Primo & Metalib

As well as recently seeing demos from Ebsco and Swets, last week we also looked at Primo & Metalib from Ex-Libris.  Some of us had already previewed Primo as the new British Library catalogue/discovery interface but we were keen to see the benefits we could expect as an existing customer of the Ex-Libris link resolver, SFX (we also discovered that we could discard our MARCIT service as Primo has this MARC import facility built-in).  Metalib was also one of the products we viewed around 4 years ago, so it was interesting to see how much things have developed since then.

Primo appears to integrate well with existing library catalogues (e.g. showing item availability) and institutional repositories, as well as providing a federated search for subscription databases.  We liked the sound of the features coming up in Primo 3 such as recommendations and multilingual functionality, and we’re also taking part in a webinar explaining more about the new version of Primo in the next couple of weeks.  The FRBRization of resources is also a valuable feature for us and something our users now expect, particularly when searching for both print and electronic versions of items.

As with all the systems we’re seeing, we have contacts to follow up and we’ll also be conducting user testing, as ever we are keen to pick the system that’s right for our users, not just convenient for us.

We have two more demos coming up this week, from OCLC and Encore.

Resource Discovery mini road trip!

Last week was a busy one for the Project Team.  The week began with some of us attending the Ebsco Information Day in Leeds, where our main aim was to see a preview of Ebsco Discovery Service, their new resource discovery product.  Unfortunately this session was the last of the day and I missed out due to other commitments.  Colleagues, however, seemed very positive about the product in principle and it will be interesting to see a full demo when Ebsco visit us in April.

Later in the week we had a visit from Serials Solutions to demonstrate Summon.  I’ve already posted the thoughts our graduate trainee had on the product but in general staff felt, from the demo, that Summon looked good (simple, clean design and layout) and liked the way that results were retrieved and displayed.  There are still questions about the knowledge base and how the product searches and deals with various data that we need to ask the vendor and existing users.

Finally a couple of us saw a demo of the British Library’s new beta catalogue which uses Primo, during a Forum for Inter-lending (FIL) event at the BLDSC.  It was interesting to hear how the BL had gone through a very similar process to the one we are planning – looking at ‘Google-style’ interfaces after their primary research exercise had indicated users’ preference for Google & Wikipedia… It also became clear that it’s difficult to obtain a balance between too much and too little regarding information and design and that this can be the difference between ‘clear and simple’ or ‘busy and complicated’. The BL are looking for feedback from users and encouraged us all to take a look and send them our views.