Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Computers in Libraries Day 1: Discovery Track

For the first day of Computers in Libraries, I attended presentations on discovery services. (I also presented a modified version of this in the expo hall between sessions.)

Mary Ellen Bates' "Super Searching" kicked off the discovery track, which was a slightly awkward fit. Bates presents this every year, and I try to go at least every other year to see what's out there in terms of tricks and tips that I don't know about topass along to students, faculty and staff. She's helpfully posted her slide deck online

Some takeaways from that session: has servers based in Germany, away from the prying eyes of the National Security Agency and Google. It also has robust search functionalities for twitter. is potentially useful for searching social media. 

There's more that wasn't new to me, but may be new to you. It's worth a look, especially if you spend time on the reference or circulation desks. 

Marshall Breeding plugged the Open Discovery Initiative, which is worth keeping an eye on as it promotes transparency, and presented survey data that showed discrepancies between how discovery systems are viewed as effective, yet at the same time seen as biased. Given the data, a non-trivial number of librarians seem to think that effectiveness and bias are not mutually exclusive. 

In the first post-lunch session, Summon's Eddie Neuwirth presented data that shows how their product is used. In sum, that looks a lot like Google, complete with natural language searches, 45% of which are three words or less. Other search engine-esque uses of Summon include users not looking beyond the second page of results and typing typos when searching.

What's next for Discovery? Letting members of our community personalize and customize 

For more "future of discovery" fun, I took a pic of a slide from the next presentation, because I am "that guy." 

And then there was food. And beer. And more food. And beer. 

Crabcake, pretzel, decent beer? That'll do. 

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a good group of sessions. For the "Super Searching" resources, I've been aware of Google Scholar library for a while but haven't had the time to really explore it yet. I think this reminder will get me to do so. And I've used the "(product) vs." search to find alternatives a bunch of times--great tip!

    And that's interesting about how Discovery services are being used similar to search engines, but not particularly surprising I suppose, since we often bill them as "an academic Google" or something similar. I'm still asking myself whether that's a good approach or not.