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NISO Webinar: Keyword Search = "Improve Discovery Systems"

November 12, 2014
1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. (Eastern Time)

System Requirements: 

  • NISO has developed a quick tutorial, How to Participate in a NISO Web Event. Please view the recording, which is an overview of the web conferencing system and will help to answer the most commonly asked questions regarding participating in an online Webex event.
  • You will need a computer for the presentation 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 always 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.


About the Webinar

The "single search box" approach of web search engines like Google and Bing have forced libraries and system developers to rethink their whole approach to end-user searching for library and publisher resources and electronic content. Discovery systems are continuing to evolve from simple keyword search systems, to more elaborate indexed discovery, to new forms of usage-based discovery and beyond. Because discovery of content is such a critical component of library services, understanding in what potential ways these systems will develop is critical for library staff, either when selecting a system, or seeking ways to improve its service. NISO launched a research study in early 2014 on the status of discovery systems, their potential future development directions, and the systems interoperability needs of these services.

This webinar will cover some of the latest developments of library discovery systems as well as discuss the findings of the NISO research study, and the implications of those results.


Agenda & Event Slides


Todd Carpenter, Executive Director, NISO

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Differential Discovery: Effect of Discovery on Online Journal Usage
John McDonald, Associate Dean, Collections, University of Southern California Libraries
Jason Price, Program Manager, Statewide California Electronic Library Consortium (SCELC)

In the first large-scale study of the effect of discovery systems on online journals usage, the authors developed a statistically significant model that determined that the four major discovery systems affect various publishers and a range of academic libraries to different degrees. The authors will provide an overview of that research and also present some hypotheses for why there are differential effects across discovery systems on usage and discuss potential methods that vendors, libraries, and publishers can implement to customize and localize the performance of the discovery system for improved journal usage or other possible effects that libraries have in mind when implementing a discovery system.

John McDonald is the Associate Dean for Collections at the University of Southern California Libraries. He has published a number of articles on collection development and information usage behaviors, with a focus on statistical analysis of data. He is on the Board of Directors for the SCELC Consortium, and has previously served on the board for COUNTER and a number of library publisher and vendor advisory board.

Jason S. Price is Program Manager at the Statewide California Electronic Library Consortium (SCELC). He earned a doctorate in plant evolutionary ecology from Indiana University Bloomington where he gained in depth experience as a teacher and researcher. He thoroughly enjoys applying data analysis skills he developed during graduate school to current library challenges.

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A Single Search Box is Definitely Not Enough
Steve Guttman, Senior Director of Product Management, ProQuest

Everyone gets excited about the concept of a single search box and the amount of content that is available for discovery. ProQuest recognizes the importance of both—but there’s so much more to delivering a good research experience. Users need better access to content, more librarian guidance, and tools to store, share and collaborate the content that they are accessing. Over the past year ProQuest has enriched its discovery services with the understanding that user experience matters, and that institutional enrichment, patron insights and researcher workflow are keys to ensuring users maximize what the library has to offer through discovery. This session will bring forward a fresh perspective on how a librarian- and user-centric approach with discovery can influence both academic and institutional outcomes.

Steve Guttman is a senior director of product management for ProQuest. In this role he leads a dynamic team of product managers dedicated to developing solutions for discovery, researcher workflow and researcher profile services. He is passionate about improving the user experience, developing integrated researcher solutions and increasing access to library resources. Steve also serves as a member of the Open Discovery Initiative, a NISO Working Group which is defining standards and best practices for new generation of library discovery services that are based on indexed search.

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Library Resource Discovery: Next Steps
Marshall Breeding, Library Consultant, librarytechnology.org

Based on issues covered in an upcoming NISO white paper he is developing, Marshall Breeding will discuss some of the anticipated developments that might benefit the arena of library resource discovery. Some themes will include the gaps in the current generation of discovery services relative to library expectations, role of linked data to enhance discovery, the possibilities for open source software and open access discovery indexes, and some other future trends in the development of discovery services.

Marshall Breeding is an independent consultant, speaker, and author. He is the creator and editor of Library Technology Guides and the libraries.org 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 Library Systems Report published by Library Journal from 2002-2013 and by American Libraries since 2014. 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.

Marshall Breeding held a variety of positions for the Vanderbilt University Libraries in Nashville, TN from 1985 through May 2012, including as Director for Innovative Technologies and Research as the Executive Director the Vanderbilt Television News Archive.

Breeding was the 2010 recipient of the LITA LITA/Library Hi Tech Award for Outstanding Communication for Continuing Education in Library and Information Science.

Event Q&A

Did you eliminate institutions that replaced "metasearch" with aggregated discovery service?

Study-future? How much effect does how much or how well librarians train users?

Do you have access to referrer data? Are more full-text requests coming from WSDS and less from Google or A&I services?

One of the challenges in large aggregations is diverse vocabulary schemes used in source metadata, particularly subjects... To what extent does this hinder user discovery and what should be done?

(Steve Guttman, Proquest): There are several ways that vocabulary differences are compensated for by Discovery engines. First, like traditional Search engines, Discovery services can accommodate synonym dictionaries, which essentially perform searches using the input term/phrase and its equivlents. That assumes the synonyms have been defined and incorporated into the system.

For the most part, however, Discovery services can usually generate good results even without these synonyms. Because modern Discovery services are based on full text indexes, they use more than metadata in the calculation of relevance. While the metadata may use specific terms to describe the content, it's highly likely that the full-text will use a wider variety of terms. If it does, the presence of those terms will make the article/holding more relevant and rank it more highly in the search results.

A number of comments have been made with this phrasing "If discovery is working well, then ...." How would the panelists define "working well" and advise librarians to think about the criteria for judging "working well"?

(SG): I think that when a business is working well, it's satisfying its customers and its stakeholders. In the case of Discovery, I would judge "working well" to mean that use of the service is increasing on a per-person basis, and that users are finding the materials they are looking for (identifies via survey or other means). One can argue whether increasing use means people are finding what they need, or not finding it. But, my belief and experience is that when a service works well, people use it more.

In the case of stakeholders (institution management), I suspect "success" is defined as knowledge that their investment is well spent--that the library can establish that subscribed-to content is being used and there are metrics which ​show patron engagement. 


If paying by credit card, register online.

If paying by check, please use this PDF form.

Registration closes on November 12, 2014 at 12:00 p.m. (ET)

SAVE! Register for multiple events.

Registration Costs 

  • NISO Member
    • $95.00 (US and Canada)
    • $109.00 (International)
  • NASIG Member
    • $95.00
  • Non-Member
    • $125.00 (US and Canada)
    • $149.00 (International)
  • Student
    • $49.00

Additional Information

  • Registration closes at 12:00 p.m. (ET) on November 12, 2014. Cancellations made by November 5, 2013 will receive a refund, less a $25 cancellation. After that date, there are no refunds.
  • Registrants will receive detailed instructions about accessing the webinar 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.
  • If you have not received your Login Instruction email by 10:00 a.m. (ET) on the Tuesday before the webinar, at please contact the NISO office or email Juliana Wood, Educational Programs Manager at jwood@niso.org for immediate assistance.
  • Registration is per site (access for one computer) and includes access to the online recorded archive of the webinar. You may have as many people as you like from the registrant's organization view the webinar 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 Juliana Wood to provide alternate contact information.
  • Library Standards Alliance (LSA) members receive one free webinar connection as part of their membership and DO NOT need to register for the event for this free connection. Your webinar contact will receive the login instructions the Monday before the event. You may have as many people as you like from the member's library view the webinar from that one connection. If you need additional connections beyond the free one, then you will need to enter a paid registration (at the member rate) for each additional connection required.
  • Webinar presentation slides and Q&A will be posted to the site following the live webinar.
  • Registrants and LSA member webinar contacts will receive an e-mail message containing access information to the archived webinar recording within 48 hours after the event. This recording access is only to be used by the registrant's or member's organization.