Home | News & Events | Events | 2013 Events | NISO Virtual Conferences | November 20: Web-Scale Discovery Services: Transforming Access to Library Resources

NISO Virtual Conference: Web-Scale Discovery Services: Transforming Access to Library Resources

November 20, 2013
11:00 - 5:00 p.m. (Eastern Time)

  • About the Conference
  • Agenda
  • Event Slides
  • Registration
    Can't make it on the conference day? Register now and gain access to the archive for one year.
  • System Requirements:
    You will need a computer for the presentations and Q&A. Audio is available through the computer (broadcast) and by telephone. We recommend you have a set-up for telephone audio as back-up even if you plan to use the broadcast audio as the voice over Internet isn't 100% reliable.
    Please check your system in advance to make sure it meets the Cisco WebEx requirements. It is your responsibility to ensure that your system is properly set up before each webinar begins.

Event Slides


About the Virtual Conference

Web-scale Discovery Services are becoming an integral part of libraries' information gathering arsenal. These services are able to use a single interface to seamlessly integrate results from a wide range of online sources, emulating the experience patrons have come to expect from Internet search engines. But despite their ability to streamline searching, discovery services provide a wide set of challenges for libraries who implement them. This virtual conference will touch on both the potential of discovery services as well as some of the issues involved.


11:00 a.m. – 11:10 a.m. – Introduction
Todd Carpenter,
Executive Director, NISO

11:10 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – Keynote: Library Discovery: Past, Present and Some Futures
Lorcan Dempsey, Vice President, OCLC Research and Chief Strategist

This presentation will consider the factors which led to the current focus on integrated discovery layers, discuss some characteristics of the general network discovery environment in which libraries sit, and then suggest some emerging trends and issues in library discovery. In this way it will provide some broader context for the following presentations.

Lorcan Dempsey oversees the research division and participates in planning at OCLC. He is a librarian who has worked for library and educational organizations in Ireland, England and the US.

Lorcan has policy, research and service development experience, mostly in the area of networked information and digital libraries. He writes and speaks extensively, and can be followed on the web at Lorcan Dempsey's weblog and on twitter. Before moving to OCLC Lorcan worked for JISC in the UK, overseeing national information programs and services, and before that was Director of UKOLN a national UK research and policy unit at the University of Bath. 

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12:00 p.m. – 12:45 p.m. – Selecting a Web-scale Discovery Service: Evaluating the Options
Amy Hoseth,
Coordinator for Onsite Services, Colorado State University Libraries

Web-scale discovery tools, which enable users to quickly and easily search across a broad range of library content, are under consideration by many academic libraries. However, selecting the right tool for your organization can pose a number of challenges. In 2010 the Colorado State University Libraries formed a cross-functional committee that conducted an extensive review of the “big four” web-scale discovery services (EBSCO Discovery Service, Primo Central, Summon, and WorldCat Local) in order to recommend one for purchase. Based on that experience, this presentation will suggest five key criteria to consider when evaluating and selecting web-scale discovery tools for your institution.

Amy Hoseth is an associate professor and Coordinator for Onsite Services at the Colorado State University Libraries in Fort Collins, where she oversees Access Services and Help Desk operations. She received her MLS from the University of Maryland at College Park. Prior to joining the faculty at Colorado State, Amy worked at the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) where she provided user support and communications for LibQUAL+™.

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12:45 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. – Lunch Break

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1:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. – Why Web-scale Discovery Means the End of Build vs. Buy  
Cody Hanson, Acting Director, Web Development, University of Minnesota University Libraries

The challenges of licensing, aggregating, and indexing necessary metadata put the possibility of building a web-scale discovery system outside the reach of most if not all libraries. Successful implementation of a third-party web-scale discovery system requires nuanced local configuration and attention to user experience that goes far beyond an out-of-the-box implementation. In short, web-scale discovery requires libraries to both buy and build.

Cody Hanson is the acting Director of Web Development at the University of Minnesota Libraries, where he works on, among other things, Drupal and discovery. He co-chaired the University Libraries’ Discoverability task forces. He speaks, writes, and teaches on topics like libraries, user experience, and mobile.

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2:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. – Implementation: Delivering the Goods 
Michael Kucsak, Director of Library Systems and Technology, University of North Florida

Web scale discovery offer libraries the ability to deliver complete and direct access to their content in one easy to use search. Deploying an effective tool, however, is not always simple or intuitive. Implementing a system that integrates nearly all library content into a useable, patron friendly environment requires coordination, diligence and vision. Delivering the Goods discusses the University of North Florida Library’s award winning collaboration with EBSCO as they transformed the catalog into a modern discovery service.

Michael is a graduate of Florida State University's School of Library and Information Studies. As a professional librarian, Michael has worked for non-profit library consortia, public, private, k-12 and University libraries. He has consulted for all library types including the State Library of Florida. While in the private sector, Michael became a Six Sigma Black Belt. Today he combines his skills in process improvement with his experience in library technology as the Director of Library Systems and Technology for the University of North Florida. He continues to give workshops on topics that include process improvement in the library, eBooks, and enhanced discovery services.

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2:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. – Zen and the Art of Discovery Maintenance
Athena HoeppnerElectronic Resources Librarian, University of Central Florida Libraries

The choices made during implementation are echoed in the maintenance of the web scale discovery system. Both the discovery layer and the central index require on-going attention, updating, and tweaking. Most libraries expect schedule MARC loads from the catalog and OAI harvesting for digital collections. Libraries also need to be prepared to respond to less predictable catalysts – from the availability of new widgets or interface features, to new data providers in the index, to changes in local authentication systems. This presentation outlines the types of maintenance libraries can expect after implementing their WSD.

Athena Hoeppner is the Electronic Resources Librarian at the University of Central Florida. She has 17 years of department-spanning experience in academic libraries. Her career began in Reference and Instruction and indulged her love of user services, then moved to Library Systems, indulging a fascination with computers and technology. Athena now resides in Acquisitions where she coordinates the eResources collection and maintains systems that provide and enhance access.

Athena's work and research center on applying technology to connect users to content. Her projects explore usability, user interfaces, and technology for improving discovery of, and access to, information.

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3:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. – Afternoon Break

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3:15 p.m. – 3:45 p.m. – The Library with a Thousand Databases: Web Scale Discovery and The Hero's Journey 
Matthew ReidsmaWeb Services Librarian, Grand Valley State University Libraries 

In his book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell laid out a narrative pattern he saw across myths, stories, and religious rituals that he called The Hero's Journey. The hero moved out of the ordinary world into the "special realm," where s/he encountered all manner of obstacles before coming back to the ordinary world transformed.

As librarians, it's easy for us to forget that many patrons leave the ordinary world for the "special realm" of library research databases when they use our services. For decades, these tools have been disconnected, proprietary tools that require a truly epic amount of effort from our hero/patrons if they are to find their treasure (usually articles, books, or citations). But it doesn't have to be this way. We can make the journey easier for our patrons with the right tools and an eye toward improving the search experience.

At Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan, Matthew makes library websites better for the people who use them, and is the co-founder and editor-in-chief for Weave Journal of Library User Experience. He holds a Masters of Library and Information Science from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee and a Masters of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School.

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3:45 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. –  Update on the NISO Open Discovery Initiative 
Marshall Breeding, 
Independent Consultant and co-chair, NISO Open Discovery Initiative

The Open Discovery Initiative (ODI) aims at defining standards and/or best practices for the new generation of library discovery services that are based on indexed search. These discovery services are primarily based upon indexes derived from journals, ebooks and other electronic information of a scholarly nature. The content comes from a range of information providers and products--commercial, open access, institutional, etc. Marshall Breeding, co-chair of this NISO Working Group, will give an update on the initiative, including the currently the drafted recommended practice, Promoting Transparency in Discovery, now open for public comments.

Marshall Breeding is an independent consultant, speaker, and author. He is the creator and editor of Library Technology Guides and the lib-web-cats online directory of libraries on the Web. His monthly column Systems Librarian appears in Computers in Libraries; he is the Editor for Smart Libraries Newsletter  published by the American Library Association, and has authored the annual Automation Marketplace feature published by Library Journal since 2002. He has authored nine issues of ALA’s Library Technology Reports, and has written many other articles and book chapters. Marshall has edited or authored seven books, including Cloud Computing for Libraries published by in 2012 by Neal-Schuman, now part of ALA TechSource. He regularly teaches workshops and gives presentations at library conferences on a wide range of topics.

He is a regular presenter at library conferences including Computers in Libraries and Internet Librarian conferences, has been a LITA Top Technology Trends panelist at ALA conferences has been an invited speaker for many library conferences and workshops throughout the United States and internationally.

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4:15 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. – Conference Roundtable
Presenters return for a Q&A discussion lead by Todd Carpenter, Executive Director, NISO


If paying by credit card, register online.

If paying by check, please use this PDF form.

Registration closes on November 19, 2013 at 12:00 pm Eastern.

Registration Costs

  • NISO Member
    • $185.00 (US and Canada)
    • $225.00 (International)
  • Non-Member
    • $245.00 (US and Canada)
    • $285.00 (International)
  • Student
    • $80.00

Additional Information

  • Registration closes at 12:00 pm Eastern on November 19, 2013. Cancellations made by November 13, 2013 will receive a refund, less a $35 cancellation. After that date, there are no refunds.

  • Registrants will receive detailed instructions about accessing the virtual conference via e-mail the Monday prior to the event. (Anyone registering between Monday and the close of registration will receive the message shortly after the registration is received, within normal business hours.) Due to the widespread use of spam blockers, filters, out of office messages, etc., it is your responsibility to contact the NISO office if you do not receive login instructions before the start of the webinar.

  • Registration is per site (access for one computer) and includes access to the online recorded archive of the conference. You may have as many people as you like from the registrant's organization view the conference from that one connection. If you need additional connections, you will need to enter a separate registration for each connection needed.

  • If you are registering someone else from your organization, either use that person's e-mail address when registering or contact the NISO office to provide alternate contact information.
  • Conference presentation slides and Q&A will be posted to this event webpage following the live conference.

  • Registrants will receive an e-mail message containing access information to the archived conference recording within 48 hours after the event. This recording access is only to be used by the registrant's organization.