Enhanced Tools for Discovery

Today’s library users bring a wealth of experience with Internet search tools and they expect to have a similar experience when searching for library resources. Important components include ubiquitous access to search, a single search to find “everything,” simple search syntax, post-search refinement and frequent interface enhancements.

Although the current generation of discovery services ambitiously address such issues, there is still much work to be done before our users have seamless search capabilities to discover what they need from among the millions of information items the Library provides. In addition, users are coming to library resources from many disparate starting points. No longer is the library catalog or library website the assured beginning for users to find our resources, nor can we assume which form factors are being used to search for library resources.

Although the newer commercial discovery services cover everything in the catalog and more, the library catalog is still the primary tool for researchers to find specific works in our collection. It is important that we leverage new technologies and data structures to evolve our catalog to improve discoverability for our users.

Our overall strategy is to address the wide variety of issues on an iterative basis, working to improve those interfaces where we have control (e.g. VuFind, WakeSpace and the website) and collaborating with vendors to guide enhancements to third-party interfaces (e.g. Summon).

Action Items & Timeframes

  • Design and install website and VuFind interfaces within this school year using responsive design techniques to support desktop, tablet and smartphone users (2012-13) Completed
  • Take steps to improve the integrity of data and discoverability of our local resources
    • Implement authority control to improve data quality, enabling users to find all items about a given topic (Fall 2012) Completed
    • Fully adopt RDA (Resource Description and Access) as the local cataloging code at ZSR (Fall 2013) Completed
    • Improve our digital collections interface to WakeSpace (Fall 2012) Completed
    • Improve VuFind functionality (Fall 2012) Completed
    • Implement Omeka as a digital collections exhibit interface (Fall 2012) Completed
  • Prepare for the next generation of integrated library systems, considering both open source and commercial alternatives (2012-2014) Ongoing