Discovery Tool


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A distant ancestor of the Discovery Tool ...

In 2011, the Discovery Tool project team studied the features of the Discovery Services offered by the four main providers, namely SUMMON, EBSCO, Primo and WorldCatLocal.

Reports by sister organizations facing similar decisions were requested and read. The fact that OCLC did not market WorldCatLocal in Europe until 2011 meant that the views of libraries that took a decision last year or earlier were negative.

The team decided early on to focus on Primo and WCL. SUMMON was assessed as offering a less user-friendly environment, and is difficult to integrate with other library systems. In the view of the team, it is unacceptable to require users to log in before they can search with the EBSCO tool. Searching should be a facility that is available to everyone.

In the preparatory phase of the project, it seemed a good idea to construct a test environment for various products. The team decided against this, however. Even with a reasonable investment of time and resources, the test environments would not be complete, and would fall short in terms of essential components. Our aim is therefore to examine the system directly at another library, or via the providers.

During May and June 2011, it became clear that the products did not differ greatly in terms of the ease of finding digital content; advantages of one product over another were largely of a temporary nature. The main differences were in the possibilities for adjusting layout, additional functions (customization with apps), and compatibility of the software with existing library systems. Connections with the link resolver, the catalogue (of the physical collection in particular) and the information on availability of the material found, through a link with the loan status proved to be important and sometimes clear problems. These problems are also encountered by other libraries in the Netherlands that are in the process of implementing Discovery or recently introduced the Discovery tool or service. The situation varies slightly from library to library.

The project team is now focusing on these decisive aspects. An accurate picture has been obtained of the various options and the cost of licences. The budget made available by the IT Strategy committee will certainly be able to finance most of the costs.

The team’s activities in 2011:

  • Demonstrations of Primo and WorldCatLocal in the library
  • Visit to the Primo users’ day at the University of Amsterdam (UvA)
  • Jan Feringa is in contact with UKB colleagues in the Netherlands who are involved with Discovery Services
  • Peter van Rees recorded information from discussion groups
  • Christina is in contact with ICS colleagues in the Netherlands with a primary or secondary involvement in Discovery Service projects (in particular VU University Amsterdam, University of Amsterdam, Erasmus University Rotterdam and Radboud University Nijmegen)

Christina Elsenga