Exploring Discovery: The Front Door to Your Library’s Licensed and Digitized Content

Raewyn Adams (Clinical School Library, Bay of Plenty District Health Board, Tauranga, New Zealand)

The Electronic Library

ISSN: 0264-0473

Article publication date: 6 November 2017



Adams, R. (2017), "Exploring Discovery: The Front Door to Your Library’s Licensed and Digitized Content", The Electronic Library, Vol. 35 No. 6, pp. 1268-1269. https://doi.org/10.1108/EL-07-2017-0157



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

The concept of “discovery” is far from new; it has been around since acquisitions lists and library catalogues first appeared. The difference today is the sheer amount of published material and the number of services available to help librarians manage, access and disseminate selected information to patrons. And today, more than ever, the patrons themselves have access to a bewildering range of resources. To be comfortable in this fast-changing environment is challenging and a book such as this is a useful resource to enable librarians to choose at what level they want or need to engage with the new technology. Each chapter of the book is by a different author which immediately introduces a variety of styles and approaches. The short biographies provided are interesting to read before starting their respective chapters.

The book’s chapters are usefully divided into sections with a common theme. The section on purchased systems provides a variety of aspects from librarians’ experiences with different commercial vendors; selection and migration processes; and integration into existing library systems. Most of the libraries are academic, but there is an example of a consortium of public library, history centre and museum collection. For libraries that wish to take more control of the end results, often with cost savings in mind, there is a section on customisation in which the librarians have described their development of base-line products into tailor-made solutions for their particular needs. The third section on interfaces considers the topic from the user’s perspective. It considers the concepts of library discovery and web discovery with the integration of these into a single search point. Each of these chapters provides a different approach but the focus is clearly on customer service. I found these chapters the most readable and would have preferred this section to be first in the book. Finally, content aggregation, open-access and metadata are covered in the fourth section. This gives a more systems-focussed approach to the development and implementation of online discovery services.

Acronyms abound but are reliably spelt out the first time they occur, making the book a good source of information to learn just what all of these terms mean: WSD, OPAC, ILS, ERM, LSP, MARC, OCLC, RFP, SOA, CSS, etc. And that is just the first chapter. In fact, I found most of the acronyms reasonably familiar as terms, and this was an opportunity to learn what some actually stand for. Overall this is a comprehensive source of information for any librarian working with discovery services. It will seem very technical for less system-oriented readers but does not need to be read from cover to cover. For those actively engaged in the field, it is a valuable resource.

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