Discovery Working Group: Charge

6/28/16, revised: 2/1/17


An overarching goal of the libraries is to provide simple, intuitive, seamless access to resources, regardless of format, expected by our students and faculty. This goal is consistent with 2 of the libraries priorities for 2016/2017: to enhance undergraduate support, and to optimize collection development and management.

As the libraries expand access to include large collections of ebooks, and other full-text and media content, the discovery interface needs to work effectively to identify resources in the online catalog, repository platform, and externally licensed electronic content.

Current user feedback indicates that our current catalog, link resolver and discovery layer do not provide the comprehensive, one-stop access to the vast resources of our libraries, whether in electronic, print or other media formats. Our full-text content should be easily identified and accessed; currently, our ebook collections are not able to be searched via a single interface, and the millions of books in the Hathi trust cannot be ingested by our current library catalog.


In order to improve identification and access to items in our collections, the needs and expectations of users need to be better satisfied. Decisions made regarding Discovery and Access should be driven from the users' perspective. To that end, a new group is being charged to recommend strategies to simplify Discovery and Access.

The working group is charged with identifying specific needs essential to the development of a new systems architecture which focuses on creating an optimal experience for our users.

A review of functionality, interconnectivity, and best of breed systems at other university libraries should be undertaken and identified. Another important element is to listen to our core users about their expectations of the systems we deploy. Examining the feedback received in the recent LibQual survey will identify some of the successes and frustrations of our users.

A key element of focus is the need for a robust knowledge base as the backbone of the discovery and link resolver, checking a comprehensive list of sources and presenting highly customized targets to streamline retrieval of reliable, first-party sources of full-text, when available.

Guiding Principle

Create a comprehensive digital environment that is based on user need, optimizing navigation to ensure successful search, identification, and retrieval.


This is a very large project with many interrelated parts involving Discovery, the link resolver, the catalog, our websites, and interlibrary loan.

Two starting priorities agreed upon by Cabinet include:

  1. The need to execute searches of all electronic books, regardless of provider,
  2. The need to improve the functionality of the link resolver
    1. Creating a comprehensive knowledge base of targets and sources
    2. Linking to identified full-text should be clear
    3. Simplifying instructions on our websites to improve the user experience in searching and retrieval of content.

Other tasks involving the full working group include:

Updates and timeline due as follows: Group to be charged in early July; interim report due by the end of October


Reports to Judy Cohn, Assistant Vice President/Director of Health Sciences Libraries.

Resources to the Working Group:
Grace Agnew, AUL for Digital Library Systems
Jessica Pellien, Director of Communications
Other librarians and staff will be called upon as needed to contribute their expertise

Cohn, revised 6/28/16, revised 2/1/17

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