The American Library Association conferences, both Annual and Midwinter continue to be important events for me as I strive to keep current with events and trends in the realm of library technologies. The exhibits bring together almost all the organizations that offer technology oriented products and services for libraries. For the last couple of years, I have covered the Annual Conference for American Libraries. The article only gives some of the highlights, reflecting some of the trends and new products I observed this year.
Technology, as always, was on display at the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago. Consistent with the strong attendance figures, activity in the exhibit hall seemed especially brisk this year. As the largest exhibition of library-oriented technology and content products worldwide, ALA Annual offers librarians a unique opportunity to review the latest offerings from nearly every significant vendor in North America. US libraries spend $450 million annually on technology products or services, so setting aside some time in the exhibit hall helps buyers make wise investment decisions.
Participate in a Survey of Library Discovery Products
Please participate in a survey on discovery products conducted through Library Technology Guides. Discovery products aim to provide enhanced access to the different dimensions of a library’s collections, usually spanning print, digital, and electronic resources. These discovery products supplement or replace the online catalog module of an integrated library system.
Definition: A discovery product consists of an interface directed toward the users of a library to find materials in its collections and subsequently to gain access to items of interest through the appropriate mechanisms. Discovery products tend to be independent from the specific applications that libraries implement to manage resources, such as integrated library systems, library services platforms, repository platforms, or electronic resource management systems. In most cases they provide access to multiple types of materials, independently of the management platform involved. Discovery products provide an interface with search and retrieval capabilities, often with features such as relevancy-based ordering of search results, facets presented that can be selected to narrow results according to specific categories, contributors, or date ranges, and tools to identify related materials or to refine search queries. Discovery products will use mechanisms appropriate to location, content type and license arrangement to provide access to materials. These mechanisms might include identifying the current location and status of a physical item with service options to request the item be held or delivered, to provide linking or direct viewing or download of articles, chapters, e-books, or other textual items available electronically, and presentation of digital images or multi-media content. Discovery products may also have social features that enable library patrons to comment, review, rate, or recommend content items or to interact dynamically with other patrons.
The survey aims to collect data from libraries that use any of the major discovery products, including ratings of overall satisfaction, its effectiveness for different audiences, such as undergraduate students, graduate students or faculty served by an academic library or the general public served by public libraries. The survey also aims to measure how comprehensively the discovery product addresses the library’s collection, how effectively it calculates relevancy, and whether or not it conveys results objectively or with a bias toward specific types or sources of content.
The study also aims to measure the numbers libraries that have not implemented discovery products. If your library has not implemented one, please respond and simply indicate "None." It would be helpful to provide as a comment any reasons for not implementing, such as cost, lack of need, or use of alternative products.
Only one response per library is allowed. The survey should be completed by or in consultation with the persons in your library that deal most closely with electronic resources and your linking product.
How to participate
The survey links each response to the listing for a library in the lib-web-cats directory. This connection provides the ability to correlate responses with the extensive library demographic data in lib-web-cats.
Find your library in lib-web-cats:
Select and view the listing for your library
Complete the form and write in your comments!
When viewing the entry for your library in lib-web-cats, please check for any incomplete or inaccurate information and let me know of any needed changes.
If your library isn't listed in lib-web-cats, please
submit its information.