Exploring Discovery: The Front Door to Your Library's Licensed and Digitized Content

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We're in a new age of Discovery. Not of the physical world but rather one that serves up appropriate resources for your library's researchers, thanks to advancements in handling metadata, natural language processing, and keyword searching. For you, Discovery might be shorthand for single-index products such as Serials' Solutions Summon, EBSCO Discovery, and OCLC's WorldCat Discovery. Yet even those tools require adjustments to meet your institution's specific needs. With first-hand profiles of 19 library projects, Varnum and his roster of contributors offer guidance on the complete range of discovery services, from the broad sweep of vendors' products to the fine points of specialized holdings. Topics include:


  • migrating from a traditional ILS to a library services platform;
  • creating a task list for usability testing of discovery;
  • managing internal development requirements within the constraints of a small or mid-sized library;
  • applying agile software methodology to a Blacklight implementation;
  • real-world examples of usability testing, including a small liberal arts college's implementation of VuFind;
  • meeting the challenge of three different metadata formats;
  • practices in the Primo community for integrating open access content into the front end;
  • serving mobile users with an app and responsive Web design;
  • analyzing the use of facets in search;
  • using a single discovery tool across a library, museum, and archive; and
  • implementing discovery with geospatial datasets.

Easy to dip into as needed, this comprehensive examination of discovery services will prove invaluable to IT, web development, electronic resource management, and technical services staff.





Part I    Vended Discovery Systems

Chapter 1    Collaborative Growth toward Discovery: Becoming Stronger through Change
by Margaret Heller and Hong Ma
Chapter 2    Approaching Discovery as Part of a Library Service Platform: Lessons Learned
by Nathan Hosburgh
Chapter 3    When You Rent Your Front Door: A Midsize Library's Experiences Relying on Discovery Vendors
by Stephen Bollinger and Kate Silton
Chapter 4    Exploring Discovery at Rosenberg Library: What Happens when a Library, a Museum, and an Archive Get Together to Share a Single Discovery Tool?
by T. Louise M. Kidder





Part II        Custom Discovery Systems

Chapter 5    Geospatial Resource Discovery
by Darren Hardy, Jack Reed, and Bess Sadler
Chapter 6    Discovery on a Shoestring: Implementing a Full-Functioned Discovery Tool with Free Software and No-Extra-Charge Metadata Sources
by Julia Bauder
Chapter 7    Agile Open-Source Discovery: Blacklight with EBSCO Discovery Service
by Sam Popowich
Chapter 8    Using Blacklight for Archival Discovery
by Adam Wead and Jennie Thomas
Chapter 9    Creating a "Magical" Request and Delivery Experience for Patrons Using a Blacklight-Based Catalog
by Matthew Connolly, Jennifer Colt, Joanne Leary, and Melissa Wallace





Part III    Interfaces

Chapter 10    The Bento Box Design Pattern
by Jason Thomale, William Hicks, and Mark Phillips
Chapter 11    One-to-Many: Building a Single-Search Interface for Disparate Resources
by Cole Hudson and Graham Hukill
Chapter 12    Integrating Discovery to Improve the User Experience
by Sonya Betz and Ian Roberton
Chapter 13    Fixing Facets
by Sean Hannan, Steven Heslip, and Kristen Johannes
Chapter 14    One Size Doesn't Fit All: Tailoring Discovery through User Testing
by Joseph Deodato, Khalilah Gambrell, and Eric Frierson





Part IV    Content and Metadata

Chapter 15    From User Stories to Working Code: A Case Study from NYU's Digital Collections Discovery Initiative
by Daniel Lovins
Chapter 16    Regional Aggregation and Discovery of Digital Collections: The Mountain West Digital Library
by Anna Neatrour, Rebekah Cummings, and Sandra McIntyre
Chapter 17    Open Access and Discovery Tools: How do Primo Libraries Manage Green Open Access Collections?
by François Renaville
Chapter 18    Discovery Platforms and the Database of Record
by Alan Manifold
Chapter 19    Know Thy Metadata: Metadata Challenges in Discovery Services
by Myung-Ja K. Han and William Fletcher Weathers

About the Contributors



Kenneth J. Varnum

Kenneth J. Varnum is the Senior Program Manager for Discovery, Delivery, and Library Analytics at the University of Michigan Library. In this role, Ken is responsible for the library's discovery interfaces (the "MLibrary" single search tool, ArticlesPlus, Search Tools, etc.), delivery interfaces, and the library's evolving and emerging analytics infrastructure. He received a master's degree from the University of Michigan's School of Information and his Bachelor of Arts from Grinnell College. Over his two decades working with public-facing technology in academic, corporate, and special libraries, he has gained a deep appreciation and understanding of the need to tailor systems and interfaces to the local user base. A frequent speaker and author, Ken presents and writes about discovery systems, library analytics, and technology. In addition to numerous articles and chapters, he wrote Drupal in Libraries (2012), edited Lorcan Dempsey's The Network Reshapes the Library (2014), and compiled four books, including Exploring Discovery: The Front Door to Your Library’s Licensed and Digitized Content (2016), Beyond Reality: Augmented, Virtual, and Mixed Reality in the Library (2019) and the LITA Guide New Top Technologies Every Librarian Needs to Know (2019). He blogs at rss4lib.com and can be found on Twitter at @varnum.

"Informative, diverse, and valuable insights on how libraries are implementing and using discovery tools make this an essential read."
— Library Journal

"Easy to dip into as needed … provides a comprehensive examination of discovery services that will prove invaluable to IT, web development, electronic resource management, and technical services staff."
— Library Bookwatch

"There is a wealth of knowledge condensed into this book, some unique to a particular institution or product, but providing lessons for us all."
— Online Searcher

"A rich resource that delivers sound guidance on key aspects to consider when selecting a new range of discovery service tools for your institution ... Varnum has even organized his book of case studies with agility so readers can optimize the content that has been presented by choosing the chapter(s) or section(s) most pertinent to their institution."
— Journal of Hospital Librarianship

"From deep diving into subscription articles to customized gateways, from specialized collections to niche needs such as geospatial resources, the range of collection types and sizes in the academic and specialist library sectors is well covered by the articles and their specialist authors in this book. … An excellent tool to inform and guide you in making the best choice for your library, its resources and users."
— Journal of the Australian Library and Information Association