Reflections on teaching and tweaking a discovery layer

Amy F. Fyn (Library Teaching and Learning, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio, USA and Kimbel Library, Coastal Carolina University, Conway, South Carolina, USA)
Vera Lux and Robert J. Snyder (Library Teaching and Learning, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio, USA)

Reference Services Review

ISSN: 0090-7324

Publication date: 15 February 2013



The purpose of this paper is to test the hypotheses that led to the selection and implementation of a number of customizable features in Serials Solutions' “Summon” discovery layer tool.


Undergraduate students were surveyed to determine their preferences regarding certain customizable features in the Summon discovery layer tool.


The authors were most interested in asking students their preferences regarding the ability to add newspapers and outside resources into their search results, as well as their interest in the database recommendation feature. The default Summon settings were selected based on hypotheses grounded in the knowledge of information seeking behavior of undergraduate students. However, it was discovered that the student preferences uncovered through the use of the survey often ran counter to initial assumptions. The results of the case study indicate that this population of students is overwhelmingly interested in having Summon recommend databases in which students might continue their research. However, the results were not as clear regarding the inclusion of newspaper sources and sources from outside the institution in the search results.


The paper's findings demonstrate the importance of supplementing research‐driven hypotheses with specific data‐driven feedback from users when determining the customization and layout of library research tools and technology.



Fyn, A., Lux, V. and Snyder, R. (2013), "Reflections on teaching and tweaking a discovery layer", Reference Services Review, Vol. 41 No. 1, pp. 113-124.

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