October 24, 2007 -- Emeryville, CA—Innovative announced today the launch of its Encore discovery services platform at a dozen public and academic libraries around the world. In addition, the company announced that 70 libraries have selected the next-generation product. The deployment of Encore brings a full-featured discovery tool to users—uniting library collections, licensed-resource content, and the discovery process. To date, Encore has been selected by more libraries combined than any other next-generation library interface to both print and e-resources. Libraries are using Encore as a discovery platform compatible with leading ILS systems including Innovative's Millennium, Ex Libris Voyager, and Ex Libris Aleph, as well as deploying Encore with Innovative's federated search product, Research Pro, and other leading federated search tools.
Libraries currently live on the web with Encore are: Binghamton University [SUNY] (NY), Deakin University (Australia), Deschutes Public Library (OR), Georgetown University (DC), Michigan State University, Nashville Public Library (TN), Scottsdale Public Library System (AZ), University of Glasgow (Scotland), University of Kentucky, University of Queensland (Australia), Westerville Public Library (OH), and Yale University's Lillian Goldman Law Library (CT).
Key features of Encore's current version address many of the concerns expressed in the marketplace about the viability of the library online catalog. New features include: a single search box, ability to refine searches by multiple parameters, dynamically generated subject tag cloud displays, Did You Mean...?, Popular Choices and Recently Added suggestions, relevance ranking, detailed catalog-result information, enriched content, real-time holdings and status information for Millennium users, federated search results without the need for additional queries, and INN-Reach consortial-borrowing integration. Encore was designed using the latest web design techniques making it the most stylish and usable library interface ever created.
Encore's general release includes dozens more features including:
- Display of electronic resource records from the Innovative ERM and programs from Innovative's Program Registration module for Millennium
- Ability to change sort order from grouped relevance order to single list sorted by title or date
- Facets by collection, format, language, publication date, where query term found (Subject/Title/Author)
- Improvements to Right Result relevance-ranking algorithm to highlight exact serials-title matches
- Support for Voyager and Aleph ILS catalogs
Encore at Nashville Public Library (TN)
"Our Customers LOVE it!"
The installation of Encore at Nashville Public Library is a major turning point in its access services. "Our customers LOVE it!" says Suliang Feng, Technical Services Administrator [emphasis his]. They like the easy-use search interface, facets display, availability status, tag cloud, and Popular Choices highlighting 'don't miss these' materials among their current results."
"Encore opens a whole new door for people to find out what they can get from our library, because it can dig much deeper into our collection to locate requested information. We expect Encore will further improve customer satisfaction and result in higher system-wide circulation."
Library staff also recognize that Encore opens a new chapter in library technology. Says Feng: "Encore is a second-generation library tool. It is an excellent example to show the library community around the world that it is time to move on to the next-generation interface to improve service and operation."
Michigan State University
"Streamlines Finding Research Information"
Michigan State University has collected early feedback since the Encore launch. "User feedback shows that users find Encore easy to use," says Nancy Fleck, Assistant Director for Technical Services. "It was easy for them to refine their searches, and they loved the fact that they could see everything the library has to offer on one page. We are getting positive student survey responses like these:
- 'It was VERY easy to use.'
- 'It's just so different than the previous catalog.'
- 'I really liked being able to click on the same page to view if the item was checked out or available as well as the refining search tags.'
- 'It's easy to get hits from a search.'
- 'I like the ability to narrow down my search and I can see where the book is located easily.'
- 'I liked the look and one's ability to narrow results by tag and format.'"
Fleck continues: "We've also had good response from University faculty about Encore because it streamlines finding research information when there are so many possibilities offered by our library."
Michigan State was an early development partner for Encore. Says Fleck: "We were interested in working on this development team because we wanted to provide a new discovery tool that might help students and researchers find the information they needed in a new way. We felt we had the chance to really contribute to the discussion about how students would use Encore and what we felt needed to be a part of it."
University of Glasgow (Scotland)
"We've Made the Right Choice"
Glasgow University Library constantly strives to improve access to the information resources that it offers and Encore is a useful component in this process. "One example of this is the way in which Encore exposes the controlled vocabulary of subject headings in the form of tags," says Mark Denham, Head of Library Information Systems. "In recent trials here, a number of academics found items that they were sure that the Library did not have."
In an academic setting, getting information about literature is as important as finding the literature itself. "Encore is a great tool for getting at a topic, " says Systems Administrator Karen Stevenson. "A user studying Jane Austen will get 300+ results in Encore as they do in the WebPAC. Yet Encore also offers results simultaneously that give the user a range of possibilities. Were they looking for Jane Austen as an Author or as a Subject? The 'Search Found In' [subject, author or title] facet takes care of this. At Glasgow we strive to maintain high standards of bibliographic data including subject headings. It's great to see Encore promoting this useful subject information in a user-friendly format. Our initial user feedback suggests that, with Encore, we've made the right choice."
University of Glasgow will also add federated search results to Encore with Innovative's Research Pro to provide another conduit to access other information resources that the Library offers.
University of Kentucky
"I Think [Encore] Will Become a Quick Favorite"
University of Kentucky Library is using Encore as a discovery platform to their Ex Libris Voyager ILS. "From the University of Kentucky Library's point of view Encore quickly retrieves an enormous result set, and you can swiftly sift through your records to those of genuine interest," says Kelly M. Vickery, Associate Dean for Library Information Technology. Results from a recent survey of faculty and library staff tell the story:
"Searching by subject was marvelous!"
"It looks like Google and Amazon! I think students are really going to like this interface and feel very comfortable with it. It's so much faster to refine your search. I really like it! ... I think Encore will become a quick favorite with undergrads."
"I really, really like that it offers spelling suggestions and corrections. I really liked the idea of having links to journal databases—and how the subject headings are listed in the item record. On a related note, I like how the authors' names are linked and ready to be searched in the initial Encore record."
"Love the look--single box searching is very appealing for some of our users. The results pages contain a lot of information but they are clear and easy to read. Encore is a very similar experience to many popular websites today. I love it and I think our users will love it!"
Vickery continues: "The tag cloud shows the most popular subjects from your search and provides for rapid limiting to the combination of subjects in which the user is truly interested. Refining by facets allows for targeting the location and type of material you are interested in using. Encore is a wonderful discovery tool that will reveal much of the great information that the library provides to our users."
Scottsdale Public Library (AZ)
"It's a Different Mindset as Well as a Different Technology"
This June, Scottsdale Public Library implemented Encore for patrons using the system within library walls, placing the platform on all public access computers. At the start of August, Encore was launched on the Web and was presented as a second option on the main online catalog page.
Library staff have had this period of time to observe patron interaction with Encore. Says Systems Librarian Aimee Fifarek: "People come into a library and they are accustomed to having to learn the library's way of searching for materials. Today, we are teaching folks that they already know enough to find what they are looking for and we've seen them pleasantly surprised. We are teaching people about simplicity. It's a different mindset as well as a different technology for staff and patrons. Most are using it with no problem. Give them a one-minute walk-through and they are just fine."
Fifarek continues: "The name 'discovery services platform' is really true for Encore. You are not trying to do your search perfectly. You see what you get from your first try and keep going. The idea that a simple method can lead to sophisticated results is one of the 'light bulb' moments Encore can provide for both patrons and staff."
There's also been a positive staff reaction at the library. Says Fifarek: "Many on our staff are impressed with Encore because it's a nice middle ground between interfaces that overwhelm users and ones that are too sparse to expose content or give fruitful paths of exploration."
For more on the Library's development partnership with Innovative and their deployment of Encore, see Fifarek's forthcoming article, The Birth of Catalog 2.0: Innovative Interfaces' Encore Discovery Platform, in Library Hi Tech News, November 5, 2007 (pp. 13-15).
Binghamton University [SUNY] (NY)
"Encore Can Solve the 'Where Do I Go Next?' Dilemma"
Binghamton University launched Encore this summer as a discovery interface for the collection data in their Ex Libris Aleph ILS. Library staff conducted a usability study with undergraduate students in late August - early September. The survey found that students thought Encore was easy to use, and were able to successfully find books on a topic and refine their results using facets and the tag cloud, and sorting the library catalog results. "For a search for a known item, such as a title, or a search as a discovery process, more like a Google search, Encore is working very well in both situations," says Alesia McManus, Head of Research, Information, and Instructional Services.
As part of their development partnership with Innovative, the library's staff has opted to bring a preview of Grokker results into Encore. It's one way that Encore can solve the Where do I go next? dilemma when searching for library resources beyond the physical collection. Says McManus: "We've made a link to Grokker results available in Encore. This pass-through to Grokker gives students another way to look at the information in our database visually. Since we see Encore as providing a discovery service, we are setting it up so that a number of choices are there for users. We will also use our federated search tool with Encore."
McManus and Catalog Librarian Marcy Strong will be making an Encore presentation, a Web 2.0 Interface for Aleph, at the State University of New York Librarians Association's (SUNYLA) Library Software Users Group (LiSUG) 2007 Annual Conference.
Encore's Community Features
The next version of Encore, currently under development, will give libraries the option of integrating community input at the record-level to help with discovery and evaluation of library items. "Features like community feedback in Encore cater to 'digital natives' who have grown up using the Internet," says Suliang Feng of Nashville Public Library.
Assistant Library Director Martin Myhill at Exeter University (UK) agrees: "We need information systems that will serve the current 'net generation' students. We also want to anticipate the 'screen-ager' generation. These students are web-focused and interactive learners who will benefit from Encore's community features."
Visionary Library Partners
Innovative would like to salute its first- and second-wave development partners for their hard work and vision in bringing Encore to library users around the world:
Binghamton University [SUNY] (NY) / Deakin University Library (Australia) / Deschutes Public Library District (OR) / Georgetown University (DC) / Michigan State University / Nashville Public Library (TN) / Scottsdale Public Library System (AZ) / Springfield-Greene County Library District (MO) / University of Glasgow (Scotland) / University of Kentucky / University of Queensland (Australia) / Westerville Public Library (OH) / Yale University's Lillian Goldman Law Library (CT)
Chinese University of Hong Kong / Complutense Universidad (Spain) / The Darien Library (CT) / Eastern Kentucky University / Ferris State University (MI) / General Motors Corporation (MI) / Grand Valley State University Libraries (MI) / Greene County Public Library (OH) / Jefferson County Public Library (CO) / Metropolitan Library System (IL) / Suffolk Cooperative Library System (NY) /HELIN [Higher Education Library Information Network Library] Consortium (RI) / University of Western Ontario (Canada) / Victoria University (Australia) / Wright State University (OH)
"The Encore launch is every bit as significant as when Innovative brought the first commercial Web OPAC to libraries," says Encore Product Manager Dinah Sanders. "Encore is a quantum leap for users who want to discover easily what libraries can provide using the search skills they already have. Now libraries can present their data in new ways and exponentially improve their discovery and delivery capabilities. Encore makes anyone successful at finding rich resources with no special training. I applaud all the hard work of our development partners, and those who have used Encore within library walls during our beta test."
Development Path - Twenty-Eight Libraries Moving Forward
The Encore development effort was announced in May, 2006 and has grown into the largest single development partnership the company has ever embarked on. As of September, 2006, thirteen development partners had joined the effort. Innovative conducted a highly iterative, rapid development program and as of mid-October, twelve of thirteen first-wave development partners are all live on the web and are at various stages of public launch activities in their websites and branches. The second wave of fifteen partners has joined in the effort and together the group of twenty-eight will be involved on two fronts—active testing of Encore 2.0 features such as patron login and community tagging, and additional usability studies by consulting partners with the general release version of the product. This rapid, iterative development effort is resulting in great results for library users.
In Release 2.0, Encore will further expand the social interaction of library patrons, permitting user tagging of records. While the library carefully catalogs material using a taxonomy to assign subject headings, user tagging creates a parallel "folksonomy" that permits the overall community to help shape and share information. Support for tagging and searching by user tags will be an important part of this user-centric access to information and resources.
About Innovative Interfaces
For over 25 years, Innovative Interfaces has dedicated its energies to meeting the needs of libraries and the challenges of library automation. The company has fulfilled this mission with first-rate services and products such as the Millennium integrated library platform, the INN-Reach direct consortia borrowing solution, Electronic Resource Management, and the Encore discovery services platform. Today, thousands of libraries of all types in over 40 countries rely on Innovative's products, services, and support. The company is located in Emeryville, California with offices around the world.