Thursday, November 12, 2009

Is Google Winning?

If you do a Google image search on the word "library," you will get photos of books.

But in 2006-07, average ARL library spent 47% of its materials budget on electronic resources.

Anne Prestamo of Oklahoma State University provided tips on how to improve this perception by improving access to electronic resources.

While libraries license access to many electronic resources, users must access each resource separately via its particular provider's entrance points.

At Oklahoma State, the Library implemented AquaBrowser Library, a next generation catalog from Serials Solutions, for users to search across the Library's catalog and electronic resources.

While the idea of a Googlesque single search box has its detractors in the library world, Prestamo presented statistics supporting the use of federated search and next-gen interfaces.

Federated search has increased traffic to abstracting and indexing databases, dramatically decreasing cost per search and cost per article download.

OSU's implementation of AquaBrowser, locally known as the Big Orange Search System or BOSS, was also more likely to return results than searches in the traditional OPAC as more information is indexed and the the next-gen catalog performs several different types of searches without the user specifying it do so.

And while one of the common concerns about next-gen catalogs is that it discourages subject searching, Prestamo discovered that 22.5 percent of searches in BOSS used limit/refine elements, most commonly topic and format, which is pulled directly from subject headings. Meanwhile, just 5.5 percent of traditional catalog searches were subject searches.

Prestamo also offered a few tips she would like to see in an ideal next-gen system:

  • Simple yet powerful interface
  • Faster query time
  • Consistent results
  • Improved relevancy ranking
  • Powerful refine tools
  • Improved linking
  • Format agnostic
- Lori Ann Saeki

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