Catalog Maintenance and Authority Control in Discovery Systems: A Survey of Early Adopters

Catalog Maintenance and Authority Control in Discovery Systems: A Survey of Early Adopters

Pamela Harpel-Burke (Hofstra University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1821-3.ch027
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With the implementation of discovery systems, cataloging maintenance and authority control activities need to be re-evaluated. The online survey product Qualtrics™1 was used to solicit completion of only one survey per library (275) who has adopted a discovery system. Questions about changes in tasks and staffing before and after implementation of commercial discovery systems (AquaBrowser®2, EBSCO Discovery Services™3, Encore™4, Primo®5, Summon™6, and WorldCat®7 Local) were central to the survey. Ninety-eight libraries responded with usable surveys (36% response rate). Results indicated that there were no significant differences between maintenance and authority control tasks before and after discovery implementation. Although the length of time since implementation compared to workflow changes indicates that change decreases over time, effects of the discovery system may not yet have reached maintenance and authority control staff. Cataloging staff were also surveyed to measure their awareness on how local holdings in the new discovery environment are presented to the public. Results also indicate that significantly more survey respondents anticipate that their legacy OPAC will persist alongside their discovery system.
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Web-scale discovery systems are the most recent configuration in the evolution of library collection finding tools. Originally, the online public access catalog (OPAC) searched and retrieved results only for locally-held materials, providing local information such as shelving location and circulation status. As libraries began to provide materials outside of the OPAC, such as electronic databases and full-text journal articles, separate indexes were mounted on their Web sites. In order to complete a search of the library’s resources beyond the OPAC, users were compelled to consult several disparate silos of information on the library’s Web site. In an attempt to address this disjointed approach to information and service delivery, federated search or metasearch products such as, WebFeat®8 and MetaLib®9, became available.

Federated search takes real-time queries and broadcasts them to multiple information targets, such as the integrated library system (ILS), digital collections, proprietary databases, i.e., ProQuest®10, EBSCOhost®11, etc. (Breeding, 2010). Although this approach addressed the problem of users being forced to consult several separate indexes and catalogs, additional problems arose. With no centralized indexes, results of the search were scattered and often only a limited number of results from each database were retrieved. All of these factors combined to make it tedious to determine relevancy rankings for results.

The next stage in the OPAC’s evolution was the next-generation discovery interface. The simple vision was to provide a single point of entry to both remote and local content and services offered by the library (Breeding, 2010). In addition to a single search box, the next-generation discovery interface offers faceted navigation, search aids (i.e., did you mean?), relevance ranked results, and displays such as book covers and summaries. Initial products focused on technology and locally-installed software. This approach was based more on products that were locally installed. In this study, AquaBrowser®, Ex-Libris’ Primo® and Innovative Interfaces’®12 Encore™ are examples of these interfaces.

The current phase of discovery systems focuses on pre-populated indexes that strive to provide Web-scale discovery (Breeding, 2010). These indexes generally include harvested local content (ILS, digital collections) and harvested vendor-supplied indexes of library content (electronic journals, research databases, and full-text of articles). Along with other amenities from the discovery interface, the single search box remains. Searches now successfully reach outside of the local library’s collection. In this study, Web-scale discovery services include EBSCO Discovery Services™ (EDS™), Serials Solutions’ Summon™ , OCLC’s WorldCat® Local, Ex-Libris’ Primo Central™ , and Innovative Interfaces’® Encore Synergy™ .

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