Sorcer and [email protected] Can you browse your catalogue? Maybe if you know your subject headings… or you already know what you’re looking for. Most library users don’t seem to. Even if you know your subject headings that kind of browsing can be time consuming and pointless. Most Library users seem to expect more from a catalogue than just keyword and browse searching. Surely someone is doing something to make library catalogues easier to access??? Our search began by looking at Discovery Layer platforms… At the time we were looking there were only a couple around and none that were really tried and tested for public libraries in Australia. All were very big capital investments. After evaluating the available candidates we decided to hold off on a Discovery layer. In the meantime we purchased a Federated Search tool. Why? • The Discovery Layers we looked at were either too complicated to maintain with infrastructure out the wazoo, too expensive or had show-stopping functionality gaps. • Federated search seemed to offer a good way to draw attention to our expensive and underutilised subscription databases at a lower cost. We looked at 360search and webfeat but chose the latter for its proxy and admin functions. A few weeks of config and testing later, we had a federated search tool that could search about 60% of our eResources and provide ‘seamless’ authentication to the rest (Connectors don’t exist for all databases). We named it Super Search and made it live. How did it go? • Our stats went up for individual databases – but we didn’t buy the extra stats module so it’s hard to drill into or tease this out. – each search of webfeat searched various databases so one search counts as many. How do you quantify that? • Databases change, connectors stop working – there is a need for constant admin attention. • No particular feedback either positive or negative. This made us ask the question: Do users of a public library service even want a federated search tool? Time for a change? We need more feedback here. New developments… Out of the blue Civica (Spydus LMS) launched a new product and offered us a chance to get involved. After some negotiation we purchased SORCER An LMS upgrade later, we implemented what I have come to think of as a bibliographic ‘Discovery Layer’ http://library.portphillip.vic.gov.au/sorcer.html INSERT DEMO OF SORCER HERE How is Sorcer going? Sorcer These stats don’t compare to catalogue use but should they? Classic Catalogue The act of browsing Sorcer containers on a page doesn’t trigger further google statistics. Food for thought - maybe you can find what you’re after using Sorcer without unnecessary searching? Or maybe users don’t know it’s there? Problems with Sorcer? • The staff interface for container editing and additions is not very user friendly. • It’s not W3C compliant – you have to keep your opac for accessibility reasons • It doesn’t take advantage of Library Thing for Libraries data – LTFL are possibly seen as competition • Friends functionality is very limited and has not addressed user privacy • Bugs and glitches with container functionality • It does not search other resources – not a federated search tool… yet 360Search • We have now migrated to the webfeat successor, 360Search. • This “express” migration took over 6 months with delays building a catalogue and SIP2 interface • 360Search has an improved search function where it does some relevancy ranking • Most connectors are maintained by support – email support for new connectors to be commissioned. It’s live now http://library.portphillip.vic.gov.au/OnlineResources.html Where to now? • We’re building a new website. • This website will provide a seamless gateway to the catalogue and our federated search tool by way of embedded search widgets and html dressing on these external sites. • Sorcer is the outsider here. We are bound by our licence not to alter the general look and feel of this platform so we can’t bring it into the new website. It might eventually have to go? Unless Civica change their minds about being a Facebook-type web persona. • Maybe it’s time to look at the big Discovery Layers again? I’m quite interested to hear what everyone else has to say. QUESTIONS?