Simplifying resource discovery and access in academic libraries : implementing and evaluating Summon at Huddersfield and Northumbria Universities

June Thoburn, Annette Coates, Graham Stone

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned reportpeer-review

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Facilitating information discovery and maximising value for money from library materials is a key driver for academic libraries, which spend substantial sums of money on journal, database and book purchasing. Users are confused by the complexity of our collections and the multiple platforms to access them and are reluctant to spend time learning about individual resources and how to use them - comparing this unfavourably to popular and intuitive search engines like Google. As a consequence the library may be seen as too complicated and time consuming and many of our most valuable resources remain undiscovered and underused. Federated search tools were the first commercial products to address this problem. They work by using a single search box to interrogate multiple databases (including Library catalogues) and journal platforms. While going some way to address the problem, many users complained that they were still relatively slow, clunky and complicated to use compared to Google or Google Scholar. The emergence of web-scale discovery services in 2009 promised to deal with some of these problems. By harvesting and indexing metadata direct from publishers and local library collections into a single index they facilitate resource discovery and access to multiple library collections (whether in print or electronic form) via a single search box. Users no longer have to negotiate a number of separate platforms to find different types of information and because the data is held in a single unified index searching is fast and easy. In 2009 both Huddersfield and Northumbria Universities purchased Serials Solutions Summon. This case study report describes the selection, implementation and testing of Summon at both Universities drawing out common themes as well as differences; there are suggestions for those who intend to implement Summon in the future and some suggestions for future development.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationNewcastle-upon-Tyne
Number of pages27
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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