This paper supplements the panel, which was delivered in a “Lively Lunch” format and included presentations by librarians who have employed EBSCO’s Discovery System (EDS) in their academic institutions. The panelists addressed several important aspects of launching a discovery system in an academic library, such as Implementation; Information Literacy; and Assessment, Usability and Customization. The implementation component included technical aspects, business requirements, enhancing the operability of link resolvers, launch preparation, and implementation success. The information literacy portion addressed how academic reference services and library instruction have been transformed because of EDS. Assessment, Usability and Customization focused on customizing the search box and assessing EDS using statistics and usability testing. Michael Gorrell, Executive Vice President of Technology and Chief Information Officer of EBSCO Publishing, was present, and a Q&A time was scheduled at the end of each session for audience members to ask questions, comment, and share experiences.
The implementation process of a Discovery Service involves many different aspects and is a large undertaking for any library. Depending on the size of the library, its technology infrastructure, and the number of staff involved, the implementation time can vary greatly. In addition, the planning processes and the considerations made prior to implementation are also affected by the nature and needs of end-users in these institutions. Selecting the resources to include in the discovery service, resolving technical issues, developing a strategy to publicize and market to end-users, and assessing and customizing the product are all part of a continuous course of implementing Discovery Services—a process that begins long before implementation and has no fixed completion. This process involves a collaborative and consorted effort from all areas of librarian expertise, from technical services to public services. The simplicity and comprehensiveness of discovery tools redefine how libraries deliver services across the board, changing the expectations users have of the experience of searching library resources and challenging librarians to redesign instruction and teach information literacy in new ways.
These considerations and our own experience with implementing EBSCO’s Discovery System (EDS) at the University of South Florida prompted us to open up a discussion across university and college libraries in the U.S. and across librarian functions, technical, and public services, in order to share, discuss, and learn from each other the lessons of Discovery Service implementation and use. We wanted to focus on the continuous nature of this process, involving the user perspective, as well as the perspective of the vendor, EBSCO. We believe that talking with our colleagues and collaborating with publishers makes us much better positioned to anticipate the changing needs of users and enhance the experience, accessibility, and discoverability of library content.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/athenahoeppner/1/