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Ranking library materials

Dirk Lewandowski (Department of Information, Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, Hamburg, Germany)

Library Hi Tech

ISSN: 0737-8831

Article publication date: 20 November 2009




The purpose of this paper is to discuss ranking factors suitable for library materials and to show that ranking in general is a complex process and that ranking for library materials requires a variety of techniques.


The relevant literature is reviewed to provide a systematic overview of suitable ranking factors. The discussion is based on an overview of ranking factors used in web search engines.


While there are a wide variety of ranking factors applicable to library materials, today's library systems use only some of them. When designing a ranking component for the library catalogue, an individual weighting of applicable factors is necessary.

Research limitations/implications

While the paper discusses different factors, no particular ranking formula is given. However, the paper presents the argument that such a formula must always be individual to a certain use case.

Practical implications

The factors presented can be considered when designing a ranking component for a library's search system or when discussing such a project with an ILS vendor.


The paper is original in that it is the first to systematically discuss ranking of library materials based on the main factors used by web search engines.



Lewandowski, D. (2009), "Ranking library materials", Library Hi Tech, Vol. 27 No. 4, pp. 584-593.



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