Michael Gorrell, Sr. VP and CIO of EBSCO, discussed several challenges that EBSCO (and other publishers/vendors) are experiencing while integrating content. Some of these challenges include:
- licensing content from a diverse set of sources
- processing heterogeneous content homogenously
- searching everything with precision and breadth at the same time
- displaying different data so that their uniqueness can be evident
EBSCO’s approach to processing content is to start with database design (bibliographic) and determine which fields the data supports, how the end user will search the data, and what transformations are necessary for display and searching. When possible, they provide editorial expertise by indexing and adding their own metadata, using controlled vocabulary. They also run their own search engine which allows them to take advantage of the unique data in library records and use it to influence the relevancy of results. When displaying multiple content types they want to make sure to highlight the individual features of each format.
Integrating the NetLibrary eBook content offered another set of challenges which include:
- are the eBooks really books or sets of chapters?
- ownership model is a dilemma since EBSCO is a subscription based operation
- DRM issues “in use” is the term they are currently using to show that a book is being viewed/checked out by someone. They are looking for other ideas on this wording.
EBSCO’s mantra is to give users information when and how they need it.
James Mouw, Electronic Resources Officer at the University of Chicago, discussed 3 or 4 key aspects on content integration.
What are we trying to accomplish? Provide resources, access to those resources, and acknowledge and deal with the new user expectations (while also dealing with the old). James showed examples of his traditional catalog and a newer one that integrates traditional library content with other sources of information. He mentioned that many of his patrons find this newer format distracting because they are finding too much information that isn’t relevant to their search. He suggests that this is a process we need to continue to develop and improve.
Unlike many librarians and vendors, James says that silos don’t bother him. He feels it’s the librarians job to get the user to the correct content and use various technological tools to help with that (open url, etc.)
E-book delivery is a mess!
The real competition for discovery is google. So we need to keep our eye on them and embrace them. Jim includes 610K+ records in his catalog to the preview of titles in google books.
Patrons want it all – electronic, print, hosted, local, etc. all seamlessly integrated. But they want it seamlessly integrated with only the stuff they want to look at!