Webscale Discovery Tools: A Solution for Inestimable Online Resources

Webscale Discovery Tools: A Solution for Inestimable Online Resources

Aswathy S. (Indian Space Research Organisation, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8178-1.ch005
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Due to the overwhelming increase in the electronic resources and databases, there is a difficulty in searching and locating the exact piece of information and at this context, resource discovery tools or web-scale discovery services emerged. No person is capable to cope up with all the information / literature available in electronic sources. At this point, resource discovery tools are providing a helping hand to find the precise information at the user's point of view. This chapter deals with various concepts, definitions, needs, type of services offered and different providers of discovery tools are discussed.
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For the sake of convenience of searching the resources, the integration of internet and library catalogues were in discussion for past several years. A single search interface which will combine all the results from library databases, catalogues, electronic resources etc are much more appealing than searching each in separate windows. Web-scale discovery services, through the view of Vaughan (2011) are combining vast repositories of content with accessible, intuitive interfaces; hold the potential to greatly facilitate the research process. While the technologies underlying such services are not new, commercial vendors releasing such services, and their work and agreements with publishers and aggregators to pre-index content, is very new. Web-scale discovery services are able to index a variety of content, whether hosted locally or remotely. Such content can include library ILS records, digital collections, institutional repository content, and content from locally developed and hosted databases. Such capabilities existed, to varying degrees, in next-generation library catalogs that debuted in the mid 2000s. In addition, web-scale discovery services pre–index remotely hosted content, whether purchased or licensed by the library. This latter set of content—hundreds of millions of items—can include items such as e-books, publisher or aggregator content for tens of thousands of full-text journals, content from abstracting and indexing databases, and materials housed in open-access repositories. Resource discovery tool not an equivalent to “Googling” something, but it is an evolved function that proposes better results for the library / information users.

Sedwick, M (2012) is of the view that libraries now navigate inexorable turbulence in an information environment irreversibly tainted since the advent of the Internet and migration to digital formats and hence Libraries are struggling with a new flora and fauna which help users in discovering scholarly content, including search engines, social networks, and websites from scholarly societies, academic communities, publishers, and journals. As a result, libraries are no longer the initial point for research, and now a day even it is not considered as necessarily integral to scholars’ research work-flow. And hence, the future of libraries and librarians role became uncertain. Powell, A (2012) says that the magnitude of the sea change in the scholarly communications ecosystem has prompted recognition of a “new norm” that mirrors the new realities for information users and providers in larger society. The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project has identified eight new realities within the emerging information landscape in the United States, Rainie, L (2012):

  • The world is full of networked individuals using networked information.

  • The 4 V’s of information change are characterized by the physics principles of volume, velocity, vibrancy, and valence/relevance.

  • People are shifting information channels to consult upwards to six online platforms (for news) on a typical day.

  • People are not ‘platform zealots’ and, rather, move easily among and to platforms that they perceive to meet their needs, requirements, or expectations.

  • People increasingly expect portable (mobile) and participatory information ex-changes.

  • People also increasingly expect that information exchange is personal and there-fore customized.

  • Influence is migrating from organizations to networks and new “experts.”

  • Social networks are more influential and are differently segmented and layered.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Meta Search Engines: Metasearch engines take input from a user and simultaneously send out queries to third party search engines for results. Sufficient data is gathered, formatted by their ranks and presented to the user.

RSS: Originally RDF Site Summary; often called Really Simple Syndication , uses a family of standard web feed formats to publish frequently updated information: blog entries, news headlines, audio, video.

DOAJ: DOAJ stands for Directory of Open Access Journals, a website that lists open access journals and is maintained by Infrastructure Services for Open Access.

Federated Search: Is an information retrieval technology that allows the simultaneous search of multiple searchable resources.

Worldcat: Is a union catalog that enumerates the collections of around 72,000 libraries in 170 countries and territories that participate in the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) global cooperative and it is operated by OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc. while its data base is maintained collectively by the participating libraries.

Webscale Discovery: Web scale discovery services are a tool with major potential to transform the nature of library systems which are capable of searching quickly and seamlessly across a vast range of local and remote content and providing relevancy-ranked results in the type of intuitive interface that today’s information seekers expect.

OPAC: OPAC stands for Online Public Access Catalogue is an online database of materials held by a library or group of libraries through which users search a library catalog principally to locate books and other material available at a library.

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