Library Technology Guides
Major Discovery Products
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
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.