We have now soft-launched Ebsco Discovery Service under the working title ‘Discover More in The Library’. What we eventually call the system is just one of the things up for discussion. There has been a small amount of publicity but we’re basically putting the system out there to be found, used and evaluated whilst it’s still under construction. We think this is the best way of testing, developing and customising EDS.
A basic service was up and running at the beginning of term (initially minus the Library Catalogue, currently still minus the Repository & federated connectors). As we only decided to go with Ebsco’s solution in June we are pretty impressed at the speed with which this system can be implemented.
Already we’ve had some useful feedback (mostly good) through word of mouth and via a link to Wallwisher, where users can say anything they like (minus swears…) about the system. Any negative feedback seems to stem from the fact that the system’s not perfect. And it may never be perfect for the users who want 100% coverage of our resources. We’ll be reinforcing this message through our training and publicity for EDS. My personal view is why keep something locked away for months when it could be providing user benefits? I’ve been on the help desk a lot recently and each user I’ve introduced to the system agrees that it’s easy to use and for general searching is a huge improvement on searching lots of separate databases individually. [Obviously we’ll need to do some more in-depth evaluation, and not rely solely on my anecdotal evidence…!]
The admin interface (one of our selection criteria) has also proved to be extensive in its capabilities and easy to get to grips with, plus the support from Ebsco has been regular and responsive, just as we’d hoped.
We are now about to embark on a library staff training exercise- so far, staff have shown just as much interest in how the system works behind the scenes as about how to help users search effectively. We’ll also be involving library staff from all areas in EDS development meetings. A full launch date is still planned for early 2012.
We are also looking at the best ways to involve more stakeholders in evaluating EDS– no firm details yet on these plans, but more free cake is high on the list of incentives…..