Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Exploring Discovery: The Front Door to Your Library's Licensed and Digitized Content

Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Exploring Discovery: The Front Door to Your Library's Licensed and Digitized Content

Article excerpt

Exploring Discovery: The Front Door to Your Library's Licensed and Digitized Content. Edited by Kenneth J. Varnum. Chicago: ALA, 2016. 304 p. Paper $95 (ISBN: 978-0-8389-1414-4).

Consistently providing users with a reliable and thorough way to search the library's resources is a daunting and exhausting process. Every system and solution has its own perks and pitfalls, but determining how a system will integrate at your library can seem impossible. Exploring Discovery: The Front Door to Your Library's Licensed and Digitized Content attempts to provide a window into how other libraries have approached their own problems with discovery and exposes both the successes and the challenges they have encountered.

The book is divided into four parts, each covering a major topic in the world of discovery tools--vended discovery systems, custom discovery systems, interfaces, and content and metadata. The nineteen chapters are each written by different contributors from varying institutions. The majority of libraries are academic, although several public libraries and even the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Archives make appearances. No matter the library or solution, each chapter emphasizes the notion that library discovery is often cobbled together through a multitude of disparate systems, many of which do not "play nice" with one another. Even with the addition of a web-scale discovery system, there are still systems that will lag behind or that simply are unable to be integrated. Although some libraries do their best to alleviate that problem with one solution or another, the book underscores the fact that there is no silver bullet. Instead, each institution identifies and addresses a core problem, including creating a "magical" item-requesting experience, using bento-box design to demystify search results, exposing "hidden" resources within the library, and using system APIs to create a custom tool or application that fits the library's needs exactly. …

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