery solution Encore:
  30. 30. The Charlotte Mecklenburg Public Library uses Sirsi’s Horizon ILS with its OPAC: But it also uses AquaBrowser as a Discovery layer:
  31. 31. In case you want some library literature: Discovery Tools: A Bibliography And just expect to hear more about Discovery Systems in the future…