New Discovery Tools for Online Resources From OCLC and EBSCO

by Paula J. Hane
Providing a single point of access to a broad range of library materials seems to be emerging as the Holy Grail of the library world. Libraries provide a vast richness of content, but that content has historically resided in separate silos of storage and access-books in the catalog, subscription content from multiple providers, ebooks, archival collections, electronic journals, and other resources on the web. Library vendors have approached the problem with federated search products that search remotely and rely on connectors, but these are generally seen to be only partial and limited solutions. However, new discovery tools have begun to appear that promise to provide a single interface to multiple resources based on using a centralized consolidated index to provide faster and better search results. Serials Solutions ( announced its Summon service in January (see NewsBreak) and garnered much interest; it is currently in beta testing in a small number of libraries with general availability expected in July. The recent announcements from OCLC and EBSCO have just moved the discovery tool competition to a new level. Now it's not just about which library vendor has the latest technology but which provides access to the most content.
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