From Search to Discovery
[June 19, 2013]
Copyright (c) 2013 IFLA
Abstract: In recent years, library users have shifted from searching in library catalogs and scholarly databases to searching in library discovery systems. This shift has introduced a fundamental change in the information-seeking process.
Discovery systems provide access to a large, diverse information landscape of scholarly materials—regardless of where the materials are located, what format they are in, and whether the library owns them or subscribes to them. At the same time, these systems typically offer simple, Google-like searching as the default option, to accommodate the expectations of today’s users. With this type of searching, users do not spend much time formulating queries, and their queries often yield large result sets; therefore, discovery systems focus on relevance ranking and on tools that help users easily navigate and refine result sets.
Librarians have welcomed the advances in discovery services for their users. However, this new reality poses challenges to the practices that librarians have developed over the years and, in some cases, is at odds with the systematic, controlled approach to searching endorsed by librarians.
An examination of information-seeking and information-searching models together with a review of new technological capabilities of library discovery systems shows why such systems help today’s searchers and facilitate their research more than the traditional systems.