Digital delivery of journals and ebooks allows libraries to hold vastly more information than they have room to store. With this explosion in the size of the library catalogue libraries and publishers have their work cut out to make resources as findable as possible. This is especially important when taking into account that good discoverability practices drive usage of library resources. The good news is, there are plenty of tools and techniques librarians can use to assist with greater discoverability.
The additional metadata provided by comprehensive MARC records allows search engines to find a resource for a keyphrase search and locate a record within a classification system. With Table Of Contents information now included, MARC records from Springer provide even more detailed metadata. Lots more information, including a new MARC records implementation guide, is available at on the website.
Commercial Search Solutions are available to power the library search box with the latest in indexing and cataloguing technology. Springer work closely with many third parties, including Serial Solutions, EBSCO, and Ex Libris, to ensure they have up-to-date metadata on all Springer publications. And for OCLC members the Library Links service can take users directly from Google Scholar to full text resources via a library’s link resolver:
Good solid SEO practices really do help students and researchers to locate library portals. When was the last time you dusted down your metadata or added to your news page? Over 200 factors are taken into account by Google when it decides how to index a webpage. This might seem overwhelming but they do release guidelines to help webmasters optimize the websites for good search rankings:
Every library is unique, and this goes for the library portal as well as the collection that lies behind it. Usability studies, even qualitative or anecdotal feedback based on surveys, will help you understand how to get patrons from the entry page to the resources they need as quickly as possible. And if they can get what they want quickly and easily they’ll come back for more. Usability can be about cutting out unnecessary pages, removing irrelevant information, structuring the path to resources and using design and labelling in a way that users understand.
(And for a frightening insight into what your users may not understand read this summary of library usability studies: Library Terms that Users Understand
Social Media is less about users finding the library, and more about them accessing librarians for help and support. It offers two great advantages for librarians, an arena to engage directly with library patrons online and the ability to do so in front of the whole library community. So questions that are answered on a Facebook page or on Twitter are there for other users to see rather than answering constant emails on the same topic. Engaging directly with users and signposting the way to information is at the heart of what librarians do, social media simply provides an additional channel through which to do it.
Finally, the Springer Discoverability Review tries to reveal any obstacles to discoverability that may be affecting usage of your library portal and your Springer titles. Your portal and your institution are unique so there’s no technological short cut employed here. We’ll log in to your site as a user and try to locate resources using keywords from the titles and the body of the text using both browse and search. This detailed partnership approach goes above and beyond the traditional relationship between publisher and library, allowing us to work together to drive the discoverability of library titles.
Ensuring the best possible discoverability of e-resources is a complex task that involves the latest technology and standards, but also goes to the heart of the way a library operates. Discoverability is a key on-going issue for Springer; stay tuned for more news on discovery-related events and information.