Thursday, May 17, 2007

IUG 2007 – Encore: Introducing our new discovery services platform

Dinah Sanders from Innovative Interfaces made this presentation.

Encore is a new Innovative product still in development and beta test and let me tell you, it is really cool! Essentially, Encore is a metasearch product that allows the library to customize the sites to be searched and then presents results in a number of different sections of the screen depending on where they come from in relevance ranked order that is also somewhat customizable by the library. It brings together the OPAC, proprietary databases, and the Web all at once. Yeah, it does sound a bit like Google , and to some extent it is. The one big difference is that it is controlled by the library in terms of results display and searches not only freely available web resources but proprietary databases and thus can point users to many more, reliable results customized to a particular library’s users.

The one major disadvantage of Encore that I see is that they have not addressed finding articles yet…at all. Since that is what our users seem to have the most difficulty with, and given the trend that I see in the literature that reports on academic library web site usability testing towards users failing to differentiate between different materials (books, videos, journals, articles, etc.) and different formats of the same item, I would be reluctant to implement Encore until it supported searching for all kinds of materials.

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