EBSCO Discovery Service unveils the precious resources libraries so carefully invest their time and money in, and this benefits the research efforts of their students.
Much effort goes into researching, evaluating and budgeting for resources a library offers. The last thing a library wants is to have this time and money wasted because their end users don’t know how to efficiently and effectively find these valuable sources. EBSCO’s discovery solution, EBSCO Discovery Service (EDS) was designed to bring these resources to the fingertips of the end user, eliminating frustration from irrelevant results and giving easy access to full-text content.
Patti Wilson, Interim University Librarian at the University of the Fraser Valley, British Columbia, Canada (EDS implemented March 2012) said, “We have a good collection of online full-text journals, rather than their having to go into individual databases and running their searches, students can use the EDS search box, put in their term, and bring back results from all these disparate places… It’s going to bring out those journal articles that they may not be finding otherwise.”
Not only are the resources in the library valuable, but so is the students’ time. In today’s world we expect to have relevant and useful search results returned immediately and on the first page, as we’ve become accustomed to with the most popular search engines on the web. EBSCO’s goal within EDS is the same; retrieve the library’s most relevant, accurate and full-text scholarly content and deliver it to the researcher.
To ensure the accuracy and precision of the result list, EDS uses a unique relevancy algorithm to utilize subject indexes into the search experience.
“Full-text searching gets us some of the way there, but it needs help.” Michael Gorrell, Chief Information Officer of EBSCO explains that, “Detailed subject indexing allows for a much greater level of granularity and precision when it comes to fine-tuned algorithms for relevance ranking.”
With the inclusion of leading subject indexes in the EDS experience (when subscribed to on EBSCOhost), more precise and accurate results are returned, alleviating user frustration and satisfying their search efforts. Without subject indexes integrated within the search experience, full-text searches would not pick up inferences where a concept is discussed, but the actual search term is not used; grasp the use of synonyms (e.g., bruise / contusion); or distinguish between significant and trivial references to a topic.
According to Damecia Donahue, Scholarly Communication & Outreach Librarian at Wayne State University, Michigan (EDS implemented November 2012) students are feeling more successful because they can find the resources they want. “I am able to show students that they can find things immediately,” Donahue said. “[Now] they always find at least one article they can use within the first two pages of their results list. We never really had that before.”
Users abandon searching library resources when they are faced with insignificant material or directed to a misleading avenue, as discovered by William Wong et al. (2012). “A Tale of Two Discoveries,” published in the Journal of Web Librarianship (January 2013), by Anita K. Foster and Jean B. MacDonald, Illinois State University, discusses a study conducted at the University comparing Summon and EBSCO Discovery Service. “Participants in both studies stated that they expected to retrieve Full Text when a record indicated it was available…In the Summon study, when the participants saw a link resolver menu, it was unclear to them why they were seeing it instead of the Full Text.” As a result, the Summon participants often stated they would turn to Google when they did not understand what was delivered in their Summon search.
To help researchers better locate their desired results and to ease the strain of getting lost along their hunt of citable and reputable resources, EDS works to complement the library’s link resolver allowing access to thousands of journals, including e-journals, e-packages (purchased via EBSCO) and full-text databases (purchased via EBSCOhost) providing one-click, accurate linking to full text when the search originates in EDS.
As stated in “A Tale of Two Discoveries,” “The EDS study participants rarely mentioned wanting to use Google during the study scenarios.” The best possible results are retrieved along with a simple click to access the full-text article.
There are a handful of discovery services available for libraries to evaluate and to explore, which can be daunting. So to conclude, here are some findings from a study discussed in the article, “Paths of Discovery: Comparing the Search Effectiveness of EBSCO Discovery Service, Summon, Google Scholar, and Conventional Library Resources,” (a pre-pub paper to be published in College & Research Libraries, July 2013), where two librarians from Bucknell University, Pennsylvania, and two librarians from Illinois Wesleyan University, Illinois, independently scored articles found by students using these four discovery tools:
“Students using EDS required less time to complete the four searches than any of the other test groups”
“Students using EDS also required fewer searches to find the information they needed and viewed fewer web pages before choosing resources than any of the other four test groups”
“EDS was the superior performing discovery system.”
EBSCO, as well as university libraries, want to provide the best available resources for researchers with a fast, easy and efficient approach to access these items. EDS provides researchers with an enhanced user experience to lead them directly to the results they are looking for, all the while, increasing usage to the valuable resources the libraries so diligently evaluated to include in their collection.