Thursday, June 5, 2008

Executive Summary of Our Final Report

LSC accepted our final report and is currently considering our recommendations!

Below is the executive summary of the final report. The entire report, including appendices, is available here:

Stay tuned for our final open forum. We haven't set a date yet, but it is likely to be in July due to vacation schedules.

Thanks again for all of your feedback and support! Your participation at the open forums and all of the articles and ideas you shared with us really enriched this experience.

Executive Summary and Conclusions

This report recommends that the Libraries decouple the discovery interface from the ILS and implement a discovery interface that is aligned with user behaviors and expectations. It also recommends investigating the feasibility of replacing WorldCat FirstSearch with WorldCat Local to facilitate resource discovery beyond local collections. Additional conclusions drawn from environmental, user and product scans include redoubling efforts toward developing a single sign-on across library and UW resources, implementing direct linking in SFX and supporting a culture of assessment in order to better understand our users and be present in the online and physical spaces in which they work and play.

The conclusions in this report are tuned toward the library catalog because the library has other projects underway for improving and implementing access to non-catalog data. It is expected that these recommendations will apply to additional types of data beyond the library catalog.

The new discovery environment must:

  1. Decouple the interface from the ILS so that it is sleek, lean, and enabled for rapid change.
  2. Maintain complete control over the discovery interface, data, and index. Nothing should be unchangeable.
  3. Emphasize simplicity in the interface. As Lorcan Dempsey noted: "'simple search' but supported by smart results and rich browse" (single search box, single sign on, clean layout).
  4. Include sophisticated search and result functionalities (faceted browsing and/or topical clustering, natural language, obvious relevancy ranking, searching within results, clarity via FRBRization).
  5. Seamlessly integrate and deliver UW collections and resources at the campus and at the system level (library catalogs, library web sites, digital collections, museums, archives).
  6. Adapt to user behaviors and expectations (personalization, recommendations, "did you mean?" functionality, internationalization).
  7. Encourage personalization and customization of the discovery environment in MyUW and course management systems, including Learn@UW and Moodle.
  8. Deliver library search functionality, links and services where our users work and play, including off-campus resources (Amazon, iGoogle, Facebook, WorldCat).
  9. Compare well in design and user experience to popular Internet destinations. Resource discovery in the libraries must become Fast, Smart, and Engaging to compete in the current and future information marketplace.
  10. Be staffed for excellence and continuous change (developers, graphic and interaction designers, and public services staff). This includes collaboration and leadership within the Open Source community.


  1. Implement a decoupled interface for resource discovery (library catalogs, library web sites, digital collections, museums, archives) that meets the requirements of our vision.
  2. Enhance current discovery environment by:
    1. Continuously assessing, analyzing, and developing new tools and functionality for discovery.
      1. Maintain current awareness of browser extensions and library toolbars (LibX,
      2. Widgets for personalized web pages (iGoogle, Facebook, NetVibes, PageFlakes).
      3. Promote use of information management tools (such as Zotero, Google Notebook,, RefWorks, EndNote, Papers (Mac only)).
    2. Promoting library data reuse by exposing all freely available library metadata to direct harvesting by indexers.
    3. Using NetID for My MadCat Account and Library Express instead of the eleven digit ID.
    4. Enabling a persistent sign-on into library and campus resources using NetID.
    5. Finding ways to be more social and expand beyond work and research needs to encourage inquisitive exploration of all types.
    6. Encouraging Ex Libris to fully realize the DLF ILS Discovery Task Force API recommendations (referred to as the "Berkeley Accord") to allow the development of local discovery applications using library data.
    7. Implementing direct linking to full-text content wherever possible; in particular, within FindIt and MadCat.
    8. Allocating staff time to analyze and improve the accuracy of FindIt linking. Determine when and why FindIt fails and if there is anything we can do to make this better. Are there highly requested journals which we should license or obtain faster?
    9. Identifying and addressing discovery needs via mobile devices as soon as possible.
    10. Putting a single search box to the Libraries Web site with target selections for MadCat, the Libraries Web site, QuickSearch for Articles (i.e.,
    11. Strongly considering implementing WorldCat Local as a public interface for the UW System OPAC and WorldCat FirstSearch.
    12. Improving MadCat now by:
      1. Including value-added information, such as book covers, sample passages of text, reviews, and RSS feeds of journals' tables of contents. Adding and enabling user-generated content, like LibraryThing for Libraries.
      2. Making relevancy ranking the default search results display for more than just a 'words anywhere' search.
      3. Investigating adding MadCat to the MetaLib General Resources QuickSearch set.
      4. Linking to Google Books through the Google Books API and/or linking to CIC Google Collections Archive (in progress).
      5. Adding icons to indicate format in results lists.
      6. Relabeling fields to make them meaningful to patrons (subject links become "Find more like this").
      7. Improving the call number browse.
      8. Providing direct export to RefWorks and other citation managers.
      9. Displaying persistent links on brief and full records.
      10. Exploring linking to Amazon, Wikipedia, etc. for contextual information.
      11. Highlighting searched keywords in results.
      12. Enabling automatic stemming/truncation, if possible.


Dorothea said...

Don't know if you folks are aware, but your report is getting namechecked with some frequency after its appearance on Lorcan Dempsey's weblog. Good show!

Anonymous said...

Apropos for "fail fast, improve fast" ethos -- I was watching the PBS documentary on FDR this week, and that's the philosophy he espoused with respect to the New Deal measures. He really had no idea what would work -- so many of the New Deal ideas hadn't been tried before, and according to what the documentary said, he thought some would fail and he'd try something else.

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