Discover more in The Library

Oops! It’s been an age since we last blogged and such a lot has happened – much of it during a commercially sensitive tender process.

Anyway – at last here’s an update to let you know some outcomes of our project.

First, the real news – we’re pleased to announce we’ve chosen EBSCO Discovery Service as our Leeds Met Library resource discovery tool and we’re already a good way down the line with the implementation – hoping to go live with an initial version of EDS in mid-September.

The tender process took a while, as these things do, but it did make us consider each product at length and we believe this has helped us in making an informed decision.

The first part of this blog recorded Phase 1 of our project which enabled us to check out, in some depth, the market for resource discovery and left us in a good position for the tender preparation.   In particular, we really knew what we wanted from our end product, and how we would evaluate this.  Our Procurement Officer seemed confident that we knew what we were talking about!

As part of the tender process we sent out useful product information to stakeholders and invited them to demos from the 3 companies who tendered (EBSCO, OCLC and Serials Solutions).  The demos were pretty much an open invitation to as many interested parties as we could fit in one room, and we had some great feedback which helped us to make the final decision.

We also held a well-attended focus group (OK, so the free cakes helped a bit too…) which gave stakeholders the opportunity to try out demo versions of all 3 systems and complete an online survey to feedback their thoughts and preferences.  This was illuminating stuff – it was clear from the feedback that one product was beginning to stand out.

In the middle of all this, 5 members of the project group attended a very timely resource discovery event at the University of Huddersfield which gave us the opportunity to speak to library colleagues in other institutions about their resource discovery choices and experiences.  It was great to hear from the people who’ve already implemented these products, and, as you might imagine, it was very different from a vendor demo!  Fortunately, the outcomes of attending this event helped to reinforce the research we’d already done.

So – why did we choose EBSCO Discovery Service?  A number of factors made this system stand out for us and our specific circumstances:

Content – we already have a high percentage of EBSCO resources at Leeds Met and EDS, unsurprisingly, returns a higher proportion of relevant results from our most highly used databases.  Tests using other systems proved less successful in retrieving this content.

Good admin interface – which can be easily accessed by a wide range of staff (not just the super-techies) & from which useful usage data can be extracted.

Proven customer service track-record – EBSCO is one of the few companies we deal with who we know from experience will provide good customer service!

User interface – EDS was shown to be the preferred user interface throughout our stakeholder testing & evaluation.

Fast and simple implementation – we should have the system live and being used and evaluated (whilst still being improved/developed!) within a couple of months.

References sites – there were examples of successful existing implementations & integrations already out there, such as the University of Liverpool and Cranfield University.

As with any system implementation the project will not stop, we will just continue to evaluate and develop EDS & in 2 years’ time we will look again at what’s out there.  Things progressed so much in almost all the systems we’d researched within one year of our project, so we can’t rest on our laurels despite EBSCO being best for us at this moment in time.

As I type, others are planning the publicity, design, content and training programme for our version of EDS – exciting times – but the real test will be the user feedback, which I guess will be the subject of my next post.

Resource-Discoveried-Out

a resource-discoveried-out librarian, earlier today

It’s been a while, but be assured we’ve all been very busy with resource discovery demos and every day more opportunities to see the systems in action seem to be arriving in my mailbox.  In fact, to coin one project member’s phrase, some of us are a bit ‘resource-discoveried-out’ this week!

Firstly, we took a look at what Ebsco Discovery Service could offer us.  As part of Ebsco’s ‘Complete Discovery Solution’ this system promises deep indexing and ‘quality not quantity’ in the results it delivers.   Partnerships exist with Ebsco and most of our major database/ejournal suppliers and project group members liked the familiarity of the interface and thought that our users would too (although we’ll be testing that assumption at a later stage).

Another box ticked was the wide range of search options available from quick to advanced in various configurations, which went down well with our subject librarians.

Here are some more thoughts from our Graduate Trainee –

“Well, if you’re familiar with and enjoy using the EBSCO platform, it would seem you’re on to a winner. The new EBSCO discovery service shares the same look and feel as its sibling, but incorporates a lot more utility. Whilst this is a positive from a familiarity perspective, the advantage is of course lost in the event that students have never seen an EBSCO platform before. So, how much significance should be given to the continuity in platform design for the discovery service? Well, in a truly non-committal way I’d argue it is an advantage, but a slight-one, and should certainly not be the be-all and end-all when it comes to decision making.

Ready for the clichés? On the one hand we have the ‘better the devil you know’ approach. We use EBSCO, our students use EBSCO, so why not build on this head-start by implementing the new discovery service which looks and feels the same, but is actually better? All well and good you might say, but what about the adage that ‘familiarity breeds contempt’? I’m sure everyone has an opinion on some of the quirks of EBSCO, and whilst I’m unable to determine whether these might have been ironed out, there’s surely no harm in considering a move away from the platform, familiar or otherwise. So, what’s the verdict? Well, I was quietly impressed during the demonstration and would certainly like to have a play around in the event that a trial could be arranged. “