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Changing the Rules of Discovery: EBSCO Is in the Most Ideal Position to Provide a Comprehensive Discovery Service

Discovery should be more than a single search box; it should be a true academic research experience. … Discovery services should take research to the next level, building on and considering all of the elements that we know are critical in the research process. This is the path we are on with EBSCO Discovery Service.

Discovery services are critical to the short-term and long-term success of libraries. With the need to offer a comprehensive search of their entire collections, libraries continue to evaluate, implement and promote the availability of discovery services. Libraries essentially compete with services like Google for the attention and time of students and faculty. As libraries strive to provide the comprehensive, single/simple approach to information discovery, they struggle with the (false) perceptions of end users that Google is comprehensive and appropriate for academic research. Discovery plays a vital role in this effort to showcase the value of a library’s collection and alter the habits and perceptions of users. For EBSCO, discovery is a natural evolution of its services, and represents the direction libraries have been heading for the better part of the last two decades.  

For libraries, all content components are of equal importance when it comes to discovery and exposure of resources (catalog, journals, full-text databases, subject indexes, A-to-Z, eBooks, etc.). In the early 1990s, ILS vendors attempted to extend beyond the OPAC into searching databases, but came up short of the mark largely because they were not logical providers of this type of searching at the time—and remain in a similar position today. EBSCOhost is the most used online research service in many libraries worldwide, and is in the ideal position to offer a comprehensive discovery solution. As the largest journal subscription agent and research database provider, EBSCO is in a unique position to extend its support of e-journals, eBooks, subject indexes, full-text databases, A-to-Z services, link resolvers, etc., and the catalog is another natural fit in our experience with content loading and making various data sources available for discovery.

The ideal discovery solution is a refined hybrid of content and technology. With our experience providing ESCOhost, we are in the best position to offer the greatest possible solution for discovery needs, and we are changing the rules of what should be expected from a discovery service. Whether you are an unsophisticated researcher looking for a simple search box and fast results, or a sophisticated researcher requiring advanced features and high-end indexes, EDS is designed to meet your needs. We’ve asked our customers (and ourselves), “If a discovery service includes all of a library’s collection, should it not also cater to all of its users, and include all of the features and functionality they have already come to expect from the library… and then some?”  The answer is inevitably and unequivocally, YES.  

Discovery should be more than a single search box; it should be a true academic research experience. And if it is truly a “game-changer” for libraries, it should exude quality in all of its aspects. It can’t take one step forward (single search), while simultaneously taking multiple steps back (poor indexing, lesser search experience, etc.). Discovery services should take research to the next level, building on and considering all of the elements that we know are critical in the research process. This is the path we are on with EBSCO Discovery Service. We are not changing the direction or solving needs that didn’t already exist. We are changing the expectations of how a discovery service can and should address those needs.