Discovering Our Library’s Resources: Vendor Tools Versus In-House Tools

Discovering Our Library’s Resources: Vendor Tools Versus In-House Tools

Amy S. Jackson (University of New Mexico, University Libraries, USA), Kevin Comerford (University of New Mexico, University Libraries, USA), Suzanne M. Schadl (University of New Mexico, University Libraries, USA) and Rebecca Lubas (University of New Mexico, University Libraries, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1821-3.ch019
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Abstract

The University Libraries (UL) at the University of New Mexico has experience implementing both a resource discovery tool from a standard library vendor and an in-house, custom built federated search using Drupal® as a Content Management System. The standard vendor-based resource discovery tool was the library’s first attempt at a federated search, and feedback from librarians and users was not always positive, largely because results seemed inconsistent and lacking clear relevance to the terms searched. The Drupal® approach proved to be straightforward to implement, very flexible, and customizable, but the project team determined it would not be scalable as a solution for searching the library’s entire collection. This chapter describes the UL’s experience with both tools, and provides best practices and recommendations for libraries considering either type of approach.
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Background

Content Management Systems (CMSs) have evolved significantly over the past 10 years (Souer et al., 2008) and as a result have become extremely popular alternatives for building sophisticated content-driven websites, particularly in the academic library community (Coombs, 2009). The advantage of CMS systems such as Drupal®2, Joomla®3, WordPress™4 and others is that they bundle together many prebuilt website components. These components include full-text searching, text and image formatting and display functions, system administration tools, and desirable end-user features, such as social media communication, commenting and collaboration tools. These features previously required a substantial amount of system administration and/or development time to implement on a standard website. With a good CMS package, it is now possible to set up and configure a full-featured website in several hours, without weeks or months of development time. In addition to effectively lowering development and implementation costs, many CMS systems are also freely available as open source software, making them extremely attractive solutions for library project needs.

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